An appeal is a way to challenge a jury’s verdict at trial. In an appeal, you cannot make new arguments, introduce new evidence or call witnesses. Instead, you challenge the decision made by a jury. Also, names and terms change, as the defendant in the previous trial is now called an appellant. To begin the appeal process, you must file a Notice of Appeal. It can’t be filed until the judgment, an official document stating the jury’s guilty verdict and judge’s denial of any post-trial motions, has been entered, and must be filed very soon after judgment is entered. Upon filing an appeal, you begin a process in the higher level appellate court.
The appellate court will set a schedule stating when appellate brief are due, and when arguments will be heard in court. An appellate brief is a written explanation of how the lower court’s decision violates law, and cannot contain new evidence or introduce new arguments about your innocence. In your brief, your attorney will cite specific instances that were not handled properly by the trial court, and include portions of the transcript, a written record of everything that was said in the original trial. After submitting the brief, the judge may hear oral arguments from both sides, but this is becoming less common. It is more likely that the judge will make their decision based only on the written briefs. In the end, if the appellate judge feels that the jury made a mistake, he or she can overturn the verdict.
If you believe you have a basis to appeal your conviction, contact Attorney Christopher Morales today to discuss your case.