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Jury tampering may allow a defendant to appeal a case

After the judge and jury have made their deliberations and concluded a trial, does that mean the end of the case? Not necessarily, if there is a reasonable legal basis to appeal a case’s outcome. Laws in Pennsylvania as well as other states permit some who are dissatisfied with the outcome of a trial to appeal, under certain conditions. This includes defendants facing criminal charges. In fact, the right to appeal can be extremely beneficial to a defendant, since it’s quite possible the final outcome may be different.

According to the American Bar Association, it’s not possible to appeal based on the sole reason that a defendant is unhappy with a guilty verdict. He or she must be able to argue that the trial or the judge’s interpretation of the law were faulty.

One way that this can be shown is if the defense can prove there was jury tampering. Cornell University Law School's Legal Information Institute states that jury tampering occurs when someone tries to influence a jury in ways that violate a defendant’s constitutional rights or includes illegal actions. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Talking about the case outside of court
  • Threatening jury members or offering them bribes
  • Having others try to influence a juror directly or indirectly

Simply put, if someone attempts to sway the jury to one side without presenting proper evidence and testimony in court, a defendant’s rights may have been infringed upon through jury tampering. This is one of the most common ways the defense can call for an appeal.

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Gregory R. Gifford
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