Charles G. White started his career as an Assistant State Attorney prosecuting felonies in the criminal trial courts in Miami. As an Assistant Federal Public Defender, Mr. White defended people accused of serious Federal crimes in the Federal trial courts throughout South Florida. While with the Federal Defender’s Office, he was taught that knowledge and expertise in appeals was important to have in order to provide the most effective representation at trial.
Charles G. White began representing his clients before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He continued to handle appeals when he left the Federal Public Defender’s Office for private practice.
At the age of 30, he argued before the United States Supreme Court. Over the next 31 years, Mr. White has continued to handle criminal cases on appeal in the Florida Supreme Court, the Florida District Courts of Appeals as well as the United States Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Sixth, Ninth and Eleventh Circuits. Mr. White’s cases have resulted in the recognition and clarification of issues significant to criminal law and procedure.
An appeal is a review of a case after it has been resolved in the trial court. Usually, an appeal is necessary in a criminal case after the defendant has been convicted. If a criminal defendant goes to trial and is acquitted or found not guilty, there is no appeal by the prosecution. The only exception to that is when a jury convicts a defendant, but the judge enters a judgment of acquittal afterwards, the prosecution can take an appeal. If a defendant is convicted, then the appeals process will review the case to determine if the prosecutor or trial judge committed an error which could result in a dismissal of the charges or a new trial.
Even innocent people can be railroaded by an over-zealous prosecutor and a biased judge. Sometimes, the battle cannot be won at trial. The key to a success in any appeal is preservation of error. If the prosecution is able to introduce unfairly prejudicial or improper evidence, or the trial judge excludes relevant evidence offered by the defense, the Court of Appeals will not consider the issue unless it was preserved. Understanding how the issues will be considered on appeal is crucial to preserving them at trial. Too many lawyers sit quietly and acquiesce to the admission of improper evidence because they do not want the jury to be offended by an objection. If the trial attorney does not recognize the issue either because he or she does not know the current state of the law, then even if the prosecutor or the trial judge erred, the issue is not preserved for appeal. Understanding how cases can be won on appeal makes Mr. White a more effective trial attorney.