magistrate (draegonhawke) wrote in little_details,

Appeals process in New York state courts & proving miscarriage of justice

I've got a story set in present-day New York, in an alternate universe in which, instead of a massive prison system, the main mode of punishment in for most crimes in the US is to have your labor leased for a period of time to private, corporate, or governmental entities in what amounts to a modern-day, punitive slavery. (Significant because there's a lot of abuse in the system; in particular, while leased convicts are theoretically still allowed to avail themselves of legal services, there's no requirement that a leaseholder must provide them with any specific ways to get in contact with/initiate those services, like internet access, phones, or access to mail. So privaely-leased convicts can end up unable to take a lot of action for themselves.)

One of my characters has been forced into this system by a combination of planted evidence and a public defender who was paid off to flub the trial. She was sentenced in a state court, not a federal court, so that's the appeals process I'm looking at. My questions are:

1) Would she have to be involved in the process of filing an appeal – would her signature need to appear on a form, etc? Or would a third party be able to hire a lawyer to file an appeal on her behalf, without her input?

2) Regardless of what happens in the appeals process, someone in the FBI starts looking at the trial because one of their actual investigations has dovetailed into it. (It looks possible that this woman has been set up so that someone can purchase her lease so they can secure information on someone she once worked for who the FBI now has an active investigation on, but there's no hard evidence.)
a) Once there's suspicion that the public defender took a bribe/evidence was planted, who would look into it? Would the investigation be handed off to the NYPD, or stay with the FBI?
b) If the investigation revealed that the defender was paid off, what would happen? Would the trial have to be re-done?
c) If the investigation revealed that evidence was planted, what would happen? Would the trial have to be re-done?

Any insight here is appreciated. I'm already working with an alternate universe, so I can probably feel justified in making some stuff up, but I'd like to keep as much recognizable as I can. And I'm flailing in the dark on a lot of this – I can find a lot about how appeals work, generally, but I haven't had luck finding the specific information I'm looking for.

Researched: Variations on "how to file an appeal", "appeal filed on behalf of", "appeals process", "new york court appeals", "wrongful conviction", "miscarriage of justice", "investigation of bribery in court"; spent a lot of time pouring over legal resources on how appeals are conducted.
Tags: usa: government: law enforcement (misc), usa: government: law enforcement: fbi, usa: new york (misc), ~law (misc)

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