A Conviction or lost Civil or Family law trial may feel like the end of the line, but you may still be able to overturn your sentence or ruling. Those convicted of a crime, denied relief in civil court, are unhappy with their divorce outcome, or have lost custody of their children have the option to appeal his or her case if a legal error was made in the trial or order itself. If you or a loved one was convicted of a crime or lost a civil or family law case, and you believe an error was made, contact an experienced appellate lawyer to ask about your options.
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After you’ve been convicted and sentenced, had your civil claim dismissed, lost a civil trial, or had an adverse ruling in a family law case, you may appeal, or ask a higher court to review the previous court’s decision. The higher court, (also called the appellate court), will review the record of the lower court, including transcripts, any admitted evidence, and everything said in court by the attorneys, judge, and witnesses. No new evidence is submitted to the appellate court, they will only review the record and briefs written by the attorneys.
Briefs are the explanations given by both the appellant who is challenging the decision, and the appellee, who is defending the decision. When the appellant decides to challenge the trial court’s decision, the appellant will write up a brief to explain why and how the decision was flawed. The opposing party will then write a responding brief to expound on why the decision was accurate and should be upheld. Lastly, the appellant is allowed a final brief to respond to the appellee’s argument. In some cases, the appellate court will also hear the spoken arguments of either side.
Criminal Convictions or Juvenile Adjudications
All those tried in a state criminal court have a right to appeal through the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals to the Alabama Supreme Court. The deadline for state appeals is strict, so notify the court of your intent to appeal as quickly as possible. The Alabama state court allows appeals for felonies, misdemeanors, local ordinance violations, adjudications, and post-conviction writs. Should an appeal be denied by the Court of Criminal Appeals, the appellant may petition the Supreme Court of Alabama. Any cases concerning federally protected rights may also be petitioned to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Civil, Family, or Juvenile Custody
All those who were denied certain forms of relief or lose their civil, family, or juvenile custody cases have the right to appeal to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals. The deadline for state appeals is strict, so it is important to notify the court of your intent to appeal as quickly as possible. The Alabama state court allows appeals in personal injury, wrongful death, divorces, child custody proceedings, parental rights terminations, and many other types of cases. Should an appeal be denied by the Court of Civil Appeals, the appellant may petition the Supreme Court of Alabama. Any cases concerning federally protected rights may also be petitioned to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Petitions for Writ of Habeas Corpus, Writ of Mandamus, and Extraordinary Writs
Petitions to the appellate court to issue a writ or the trial court to issue a writ of habeas corpus are used in certain circumstances when, for instance, a trial court exceeds its discretion or an error has been made that allows for a writ to be issued. These are narrow circumstances, but they are commonly used when the trial court fails to give an incarcerated individual the correct jail credit, an individual is immune from prosecution or being sued, when a trial court refuses to transfer the case to the proper venue, or in other limited circumstances. These are appealable to the Alabama Supreme Court and if they concern a federally protected right may also be petitioned to the U.S. Supreme Court.
For cases tried in federal court, the party who was unsuccessful at the trial level can petition the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to have the decision overturned. If the 11th Circuit denies an appeal; the next option is to petition the U.S. Supreme Court for an appeal. Like with state appeals, federal appeals are on a strict deadline, and must be petitioned rapidly following the final decision of the case. To make the most out of the federal appeals process it is important to have skilled appellate attorneys admitted to the 11th Circuit on your side.
If you’ve exhausted all available options for a direct appeal in a criminal case, you can still file a petition under Rule 32. Generally, under Rule 32 of the Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure, a person may receive relief from a conviction when any of the following are true:
Filing a Rule 32 can be complicated, and must be done precisely in order to satisfy the strict requirements of state and federal law. The best way to ensure you make the most of your Rule 32 petition or appeal is to hire an experienced criminal appeals attorney for professional help.
If you have exhausted your ability to obtain relief from the State of Alabama in a Rule 32 proceeding, you might have the option of filing a § 2254 Habeas Corpus petition to challenge your sentence or conviction in federal court. If you have exhausted your appeal in the federal court, you have the chance to challenge the constitutional errors in your trial and appeal under a § 2255 Habeas Corpus petition to overturn your conviction. These are very law and fact intensive legal processes and the best way to ensure you make the most of your habeas corpus petition is to hire an experience criminal appeals attorney for professional help.
At Revill Law Firm, we understand how important the appeals process is and our legal team is prepared to do everything in our power to protect your rights. Not only are we available by phone 24/7, our firm also offers free consultations for all prospective clients.
To begin working on your federal or state appeal, contact an experienced Birmingham criminal defense attorney at Revill Law Firm.