San Diego Criminal Appeals Attorney

An appeal is a request to the same court in which you were convicted (e.g. Petition for New Trial) or a request to a higher court to review a decision made in a completed Superior Court trial or proceeding. After a Court or jury trial or the proceeding is completed, if the defendant is unhappy with the outcome and believes an error was made that adversely affected the result, the defendant may ask the trial court judge to overturn the decision or to order a new trial. If the judge denies the request, the losing party may file an appeal in the appropriate Court of Appeal. A criminal appeals lawyer in San Diego, CA can help you with this.

Criminal Appeals

To begin the appeal process, a written notice of written appeal is filed with the clerk of the court in which the proceeding took place. In criminal and juvenile cases, transcripts of the underlying proceedings are automatically prepared. All parties are notified once the record on appeal has been filed with the Court of Appeal. From the date the record was filed, the defendant (now referred to as the Appellant) has a specified period of time within which to file the appellant’s opening brief, depending on the type of case. This “brief” is a series of written arguments that set forth the underlying facts of the case and issues raised by the appellant, including challenges to the Superior Court rulings or findings; the brief sets forth the basis for reversing the lower court’s decision by reference to applicable statutes (laws) and previous case decisions. The Respondent (The Attorney General represents the People of the State of California on these appeals in contrast to the City Attorney or District Attorney who handled the lower court case.) files a brief in response, and then the Appellant may file a reply brief.

Once the briefs have been filed the case is randomly assigned to a panel of justices. Then, the justices review the briefs and a memorandum that is generally written by a staff attorney for the Court of Appeal. Thereafter, oral argument is scheduled and the justices have the opportunity to hear the Appellant’s attorney argue the case and, if desired, ask the attorney questions related to the issues raised. After the panel of justices hears oral argument, a member of the panel prepares and files an Opinion, which is a written statement of the court’s decision. Some decisions are “published” and, as such, become legal precedent for future cases.

Decisions of the Court of Appeal are subject to “discretionary” review by the California Supreme Court as well as the United States Supreme Court, for decisions based on the U.S. Constitution and federal statutes.

Reasons to File an Appeal or Writ of a Criminal Conviction

It is not uncommon for trial judges to make some errors with evidence, proper criminal procedure or sentencing during the course of a judge or jury trial. A criminal appeal may be the only way to correct those errors when a defendant has been convicted of a crime. Even if there were no serious errors, such as a violation of one’s constitutional rights, a defendant may want to appeal a portion of the judgment or criminal sentence to the Court of Appeal. This is especially true where the sentence to jail or state prison is significantly harsher than it should have been. In some cases, release on bail (see below) can be approved while an appeal is pending. Also, if the trial judge improperly admitted certain evidence into trial, and/or refused to exclude evidence that should have been suppressed under California Law or the United States Constitution, this may be grounds for an appeal.

You should be aware there are critical time deadlines that apply for filing an appeal of a criminal conviction. If you miss the deadline, it will usually mean the opportunity to appeal the case has been lost. Therefore, if you are considering an appeal of a criminal conviction, it is very important to act quickly and call Spital & Associates to discuss your case.

What Is a Writ?

A common request for review of a Superior Court ruling and/or decision is called a “Writ.” This is a request to the Court of Appeal to issue an Order to modify a Superior Court Judge’s ruling. If it is granted, the lower court is required to modify one of its orders or have a hearing regarding the same. A writ also has strict filing deadlines.

If you have been wrongly convicted of a crime, proving your innocence can be difficult. At Spital & Associates, we want to be your appellate attorney to file a criminal appeal or writ of habeas corpus. We will use experienced private investigators and crime experts to prove your innocence, and our San Diego criminal appeals attorneys are experienced in criminal appeals and will fight aggressively to prove you were wrongly convicted. Our founder, Sam Spital, has handled dozens of criminal appeals in all courts in the State of California, including the Court of Appeal and State Supreme Court, as well as all Federal Courts, including the Circuit Court of Appeals and U.S. Supreme Court.

Contact our Criminal Appeals Lawyer Today!

If you have a question about a criminal appeal in California, call us as your San Diego criminal appeals attorneys at 619.583.0350 or send an e-mail now so that we can help.