If a defendant is dissatisfied with the outcome of his or her trial in a California court of law. He or she still has options. In California, an individual convicted of a crime has the right, under the United States Constitution, to have his or her court proceedings reconsidered in an appellate court.
If the convicted offender chooses to seek a review of his trial records in an appellate court in California, he or she then is known as an “appellant.” It is important to note, an appellate court will not hear new evidence or conduct a retrial. The job of the appellate court is to examine what took place during the trial court to be sure the law properly was applied. In addition, the appellate court reviews the trial information to be sure the proceedings were conducted fairly for the appellant.
Before the appellate court makes a decision, each side of the case presents written statements arguing the appellant’s innocence or guilt. The written argument is known in the appellate court as a “brief.” Commonly, the California criminal defense attorney representing the appellant will claim in his or her brief to the appellate court that the trial was not conducted fairly and then provide examples to bring validity to the claim. Also, a defense lawyer may seek to convince the appellate court that the law was not applied correctly during the trial. Upon the court’s receival of the brief statements, a formal appeal is scheduled.
The appeal will be given verbally by the appellate court handling the appeal – this typically is done in the Courts of Appeal. During the formal appeal, each side will be given about 15 minutes to present their side of the argument. The two parties also may be asked to answer questions by the law officials handling the case.
Once a decision has been made by the court, a written statement will be produced. This statement provided by the court will detail why it selected the outcome it did. This statement could reverse the lower court’s decision or affirm the decision made by the lower court. Even if this outcome is not favorable for the appellant, the California criminal defense attorney usually has the ability to appeal a third time to a higher level, which typically is the California Supreme Court. To the appellant’s disadvantage, however, the California Supreme Court could look at the case information and decide it is not appropriate to reexamine the decisions already made to date.
It is never guaranteed that the California Supreme Court will review the case at hand. Typically, the California Supreme Court takes a further look at the cases with a high level of legal significance to the state and beyond. However, if the California Supreme Court denies a case, the defense lawyer representing the appellant could seek to have the case reviewed by the United State Supreme Court. To do so, the case must involve an interpretation of the United States Constitution or involve a Federal law.
When seeking to appeal a court’s decision, it is important to select a California defense attorney skilled in handling complex appellate matters. To have your appellate issues examined, contact my office for a free consultation to learn more about your options today!