Your Appeal Is Your Last Best Chance To Right A Wrong

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Could a judge’s undisclosed bias lead to a New Mexico appeal?

On Behalf of | Nov 26, 2023 | New Mexico State Criminal Appeals

Someone who defends against criminal charges at trial usually expects a fair criminal process. They need a judge and jury to consider their case carefully. It is often only after a thorough and impartial review of evidence that judges and juries reach the appropriate conclusion to a legal matter.

Judges must consider the claims made by both the defense and the prosecution as impartially as possible. Frequently, doing so necessitates setting aside personal opinions and recognizing when one cannot do so. Judges have the option of recusing themselves when they have a conflict of interest or a personal bias that would affect their ability to fulfill their judicial duties.

Defendants in New Mexico who believe a judge was not impartial but instead highly biased may sometimes have grounds for an appeal.

A judge’s opinions shape the legal process

A judge is the party who decides whether the prosecutor can present certain evidence. If a defense attorney alleges that law enforcement professionals violated the defendant’s right, a judge will have to consider that claim and then make a determination that will affect the outcome of the case.

Additionally, when either the prosecutor or the defense attorney objects to certain conduct in court, a judge will decide whether that objection is valid and how to respond. If the judge cannot set aside their personal opinions and biases when hearing a case, they might make decisions that are contrary to what other reasonable legal professionals would make in the same situation.

A variety of factors can compromise a judge’s ability to remain impartial. Their personal history and the experiences of the people they love can shape how they handle a case. So can prior cases that they have heard involving similar circumstances. Even a judge’s financial investments and the professions of their family members can sometimes impact how they view and respond to certain criminal matters.

A defense attorney who is able to convince the courts that a judge erred in a legal decision could potentially obtain an appeal for their clients. Recognizing what circumstances provide grounds for an appeal in New Mexico can potentially help people better respond to particularly challenging criminal processes.