Get the Facts from an Appeals Attorney
The criminal justice system was designed with embedded protections to make the process fair. Unfortunately, it does not always work that way and it is not always perfect. Judges, juries, the prosecution, and even the defense, can take actions (either on purpose or accident) that result in a miscarriage of justice.
If you believe this has happened, it is important to know that there might be steps you can take. You can trust Simmons Wagner, LLP to take your case seriously. We will listen to you, review the facts, and give you an honest answer about how wise it would be to pursue an appeal in your situation.
The Appeals Process is More Complicated Than Many People Realize
An appeal is not the same thing as a re-trial. It is a very limited review of the proceedings that led to the conviction with the purpose of finding any legal errors that were made. These could be made during the investigation before the trial, during the trial, or during sentencing.
Even if errors are found, this does not automatically mean anything will change. The appellate court will then consider whether or not the error was prejudicial and likely to have affected the outcome of the case. Some of the types of errors that can lead the court to feel an appeal is justified include:
- False arrest
- Errors in sentencing
- Improper admission of evidence
- Jury misconduct
- Improper exclusion of evidence
- Misconduct by the prosecutor
- Insufficient evidence
- Ineffective assistance from the defense attorney
Depending on the nature of your conviction, you will have either 30 or 60 days from the original judgment to file an appeal. You might be released on bail while the appeal is being considered.
There Are Three Main Results of Winning an Appeal
Many people assume that winning an appeal means that defendant will immediately be found not guilty and released from custody. That is not typically the case. There are three main results that can occur if you win an appeal:
- The appellate court will completely reverse the conviction and dismiss all charges against you.
- You will be ordered a new trial in which your case will be reheard and tried without the errors that were present in the original trial.
- The court will send your case back to a lower court with instructions on how they should fix the error in question. This is known as remand and it is common when there is a sentencing error.
The entire process can be long, but if a miscarriage of justice has been done then it can be worth the time required.
Appealing an Appeal
If you get the results of an appeal and you do not think that they are correct, it might be possible to petition for it to be reheard. If that does not work, then you could apply to have the California Supreme Court review it. Your appeals attorney can review all relevant evidence and documents to determine if the appellate court acted incorrectly or unfairly and there are grounds to appeal the appeal.
The Importance of Working with an Appeals Attorney
This is not a process you want to take on yourself. Remember that misdemeanor and felony appeals have their own rules and requirements, and federal appeals are another situation altogether. You do not want to lose your appeal due to missing a deadline or not filing the proper paperwork. Set yourself for the best chance of success by calling Simmons Wagner, LLP at (949) 439-5857 for a consultation.