When a criminal court holds a trial, delivers a verdict and renders judgment, mistakes sometimes are made. Those mistakes can lead to an appeal of the final ruling and levels of punishment imposed. Whether someone is convicted of a federal or Alabama state law in a criminal defense case, the appeals process enables that person to file an appeal and correct any errors made, including vacating an entire ruling and requiring an entirely new trial.
Every court has an appeals process
When convicted in a federal or state court, the defendant can appeal to the next highest court. In state courts, the accused files an appeal with the state court of appeals. In a federal court system, the accused files with the federal appellate court system. The rulings made in those courts only get overturned by either the U.S. Supreme Court for federal cases or the Alabama Supreme Court in this state. An appeal gets filed only once in a particular court for the same cause.
You need a valid reason to appeal
Many people will file automatic appeals in criminal defense cases that go against them. They remain subject to the initial ruling during the appeals process, including spending time in jail or prison. In most cases, those appeals fall flat because they have no valid basis for the appeal. You need a valid legal argument to appeal a case and overturn a court decision.
An example is when a prosecutor withholds evidence that might be favorable to the defense. An infamously high-profile federal case against a Nevada rancher and dozens of other defendants fell apart after prosecutors withheld evidence. The U.S. Ninth Circuit upheld the dismissal after federal prosecutors sought a retrial. Even the prosecution can appeal a lower court’s decision.
Help for Alabama criminal defense appeals
An experienced criminal law attorney may be able to help individuals file successful appeals in state or federal cases. An attorney may help clients to identify weaknesses in the case and file all documentation on time.