Why You Should Appeal Your Case
There are myriad reasons a defendant may wish to appeal a case once a verdict has been read. Most commonly, this is due to the argument that the judge misinterpreted the law, or the prosecution practiced that misconduct during the trial.
The core reason for appeals to existing is to ensure that the law is practiced consistently across cases. An appeal allows the defendant or the appellate party to point out legal errors, such as juror misconduct or ineffective counsel, that led to the verdict.
When filing an appeal in the complex appellate court, defendants should seek effective counsel. An experienced appeals attorney can argue on behalf of their client and pursue a remanded case.
- Defendants are entitled to an appeal if they feel that there were legal errors in court that resulted in an unfair conviction.
- Many appeal avenues include writs of habeas corpus, criminal and felony appeals, misdemeanor appeals, and post-conviction petitions.
- For the best shot at winning an appeal, you’ll want to seek practical, experienced counsel specializing in this legal area.
- While not consistently successful, appeals can result in an overturned conviction or a reduced sentence.
What Does It Mean to Appeal a Case?
Appeals can pertain to both civil and criminal cases. An appeal is a petition sent to a higher court by the defendant to overturn or reconsider a decision made by the lower court.
In California, you’re eligible to appeal the conviction if you’ve been convicted of a crime and the sentence is unfairly harsh or if there were legal errors during the court proceedings. The higher court can then determine whether these errors directly led to the trial’s outcome.
The purpose of a criminal appeal is to:
· protect defendants against instances of legal error, whether prejudicial or verdicts based on unsupported evidence
· maintain uniform standards across criminal proceedings
· refine the doctrine of criminal law, both through its substantive nature and the procedure in the courtroom
The priority of the appellate court is to determine whether the ruling itself or the sentence was reached in error. These errors can be the fault of the presiding judge, the jury, the prosecution, or even the defense team.
What Are the Reasons for an Appeal?
An essential distinction between courtroom dramas on television and the reality of court proceedings is that cases can’t always be appealed. The losing party doesn’t automatically have the option to appeal a verdict simply because they’re unhappy with the outcome.
When deciding whether or not to seek an appeal, defendants should consider what disadvantages they experienced due to errors during the trial. Severe errors of law can include misinterpretation of the law by the presiding judge, an unethical prosecution team, or even an inept defense counsel.
Do Appeals Usually Win?
The appeals process is often not successful. You can still win an appeal with skilled representation. The appeals process is often a drawn-out, sometimes arduous journey in seeking an overturned conviction or a reduced sentence.
In California, fewer than 20% of appeals are successfully argued. The odds are increased when there are significant errors of law, such as misconduct by the jury or the prosecution.
When fighting for an appeal, the burden of proof is on the shoulders of the defendant. The appellate court must assume the trial court’s decision was accurate, and this assumption must now be disproved.
What Is the Best Way to Win an Appeal?
To win an appeal, the appellant must prove that legal mistakes resulted in the original conviction, thus causing the defendant harm. The burden of proof is no longer on the prosecution.
You’ll want an accomplished attorney on your side for the best shot at winning your appeal. The attorney will study the case and file the written briefs. The court rarely decides appeals based on these written arguments, and oral arguments are scheduled next.
If the appeal is based on ineffective counsel during the trial, it should be a priority to hire effective counsel for the appeal.
Are You Still Guilty If You Appeal?
Appealing a conviction does not automatically equate to an acquittal or a not guilty verdict. The defendant will have to traverse through the appeals process, which doesn’t always end favorably.
If the defendant pled guilty at trial, this doesn’t prevent an appeal from being filed post-conviction. The plea would need to be proven to have been involuntary or otherwise misguided.
What Does a Successful Appeal Look Like?
Appeals can result in favorable outcomes when they prove errors were made in the original trial. These errors may result in a remanded appeal, which means the case is sent back to the lower courts for another look.
Appealing a conviction can be a long shot. You walk into appellate court with a one-in-five chance of a reversal. The odds are increased in your favor when you hire a skilled defense team. Your attorney will file the notice of appeal, write the brief, and participate in oral arguments before the judge.
What Happens If You Lose an Appeal?
If an appellant loses their initial appeal, they may have remaining options. While the judge of the appellate court has determined that they agree with the original judgment, a motion can be filed for a rehearing, or they can choose to appeal to the highest court.
After other appeal avenues have been fully exhausted or if you have new evidence you’d like introduced, a writ of habeas corpus may be appropriate. This is a unique option for post-conviction relief, and only some are eligible. Your attorney can determine your eligibility.
Free San Diego Appeals Consultation
There are many types of options for relief, including criminal appeals, misdemeanor appeals, and writs of habeas corpus. An attorney can determine which is most suitable for your situation during the initial consultation.
If you feel your case would benefit from filing an appeal, schedule a free consultation with Pat Ford Appeals today. We specialize in criminal appeals and represent a diverse range of clients in California.
How to Contact our Appeals Attorney
If you’re a Californian considering an appeal, call Pat Ford today at (619) 648-4500 or contact him to schedule a risk-free consultation. As an attorney, Pat Ford has over 30 years of legal knowledge and expertise in appeals. He’ll discuss your options for post-conviction relief and fully explore all avenues, finding the most suitable choice for you.
When you hire Pat Ford, you’re hiring an experienced, award-winning appeals attorney who fights for you. He’s helped thousands of clients appeal wrongful convictions and sentences deemed unreasonably harsh.
He knows what it takes to win an appeal and has a proven track record of success in the courtroom. He’ll assist you in appealing your case or challenging your sentence, ensuring you get a fair shake within the judicial system.
Our Clients Say
“Pat fought my case for 12 years until we won. He never gave up.” – Clifton Maxwell
“He’s a great lawyer and I owe him everything.” – Kindu Goodman
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