So, what’s going on with Coy’s appeal?
Apparently you only get one appeal, but it gets sent to several places before it’s exhausted. First, it’s sent to the court you were convicted in. Then, it travels to progressively higher court until one of them overturns the verdict, or the verdict gets affirmed (approved) by the Supreme Court.
It’s not a re-trying of the case, but a close examination of the trial that’s already taken place. Appeals lawyers highlight a few things from the case that they believe were improper applications of federal laws.
The appellate court must decide if any laws were broken and, if they were, decide whether or not breaking that law directly influenced the outcome. If my understanding of this process is correct, they can say “Sure, the judge mooned the defendant and told the jury he was guilty before the trial ever started, but the jury would have found him guilty even if that hadn’t happened.”
They had a great deal of leeway in interpreting whether or not Coy’s appeal brought up valid issues; you can read more about which issues were raised, and why I believe they should not have been rejected here: http://www.spmaftermath.com/2011/06/what-is-strickland.html and here: http://www.spmaftermath.com/2011/06/strickland-2.html
You can read Coy’s views on his appeal here: http://www.spmaftermath.com/2012_02_01_archive.html
Coy’s appeal is exhausted, at least until they find new evidence to submit, which is why I believe it’s important to try and get the local government involved, and why I encourage you to join me in writing to the district attorney; generally I do this twice a month, but at the moment we’re watching the new D.A., trying to get a sense of who he is and what type of administration he’ll be running.