Criminal Appeals & Briefs
We have a tremendous amount of experience writing appeals for federal and state court. We have also had great success in writing post conviction relief motions when the appellate process fails. An appeal is the process by which a lower court decision is reviewed by a higher court. An appeal is a legal argument; the higher court determines whether the lower court erred in its application and interpretation of the law. A higher court will also examine whether the judgment of the lower court was proper in light of the evidence presented at trial. No new evidence is admitted in an appeal unless there are exceptional circumstances.
- An appellate brief is a legal motion filed by the parties containing case law and other various points of law in favor of their position.
- Usually, the loosing party appeals the decision, in some cases, both parties appeal the part of the decision that is unfavorable to their position.
When examining an appeal, the higher court has four options that are mentioned below:
- A judgment is reversed when the higher court overturns the lower court decision.
- A judgment is remanded when the higher court sends a case back to the lower court for additional proceedings or further action.
- A judgment is affirmed when the higher court agrees with the lower court’s decision.
- A judgment may also be affirmed in part and reversed in part.
An appeal generally remains in the same legal system from which it began. For example, in Florida, if a case starts in the 11 th Judicial Circuit ( Miami-Dade County), then the Circuit Court’s decision will be reviewed by the 3 rd District Court of Appeals, which is also part of the State of Florida judicial system. In limited circumstances, the 3 rd District Court of Appeal opinion may be reviewed by the Supreme Court of Florida. A Federal case remains in the Federal judicial system. For example, a decision in the United States District Court of the Southern District of Florida may be reviewed by the United States Court of Appeals for the 11 th Circuit, which has jurisdiction over Florida, Georgia, and Alabama district courts. From the 11 th Circuit the last stop is the United States Supreme Court.
Generally every decision may be appealed to one higher court. However, the period of time a party has to file a notice of appeal is limited. In Florida, a defendant has 30 days to file a notice of appeal after a final judgment has been entered (see Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.140(3) listed below). In Federal Court, a party must file a notice of appeal within 10 days of the final judgment. (see the link for the Federal Rules of Appellate procedure below)
Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure may be found at the following website:
These rules set the time periods, brief requirements, and other legal doctrines that must be followed in filing the appeal. The rules are different than the Rules of Appellate Procedure for State courts, i.e., Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. The Federal appellate court for Florida and Georgia is the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Georgia. The Federal Appellate court for South Carolina is the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia. Any appeal taken from these Circuits goes to the United States Supreme Court.
Time is very important in the appellate process. Please contact our office as soon as possible to preserve the appellate rights.