Criminal Appeals Process

Criminal Appeals Process

A trial judge makes a number of decisions throughout the life of a criminal case.  They range from whether to grant to continuance, to whether to sustain or overrule an objection, to whether the defendant should be acquitted.  Some of these decisions must be made without the benefit of reflection or research.  Fortunately, all of the trial judge’s decisions are subject to review by appellate judges.  Of course, the jury’s ultimate decision as to guilt or innocence is also subject to review by an appellate court.  If any of the trial judge’s decisions are incorrect, or if the jury’s decision is not supported by sufficient evidence, the defendant may be entitled to a new trial.

Appeals vs. Trials

Appeals are very different from trials.  On appeal the primary focus is usually not on the facts of the case, but on the trial judge’s decisions.  This different focus requires different litigation skills.  The skills required to handle a trial are quite different from the skills required to handle an appeal.

An appeal is not an opportunity to present additional evidence.  In fact, no additional evidence will be allowed.  Also, most appeals do not directly challenge the jury’s decision as to guilt or innocence. Such appeals rarely succeed because appellate courts are required to presume that the jury’s decision was correct.  Most appeals challenge the jury’s decision, indirectly.  Instead of challenging the Jury’s decision, they challenge the trial judge’s decisions.  Usually, the contention on appeal is that the trial judge made an incorrect decision, and that that incorrect decision led to an incorrect decision by the jury.

To Appeal or Not to Appeal

In order to determine whether the trial judge made any mistakes that warrant a new trial or some other relief, it is necessary to thoroughly review of each of the trial judge’s decisions.  It is unlikely that the attorney who handled the trial will remember all of the decisions that the trial judge made throughout the life of the case.  So, a thorough review requires not only a review of the trial court’s file, but also a review of the transcripts of all of the hearings that have been held, and a careful review of the law.  This thorough review should be done whether the appeal will be handled by the trial attorney, or by an appellate attorney.

The deadline for filing the notice of appeal is typically 30 days, if the appeal is from a final judgment.  Usually, this is not enough time for a thorough review of the trial judge’s decisions because it usually takes more than 30 days to obtain the transcripts.  So sometimes it may be necessary to file a notice of appeal before a review of the trial judge’s decisions is complete.  The notice of appeal may be filed by the trial attorney even if an appellate attorney will be hired for the appeal.  If after a careful review the appellate attorney decides that an appeal is not warranted, the appeal may be dismissed voluntarily.

The Notice of Appeal

Typically, the notice of appeal must be filed in the trial court.  The trial court then forwards the notice to the appellate court where the case will be assigned to three judges who specialize in appeals.  After the notice of appeal is filed, the prosecutor usually forwards the case to another government attorney who specializes in appeals.

The Appellate Briefs

If the private appellate attorney determines that an appeal is warranted, he or she must explain why in an initial brief.  The government’s attorney will then have an opportunity to explain why an appeal is not warranted in an answer brief.  The private appellate attorney will then have an opportunity to file a reply brief.  Usually, after the reply brief is filed, no other briefs are allowed.

After all of the briefs have been filed, the appellate judges will decide whether or not they will give the attorneys an opportunity to present their arguments orally.  This usually depends on the complexity of the legal issues, and on whether the judges have any questions about the attorneys’ arguments.  But in most cases, the judges will make their decision without oral arguments.

The Appellate Court’s Decision

The appellate judges will usually explain their decision in a written “opinion.”  In some cases, the party that loses the appeal may appeal again to yet another appellate court.  If there is no further appeal, the case will be returned to the trial judge who handled the initial trial.  The government’s appellate attorney will also return the case to the prosecutor who handled the initial trial.  If the appellate court determined that the defendant is entitled to a new trial, the prosecutor may try the defendant again, or dismiss the case.

CPLS’ Appellate Attorneys

CPLS has experienced appellate attorneys.  They handle most types of appeals. If you are in need of an appellate attorney anywhere in the United States, please feel free to contact us.  You may reach us at (407) 647-7887 or toll free 877-647-7887.  We would be happy to assist you.

Drug Crime Appeals

If you have been convicted of a drug crime, your criminal defense is not over. It is never too late to contact a Florida criminal defense lawyer and fight the charges against you. At CPLS, we offer comprehensive post-conviction services and can work to appeal your conviction. If you want to get the best possible result in your drug crime case, contact our team of attorneys and continue fighting against damaging criminal penalties.

Act Quickly to Fight Your Drug Crime Conviction

When you are convicted with possession, manufacturing, or distribution of a drug such as marijuana, LSD, cocaine, or any other illicit substance, you face substantial fines and potentially a long jail term. Fortunately, our lawyers have ample experience defending and appealing drug related convictions. Utilize your right to appeal your sentence with CPLS. Our effective post-conviction strategies can help you earn back your freedom.

Don’t Let Yourself or Loved Ones Suffer From Wrongful Conviction in Florida

If someone close to you has been wrongfully convicted of a drug crime in Orlando, or anywhere else in Florida, don’t hesitate to access our exhaustive post-conviction services. Contact us now to discuss your post-conviction and appeal options. We can help you understand how improper evidentiary ruling by a trial judge, newly discovered evidence, improper jury proceedings, ineffective assistance of counsel, prosecutor misconduct, or judge recusal for conflict of interest can give you grounds for appeal.

We know you want to improve your drug crime case result, and our lawyers can explore every possible option while directing you through the process of deciding how to best continue your defense. If you are convicted of any federal or state drug crime, we can help you get the result that escaped you during the initial trial process.

Our Lawyers Will Not Rest Until We Achieve Superior Results in Your Case

CPLS has experience working for the Florida Court of Appeals and has been successfully handling Florida drug crime appeals for over two decades. Contact us now to set up a consultation with an appeal attorney, and discover the many possibilities available for your continued defense.

Our Respected Approach to Drug Crime Appeals

We aggressively defend clients who have been convicted of drug crimes in Florida. You will be able to work one-on-one with a lawyer who cares about your legal battle and will assist you in getting the outcome you want. We will give you an honest assessment of your case and ensure that you thoroughly understand every option available and what any next step could mean for your future. Our aggressive lawyers have ample experience in Florida drug crime appeals, and will provide you with the knowledge necessary to handle your drug-related case.

Attorneys Representing Clients Convicted of Possessing, Trafficking, or Manufacturing Drugs in Orlando, and throughout Florida

We can expose every hidden detail of your original investigation and trial process to ensure your drug crime appeal has every opportunity to be successful. We will uncover any evidence gained through illegal search or through tactics that violated your rights. We will relentlessly examine witness testimony to make sure all unreliable information is brought to light. We will hold overly aggressive police and overzealous prosecutors accountable for every mistake made in your investigation and trial, and overturn any unfair verdict or excessive sentencing.

Our post-conviction attorneys will aggressively utilize every resource available and our team is driven by achieving impressive results. Let us take over your drug crime case and provide you with an effective post-conviction strategy. Don’t accept a detrimental or mediocre result; obtain the services of Florida’s premier post-conviction team.

Proven Results in Florida Post-Conviction Drug Crime Cases

We will perform a detailed investigation of your arrest and trial, and can pursue the expunging of your record, sentencing appeals, or petition for appeal of conviction. We have been guiding clients through the highly specialized area of drug crime appeals for over twenty years and have successfully defended many Florida clients.

We handle drug crime appeals in state and federal appellate courts. We have extensive experience in the area of drug crime appeals, and we will employ dynamic tactics to fight for you in your Florida case. We will handle every detail of your case while still leaving you in control of your results. Start your push towards freedom with a lawyer at CPLS.

Start the Drug Crime Appeal Process in Florida

We will relentlessly defend you in your Florida drug crime case. If you or someone you know has been convicted on drug charges, call us at  407-647-7887  or 877-647-7887. We are available to discuss our post-conviction services and how they could help in your drug crime case. Additionally, if you’d like to set up a consultation with an experienced appeal attorney, contact us now. You want to retain your reputation and quality of life, and we can help make sure that a drug crime conviction doesn’t rob you of that. Start your post-conviction defense immediately; contact our top-quality criminal defense firm now.

Anti-SLAPP Appeals

When someone is sued in a Florida court for damages based upon libel or slander, there may be a law on the books that blocks their adversary from winning their case: it is the “Citizen Participation in Government Act,” commonly known as Florida’s Anti-SLAPP Law.

What is an Anti-SLAPP Law?

Florida’s anti-SLAPP statute deals with defamation claims.  Defamation occurs when someone makes a statement, either written or oral, that injures or harms a third party’s reputation. See, e.g.  Masson v. New Yorker Magazine, Inc., 501 U.S. 496 (1991). The tort of defamation includes both libel and slander.

When someone is sued for defamation, then they can provide a solid defense to the claims made against them if the Florida Anti-SLAPP law applies to their situation and they plead and prove its application in the case.

Essentially, both federal and state laws here in Florida protect a person’s right to speak freely on public issues as well as to petition the government for a redress of grievances.   When the government becomes a plaintiff in a defamation lawsuit, suing people (or groups) for their exercise of these constitutionally-protected rights, it is often considered to be a lawsuit filed to block or thwart action not favorable to the governmental plaintiff.

These suits are known as “SLAPPs,” or “Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.”  States like Florida have responded by enacting “anti-SLAPP” laws.

The Florida Senate has explained Florida’s anti-SLAPP law as follows:

The term “strategic lawsuit against public participation,” or SLAPP, describes a civil claim or counterclaim in which the asserted injury to the filer arises from the other party’s act of petitioning government or speaking out on a matter of public concern. One of many possible scenarios might involve a person speaking out against a development project at a governmental regulatory meeting. A proponent of the project might sue for defamation or interference with a business advantage in an effort to silence the person or entangle him or her in lengthy litigation, rather win damages for actual injuries. Because a lawsuit is expensive to defend, the person opposing the project may capitulate. Concern that these lawsuits may have a chilling effect on free speech has led multiple states to enact anti-SLAPP legislation over the years, providing various levels of recourse for defendants.

Florida has an anti-SLAPP statute relating solely to governmental plaintiffs. The Citizen Participation in Government Act prohibits a governmental entity from filing a lawsuit without merit and solely because a person has exercised the right to assemble and the right to petition for redress of grievances before a governmental entity. Florida also has anti-SLAPP provisions relating to homeowners’ associations and condominium associations which prohibit certain lawsuits that are filed solely because a parcel owner or unit owner has addressed a governmental entity. The prohibitions against filing the lawsuits in the homeowners’ association or condominium association context apply to business organizations and individuals, as well as to governmental entities.

Note:  There is another anti-SLAPP law on Florida’s books:  it deals with the specific circumstance of homeowner’s associations in the State of Florida.  That statute can be found at Florida Statutes 720.304.