If you were wrongfully convicted, you may believe you are out of options. The court reached a decision, and now you’ll have to suffer the consequences, right or wrong. In fact, an unfair criminal conviction or sentence is not the end of the road. Some court decisions can be appealed if the trial was improperly conducted. This might be the case if evidence was improperly introduced, the prosecutor engaged in illegal actions, evidence was withheld that could have impacted a jury decision, or if the judge incorrectly instructed the jury. It’s important to consult an attorney focused on appeals to help you determine if you have valid grounds for an appeal.
If you have a strong case for an appeal, and if you wish to proceed, your attorney will begin the process of crafting a brief to present to a panel of judges in the appellate court. It is important to act quickly, as a notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days of the decision. The basic steps to appeal a criminal conviction are as follows:
- Notice of appeal filed
- Gathering of evidence for the appeal
- Opening brief
- Reply brief
- Oral arguments
The Process to Appeal Criminal Case
The process of appealing a criminal conviction or sentence is complex, and many law firms simply don’t get involved, due to the intense legal work required. As appellate courts examine the proceedings of the original case, rather than the case’s particulars, the appeals process deals with very technical aspects of the law. An appeal must show clearly that errors were made in handling your case, and these errors significantly impacted the final decision.
The initial action must occur at once — the filing of a notice of appeal. Missing the filing date would be disastrous, and it is crucial that you speak with an appeals lawyer immediately if you or your loved one was wrongfully convicted or sentenced.
The next action involves a full review of the trial record, down to the finest details. The trial transcript will be carefully reviewed, as well as all associated information. Based upon the errors identified in this review, your appeals attorney will craft a brief to submit to the court. The brief outlines why you are appealing the decision, and the errors that impacted your conviction or sentencing. The opposing attorney will also file a brief, which outlines why a conviction or sentence should not be changed or overturned. Your attorney will review the respondent’s brief, and write a reply brief addressing these arguments.
The next step is oral arguments, presented to the panel of judges in the appellate court. Your attorney will present the key points from the brief, and will answer questions presented by the panel. The oral arguments are typically not as extensive as the proceedings in the original trial, but the skill with which this aspect is handled is of extreme importance. Upon completion of the process, the panel will review all information, and issue a decision in writing.
How a Criminal Appeals Attorney Can Help
If you would like to learn more about how to appeal a decision in a criminal case, contact us at the Law Office of Corey Evan Parker and attorney Parker will provide a one hour no obligation consultation.