Friday, February 14, 2020

Basic Procedural Law Redux

I'm not an expert in Federal civil procedure, especially appellate practice, but I do know a few basics. And one basic is:  if you want to appeal, you first must ask the court for a new trial.  And the grounds of the appeal, IIRC, must be raised in the trial court (i.e., the trial court must be allowed to correct its error) in order to appeal that issue to the appellate court.

For example:  everybody knows the "Objection, your honor!" cry from TeeVee and movie courtrooms.  That's not as common in the courtroom as you might imagine, especially in a jury trial.  However, if you don't raise an objection to something done in the trial, you don't "preserve the error" for review on appeal.  It is more common for lawyers in argument before the bench, on a point of law or application of a rule of evidence or procedure, to say for the record "Note my objection." The trial court has to have a chance to cure the error before a higher court will review the alleged error.  So any appeal must be preceded by a motion for new trial before the trial court, as the appellate court may return the case to the trial court for a new trial.

So this second motion for a new trial may be based on the alleged juror bias, but as many better informed commenters have pointed out, that goes nowhere.  Not only because such "bias" is not grounds for exclusion from a jury in this or any other case before a court, but because Stone's lawyers failed to raise the issue in jury selection.  Their only hope is to show the juror, or a juror, concealed information that would prejudice their ability to be impartial.  But that concealed evidence would have to be on the order of "I want on that jury so I can bury Roger Stone under the jail!"

And so far there isn't any evidence like that.

Then again, it's a sealed motion; who knows what the grounds are?  And it may delay the sentencing hearing; but that depends on how the judge handles the motion.

No comments:

Post a Comment