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Update on Ajay's Appeal

Ajay's brief was filed on July 9, 2012, along with a motion asking the court to allow him to file an over-sized brief. Until the court decides the motion, his brief is still not officially filed. Ajay's brief was three times longer than is allowed for a non-capital case.

There are several reasons why the brief is so long. The trial transcript (record) is over 10,000 pages, larger than the majority of capital cases. This is due in part to the prosecutor’s strategy of stacking 92 counts against Ajay, instead of charging 1 count for continuous alleged abuse.  Additionally, there were a plethora of procedural errors that occurred in Ajay’s trial. However the brief only addresses the very large errors that significantly prejudiced his entire trial. There are nine such errors and one cumulative error for the appellate court to consider.

A note regarding appeals and the appellate process:
In an appeal, the appellate court only looks to see if there were procedural errors that prevented the appellant from receiving a fair trial. They do not reweigh the evidence. The process has two steps. In the first step the appellant has to identify a procedural error that occurred, and then the court will decide if in fact it was error or not. The second step is to explain how the error prejudiced the appellant or caused the appellant to have an unfair trial, in other words if the error did not occur the outcome could have been different.

The court then decides if the error was harmful (created prejudice that caused an unfair trial), or whether the error was harmless, meaning the verdict would have been the same even if the error did not occur. To win a reversal on an appeal, the appellant has to first win the decision that an error has occurred, and then also win the decision that the error was harmful.