Folks are focused on the federal criminal appeal of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (hereinafter, the “Defendant”). While his appeals will be automatic because of his unusual penalty, all criminal defendants, especially if convicted after a trial, have the right to appeal their conviction.
The appeal, however, may not be what you think it is.
Let’s look at the Defendant’s appeal, for example. Most analysts opine that one of the primary grounds for appeal will be the court’s refusal to move the site of the trial. In fact, a number of articles, one of them being “Marathon bomber likely to appeal over Boston trial site” the experts forcast that the appeal will focus on the judge’s refusal to move the trial out of Boston and the prosecution’s barrage of emotional testimony from more than a dozen victims of the attack.
Clearly, nobody expects the basis of an appeal to be that the juror’s verdict of guilt was not based on the evidence. Yet, most people believe that a criminal appeal is really a chance to second-guess the jury.
It really isn’t.
Actually, it is to second-guess the judge.