If a person is convicted of a crime and feels he or she is innocent or did not receive a fair trial, the person has every right to appeal the decision. However, this right can be abused in the justice system.
Sometimes, a person will plead guilty to serious charges and file an appeal for a slight, insignificant reduction in penalties or appeal a minor infraction. It may not seem like a big deal or may even seem funny, but the time and cost that goes into these appeals is no laughing matter. Much more important cases are delayed due to these types of appeals.
Here are some of the most useless and time-wasting appeals in which no one benefits:
1. Allan W. McLaurin “Wins” Appeal of 21,250 Year Prison Sentence
In 1993, Allan W. McLaurin and Darron B. Anderson were found guilty of robbing, kidnapping and raping an elderly woman in Tulsa County, Okla. McLaurin was found guilty on all counts and was sentenced to 21,250 years in state prison. Upon appeal, his sentence was reduced by 500 years. McLaurin is scheduled to be released from custody on September 20, 9837.1
2. Darron B. Anderson Appeals 2,200 Year Prison Sentence
McLaurin’s accomplice, Darron B. Anderson was sentenced to 2,200 years in state prison for his crimes. However, Anderson appealed the conviction and won a new trial. His second trial also ended in conviction, but this time, the judge sentenced him to 11,250 years. Anderson’s sentence holds the record for the longest prison sentence given as a result of an appeal.2
3. Keith O. Wood Appeals Obvious DNA Evidence
Keith O. Wood was sentenced to 160 years in state prison for raping five women between 2000 and 2001. DNA evidence proved him guilty in all five cases. Nonetheless, Wood appealed the case. However, the court judge denied his appeal, stating that the chance of someone else matching the DNA found was “one in a billion, billion.”3
4. Jacob Anthony Valenzuela Appeals $10 Fine
In the case of People v. Valenzuela, Jacob Anthony Valenzuela pleaded guilty to felony charges of carjacking, kidnapping, robbery and attempted murder. He was sentenced to 24 years in state prison.
He was also fined for his penal code violations, including a $10 crime prevention fine under California Penal Code Section 1202.5. Valenzuela did not take kindly to this fine and appealed it, thus wasting time, money and valuable resources in using a state appointed lawyer to have the appeal heard in court.
5. Maltese Man Fined For “Pointless” Appeal
In a 2007 story out of the island of Malta, Eastern Europe, Richard Mercieca was fined 1,500 Maltese Lira (about $4,800 dollars) after he was found guilty of selling pirated merchandise in breach of copyright laws.
Mercieca appealed the decision. However, the judge denied Mercieca’s appeal and fined him an additional 100 Maltese Lira (about $320 dollars) for bringing a “pointless” appeal, as Mercieca had not only earlier confessed to the crime, but he was also charged in four other cases related to circulation of pirated merchandise.4
Call Wallin & Klarich Today
While some appeals are not worth filing, if you have been convicted of a criminal offense and are facing a jail or prison sentence or other serious sanctions, it is critical that you meet with an experienced criminal appeals attorney immediately. You only have a limited period of time after you have been sentenced to file a notice of appeal. If you do not meet the deadline, you will not be allowed to appeal your conviction.
At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 40 years of experience in appealing all types of criminal convictions in California. Our attorneys will fight to get you the best possible outcome in your case.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich Southern California criminal defense attorney near you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.
1. [Ariel Castro’s 1,000 Year Sentence Isn’t the Longest Sentence on Record, September 14, 2013, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adam-banner/castro-technically-still-_b_3922691.html]↩
3. [10 of the Longest Prison Sentences on Earth, January 2, 2010, http://topcultured.com/longest-prison-sentences/]↩
4. [Court: Man Fined additional Lm100 for filing ‘pointless’ appeal, June 13, 2007, http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2007-06-13/news/court-man-fined-additional-lm100-for-filing-pointless-appeal-174871/]↩