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What You Should Know about Appellate Courts

2 February 2013 No Comment

If you are facing prison time due to a conviction, there are things that you should know about the appeals process. Anyone who has ever watched crime dramas on television may have a basic understanding of how appellate courts work. If you are facing time in jail however, it is important that you have more than just basic knowledge of the appeals process.

When a party is not satisfied with the decision of the court after a trial, that party has the right to appeal the court’s decision to a higher court. This higher court is the appellate court. The appellate court is responsible for reviewing the decision of the original court and determining if that decision will stand. If the defense or the prosecution feels that the court’s decision was wrong, they can take this decision to the appellate court and attempt to get that decision overturned.

Defendants in criminal cases are permitted to appeal the court’s decision and to try to convince the appellate court of their innocence. The prosecution is not permitted to appeal criminal cases when the defendant is found innocent as this violates the Fifth Amendment pertaining to double jeopardy. The appellate court will examine the case and ensure that all rules of law were followed properly. Instead of actually determining whether they feel a defendant is guilty or innocent, this court simply reviews the original court case to see that all rules were followed and to ensure that no serious legal errors were committed during the trial.

If an error is found, this could be grounds for the verdict to be reversed which in most cases would free the defendant from all charges. If you were convicted of a crime and you feel that your case was not handled properly, it is well within your rights to retain an attorney and file an appeal to see if you can get your verdict overturned.

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