The California Criminal Appeals Process
The Appellate Law firm is committed to helping defendants bring successful appeals after being wrongfully convicted or after receiving sentences that were disproportionate to their crimes. In many criminal cases, the ability to establish reasonable doubt depends on which evidence the judge allows the defense to present during the trial. If the judge refused to allow your lawyer to present exculpatory evidence at your trial, and this resulted in a jury finding you guilty, the Appellate Law Firm can help you appeal your case.
Appeals Brought by the Defendant
The jury trial is not your last chance to argue for your innocence. Defendants in California may appeal the verdict in their criminal cases. These are some reasons to file criminal appeals:
- Appeals related to a motion for a new trial
- Appeals related to a vacation of judgment
- Appeals related to arrest of a judgment
- Notice of Appeal: No more than 30 days after the trial court issues its judgment, the defendant files a notice of appeal, announcing their intention to appeal the verdict or sentence.
- Filing of Briefs: The defendant obtains the transcripts of the court hearings and the trial, as well as all papers filed in relation to the case; these are called the record on appeal. The defendant then prepares a brief explaining why the trial court was wrong. Meanwhile, the prosecution files a brief explaining why they think the appeals court should not change the verdict. Preparing these briefs requires a lot of research.
- Oral Argument: Lawyers for the defendant and the prosecution present oral arguments before the appeals court, and the judges ask them questions about the arguments and briefs.
- Decision: Based on the oral arguments, the Appellate Court affirms or reverses the verdict.
Not only do you have the right to a fair trial, but the Constitution protects you from cruel and unusual punishment. Therefore, you can also appeal an excessive sentence.
In a criminal appeal, a defendant does the following:
Appeals Brought by the Government
If the jury found you innocent at your trial, the prosecution cannot appeal the verdict. This is known as “no double jeopardy,” and it means that a not guilty verdict is forever. The prosecution has the right to appeal other decisions by criminal courts, other than acquittals. A criminal trial is a complex process, and just as there are many opportunities to establish reasonable doubt, there are many court actions the prosecution can appeal, such as:
- Criminal court decisions besides a not guilty verdict
- A pretrial order relating to evidence
- The arrest or vacation of a judgment
- Whether a defendant can get a new trial
- Sentences that are inappropriate because they violate state law or are below the mandatory minimum
- Sentences that include legally prohibited provisions or omits required provisions
In other words, if you were found guilty but the court granted you some small victories, the prosecution can try to take those away on appeal. Your lawyer can help you keep those small victories.
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Los Angeles, CA 90010
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Regardless of whether you are seeking to appeal a verdict or order, or prosecutors are appealing, we focus on appeals and can consult with you about your matter. Appeals are time-sensitive, so please feel free to contact us to discuss your Washington state criminal appeal.