Appealing a Case
In an ideal world, the court would be able to methodically review every detail of a case before reaching a final, just decision. In practice, however, it is not rare for courts to make the wrong decision. If you have been convicted of a crime, and you believe the conviction and/or the sentence are unjust, you have the legal right to challenge the decision on your case. This is called filing an appeal.
Understanding the appeals process requires a little knowledge of the court system. Courts in the United States are divided into several levels. Smaller, local courts typically deal with relative minor cases and misdemeanors. With the exception of many felony offenses, which are punished at the federal level rather than the state level, most criminal cases stop at this level and don’t go further.
Above those are various regional courts of appeal, which hear cases from a larger area and have more power. They can overturn decisions by a lower court if they find it wrong. To appeal a case, you must present an argument to the higher court that indicates ways in which your sentence or the jury’s decision was based on legal mistakes. The court will look at the transcription of the trial to decide whether to hear an appeal. If they do, you can then explain to them how the decision was in fault.
At this point, the court may decide in your favor, or in favor of the prosecution. If the latter occurs, you can petition to have your case heard in a higher court, such as a state appeals court. In some rare cases, appeals can rise all the way to the federal Supreme Court, whose decisions are generally final.
Due to the complexity and difficulty of working through the courts, it is almost impossible to file an appeal without the help of a lawyer. The experienced Champaign defense lawyers of Bruno Law Offices can help you find a just decision.