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FERTITTA & REYNAL LLP

An appeal is the result of a judgment that is entered in a case. Often, an appeal will be taken from a trial in which the defendant was found guilty because the Government has no right to appeal a finding of not guilty. Sometimes, appeals are based on some ruling that the judge made pretrial, such as a ruling on a motion to suppress, that effectively made one side or the other win. Every appeal is premised on the claim that the trial court committed some sort of error. In other words, the judge issued a ruling that we believe is wrong, and therefore, we ask a panel of appeals judges to reverse that ruling. By submitting an appeal, we are saying that the judge was wrong in his or her decision.

Does An Appeal Automatically Constitute A New Trial?

An appeal does not automatically constitute a new trial. If successful, an appeal can result in a new trial, but an appeal is its own proceeding. It is brought in a court of appeals. The court of appeals is a different place with different judges. There is no jury. The judges in the court of appeals make their decision based on the briefs filed by the parties, as well as oral arguments that are made to the judges.

Can Any Judgment Be Appealed?

Any final judgment can be appealed. If your case has been tried, the jury rendered a verdict, and the judge entered a judgment, that can be appealed. If there was a motion to suppress hearing – and as a result of the judge siding with the government, the defendant decides to plead guilty while preserving their right to appeal the suppression issue – that can be appealed.

What Is The Appeals Process?

The appeals process begins with filing a notice of appeal in the trial court, which is usually filed within 14 days of the judgment. That begins to run the appeal’s clock. That notice is also filed in the court of appeals. Then, there is an opening brief filed by the appealing party, that is responded to by the other side. Afterward, a reply brief is filed. After the briefing is done, the court of appeals may, but isn’t required, to set the case for oral arguments so that they can question the lawyers representing the two parties.

What Does The Appellate Court Actually Determine?

The appellate court determines whether the trial court committed an error. For example, the court of appeals could decide that the trial court committed error when it admitted evidence, ruled on what the governing law is, or ruled on jurisdiction. Any ruling by the trial court can be examined by the appellate court to determine if there was an error.

Will Minor Errors Be Overlooked By The Appellate Court?

There’s a doctrine in appellate law called the harmless error doctrine. According to that doctrine, if the error was so minor that it didn’t affect the outcome of the case, if it was truly harmless, then even though there was error, there will not be a reversal or a new trial. Now, a multitude of minor errors can result in a new trial; because even though each one of those errors individually might be harmless, cumulatively they amount to a miscarriage of justice.

Can You Appeal A Case Where You Pled Guilty?

You can appeal a case where you pled guilty. The scope of your appeal will be determined in part by whether you executed an appeal waiver. Oftentimes, in order for you to enter a guilty plea pursuant to a plea agreement, the judge in both state and federal court will require you to sign an appellate waiver. That waiver limits the type of error that you can raise on appeal.

What Is The Timeframe Someone Has To Appeal?

The timeframe in which someone has to appeal varies in state and federal law. But generally, the notice of appeal has to be filed within 14 days of the final judgment.

Does Someone Remain In Jail Or Prison While Their Appeal Is Heard? Or, Are They Out On Bond?

Either the trial court or the appellate court can decide to leave someone out during the pendency of his appeal. The presumption, however, is that, once convicted, the person should begin serving her sentence.

If Someone Loses At The Appellate Level, Are There Further Steps That Can Be Taken?

Within the appellate process, there is the first appeal, which is made to the court of appeals. Then, there is a second appeal that can be taken to the Court of Criminal Appeals in Texas, or federally to the US Supreme Court. Once all of that has been exhausted, the appellate process is over. However, the client can choose to pursue the filing of a writ of habeas corpus.

What Exactly Is A Writ?

A writ is a legal mechanism to attack a judgment. It is separate and apart from the appeal itself. A writ allows somebody to come long after the judgment has been entered and attack that judgment because there was no jurisdiction, because it was an involuntary plea, because somebody received ineffective assistance of counsel, or because the sentence was illegal. Those are some of the reasons the judgment can be attacked. There’s a variety of reasons why someone would file a writ.

What Is The Difference Between A Writ And An Appeal?

An appeal is taken directly from a trial court’s judgment. As mentioned, it has to be filed within 14 days. A writ usually has some technical requirements, but it can be filed at any time.

What Is A Writ Of Habeas Corpus?

A writ of habeas corpus allows a defendant to attack the judgment in a criminal case. A writ of habeas corpus can be used for a variety of purposes. It can also be used in the state court system to attack the detention order of a judge. Basically, a writ of habeas corpus allows the lawyer to directly come into the appeals process and attack the procedure that was used to incarcerate somebody. Habeas corpus means releasing the body. And so, the writ of habeas corpus is about releasing people from prison, jail, or trial court judgments.

For more information on Appeals, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (713) 364-0007 today.

FERTITTA & REYNAL

Call Now To Speak With An Attorney
(713) 364-0007