What steps are involved in the criminal appeal process?

On behalf of Jack B. Rubin, PA posted in Criminal Appeals on Monday, October 20, 2014.

People convicted of criminal offenses in Maryland possess the right to appeal the conviction if they have reason to believe that the trial was not conducted properly. After an appeal is duly filed, an appellate court will review the transcripts and trial records in order to decide the case.

It is important to know that a criminal appeal is not a new trial. Therefore, appellate courts do not weigh new evidence nor reassess the facts of the case. However, if an appellate court finds within the original trial’s transcripts and trial records evidence of a significant constitutional error, then it is possible that the lower court’s verdict may be overturned. In that event, the appellate court generally orders a new trial for the case.

When convicted individuals decide to appeal their cases, it is critical that they file the appeal correctly and in a timely manner. There are many steps and materials involved in this processes, and in the state of Maryland there are certain inalienable rules accompanying each step.

The process is initiated by filing a notice of appeal with the clerk of the circuit court within 30 calendar days of the lower court’s date of judgment. Along with the notice, the appellant must file a certificate of service showing that a copy was served on the prosecuting attorney who obtained the conviction. The appellant must then file for a transcript request for all transcripts pertaining to the original trial and other associated hearings within ten days of filing the notice of appeal. After the record is received by the appellate court, the appellant must then write a legal brief detailing the grounds for appeal.

Clearly, the process for criminal appeals is lengthy, complex, tedious and very strict. For this reason, many appellants retain the counsel and representation of a criminal defense attorney. The lawyer may help ensure that the filing process for an appeal is done in a satisfactory and timely manner.

Source:¬†Maryland Court of Special Appeals, “A Guide for Self-Representation“, October 18, 2014

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