When a verdict is delivered in a criminal case, it isn’t always what the defendant envisioned as the outcome. An unfavorable verdict is difficult enough to process, and in some cases, the sentence ordered by the judge may not seem justified or fair. When a defendant finds themselves in this situation, their trial lawyer will likely suggest that they file a notice of appeal.
Filing a notice of appeal is a fairly standard protocol in criminal trials where a guilty verdict has been delivered. What’s important to note here is that while many notices for appeal are filed, few are actually granted. This is because appellate judges are responsible for thoroughly reviewing each request and only granting consideration to the notices that are filled with legitimate intent.
If you’re on the receiving end of an unfavorable verdict, it’s important to understand what factors matter most to appellate justices when considering whether to grant notice of appeal.
Filing a Notice of Appeal with the Appellate Court
The role of the district courts of appeals in Texas is to review decisions that are passed on by the trial courts in the state. Appellate courts serve an important role in keeping the judicial system balanced and fair, and they are required to look at each motion objectively. Due to the fact that notices for an appeal are often filed, the Texas courts of appeals see an incredible number of notices come through regardless if a legal basis can be established.
There are instances when a notice of appeal is used as a stalling strategy, however, if you’re seeking a legitimate chance at winning an appeal, there are certain things that need to be considered.
For starters, legal grounds for an appeal must exist and be established. An appellate court isn’t going to consider a request for an appeal based on the simple fact that you disagree with the verdict. They’re looking for the defendant, or their legal representation, to show that a legal error existed either before or during the trial and that the error likely affected the verdict or sentencing in the case.
The importance of following proper procedures in the appeals process can’t be overstated. There are timelines to consider, as well as very specific processes that need to be followed. It’s rarely suggested that a defendant file a notice of appeal without the guidance of an experienced appellate attorney.
Winning an Appeal
Your chances of winning an appeal in Texas, rest solely on the individual circumstances of your case. Because each notice of appeal is different and based on a complex set of circumstances, it really isn’t fair to compare one person’s chances against another person in terms of receiving a favorable outcome.
That said, there are factors that seem to influence the appellate court’s decision. Many of these factors are procedural in nature and involve establishing that legal grounds for an appeal do truthfully exist. A great number of notices for an appeal are denied based on the initial review because they fail to provide appellate justices with reasons to give the request further consideration – meaning the notice of appeal is stopped in its tracks.
When your appellate attorney is preparing to file a notice of appeal, the following elements should be considered in building your case.
- A thorough review of the judicial process during the trial – for example, if a judge made an incorrect or illegal ruling in the case.
- A thorough review for juror errors, either before or during the trial – for example, juror misconduct or improper juror selection.
- A thorough review of attorney conduct before and during the trial – for example, whether the defense attorney took all the appropriate opportunities to object to testimony or evidence.
- A thorough review of the trial court’s docket entries and all documents pertaining to the trial.
- Requesting and building a strong oral presentation to defend the legitimacy of the notice of appeal.
Considering a Notice of Appeal? Contact a Dallas Appellate Attorney First
If you’re facing criminal charges, it’s never too early to contact a Dallas appellate attorney and begin discussing the possibility of an appeal in your case. An appellate attorney can work alongside your defense attorney to establish grounds for an appeal before you even need one. An appeal could be your last chance for freedom, make sure you leave it in the hands of a team you can trust. Contact an experienced appellate attorney in Dallas at the Broden & Mickelsen, LLP to review your case today.
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Prior results cannot and do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future case.