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appealing a battery charge

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good sister

What is the name of your state? Illinois

My brother was recently charged and convicted of battery. His story goes like this...He rents a trailor to a woman and man who are greatly behind in their rent. One night around 2:30 AM he was startled to find the woman hiding from the man she lives with near his trailor. She was crouched down hiding in the dark. When my brother saw her as she stood up it startled him and he jumped which lead to him throwing hot (and I might add not scalding hot...the woman was not burned or hurt in any way) coffee on her from the cup he was holding in his hand. She simply startled him.

She charged him with battery. During the court process he was told he was not eligible for free legal representation because this was not a "jailable" offence. He asked for a trial by a jury of his peers...he was told he was not entitled to a jury trial because he had no attorney who could select the jury, etc.

Needless to say he was found guilty of battery. He is in the stage to appeal. I would like to help him as it seems a clear violation of his rights not to be afforded legal representation. Can any one give me any advice on how to write an appeal or where to go to find an example...I did look on the legal forms section but didn't find anything.



"Battery is the act of using force against another person which results in either bodily injury or offensive touching. It does not need to be intentional; force applied with criminal negligence is sufficient to be considered battery. In addition, the force does not have to be directly applied to the victim. For example, directing a dog to attack someone is considered battery."


"Under the US Constitution you are entitled to have an attorney appointed to help in your defense, at no cost, if you can't afford one. It may be a public defender, or legal aid, or a private lawyer paid by the state. It won't be the "dream team" with Johnnie Cochran, but only OJ could have afforded that."

I would definately get a legal counsel on this. Most first time visits are free with most attorney's. At least you could get some good info. It cant hurt to get an attorneys advice, and it is usually free for the first consultation. Call some attorney's - just dont get some ambulance chaser.


Senior Member
My response:

It appears, on the face of this post, that we have a Gideon vs. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963) type situation here, where the 6th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution have been abridged by the court. Our writer's brother appears to have been entitled to counsel, but was denied.

"The right of one charged with crime to counsel may not be deemed fundamental in some countries. But it is in ours."

"Legal representation is essential to a fair trial."

Panama City, Florida, 1961. Panama City, Florida, 1961. Police arrest a drifter, Clarence Gideon, for breaking and entering. Clarence cannot afford a lawyer, so he asks the court to appoint one for him. The judge says the state doesn't have to pay a poor person's legal defense, except for a capital crime.

So Clarence has to represent himself. He's convicted. From his prison cell, he submits a petition for his freedom, written in pencil, to the United States Supreme Court.

The Court grants Gideon a new trial, and appoints famous Washington attorney Abe Fortas (and future Supreme Court justice) to represent him. "In our adversary system of criminal justice," writes Justice Hugo Black, "any person hauled into court, who is too poor to hire a lawyer, cannot be assured a fair trial unless counsel is provided for him. This seems to us to be an obvious truth.... Lawyers in criminal courts are necessities, not luxuries... Legal representation is essential to a fair trial. The right of one charged with crime to counsel may not be deemed fundamental in some countries. But it is in ours."

A jury acquits Gideon and sets him free.



From my understanding of the original post, the offense is not "jailable". Therefore under his state law, it may not be considered a "crime" per se.

In Pa, we have what are called Summary Offenses. They are not considered criminal offenses.

Possibly it was something similar to that which is why he was not appointed an attorney. (In Pa, the offense would be Harassment)

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