Grounds On Which To Appeal A Conviction An appeal could result in a sentence reduction or even having a sentence completely overturned. An appeal may bring about complete relief from a punishment brought about through the criminal justice system.

When And How To File An Appeal In California

If someone believes he or she just went through a trial that was unfair or the punishment passed down was unjust, that defendant can file a criminal appeal in the State of California. An appeal is a request to a higher court, which is an appellate court, asking the decision made by the lower court be reconsidered. It is important to note, an appeal does not result in a new trial for the defendant, typically. The appellate court will examine the previous proceedings to uncover if any errors took place. The court will take time to review the court transcriptions, exhibits and documents and the arguments that were presented in the lower court by the attorneys.

Often, a defendant does not know how to go about filing an appeal in California, however. If the appeal is being made regarding a misdemeanor appeal, than the defendant must file an appeal with the Appellate Division of the Superior Court, and if he or she is filing an appeal based on a felony conviction, that appeal should be filed with the California Court of Appeal. Depending on the case, a defendant usually has between 60 and 90 days of the conviction to file his or appeal to a ruling.

So Should I File An Appeal Or Not?

Making the decision to file an appeal can be a difficult one and one best made after seeking legal advice from a knowledgeable California criminal defense attorney. An attorney can review the grounds on which an appeal is appropriate in California. An argument can be drawn up, with the help of a defense attorney, concerning why the appeal is necessary for the review of the proceedings in the lower court.

The following are some of the grounds on which a defendant could appeal a conviction in the State of California:

  1. False Arrest – Perhaps, the defendant was arrested without probable cause or without the presence of a warrant.
  2. Insufficient Evidence – Maybe the jury made the wrong decision and without the necessary evidence to prove the defendant’s guilt.
  3. Misconduct By The Jury – If the jury refused to deliberate, for example, or engaged in any other behavior that is against the law, an appeal may be warranted and lead to a sentence reduction or the sentence withdrawn. Certain behaviors of a jury is forbidden under California Penal Code 1181, in fact.
  4. An Error In Sentencing – Sometimes, a judge does not abide by the rules of sentencing and an illegal sentence can result. This action could lead to a successful appeal for the defendant.
  5. Misconduct By The Prosecutor – Often, a prosecutor is found by the defendant’s attorney to have acted deceptively, leading to the wrong decision made in court. If the prosecutor’s actions were unethical, particularly leading the jury to become prejudice, an appeal may be beneficial for the defendant. Depending on the misconduct, a defendant may actually be entitled to a new trial.
  6. Exclusion Of Evidence – In accordance with California Penal Code 402, a judge decides before a trial which pieces of evidence are appropriate or not appropriate in light of the case. During this process, a judge can make an error, allowing for important evidence to be excluded or insignificant evidence to be included. This fact may provide grounds for an appeal of a criminal conviction in the State of California.