Appeals and Writs

Appellate Proceedings

Appeals and Writs are similar in that they are proceedings held in the Court of Appeal and/or Supreme Court but they differ greatly in how they work and when each one is appropriate.

Appeals

When a person has been convicted of a crime, usually following trial, they may file an appeal to try to reverse the conviction and obtain a retrial.  Appeals are based on the evidence that was introduced at trial (the record) and do not permit the introduction of new material that wasn’t presented at trial.  If a witness at trial lied and said a person had done something and then, after the person is convicted, that witness comes forward and says “I lied.  He didn’t really do it.” that is not something that can be considered in an appeal.  Appeals generally deal with errors made by the trial court.  These can take several forms:

    • Erroneous admission of evidence by the trial court
    • Erroneous rulings on pre-trial and trial motions by the trial court
    • Erroneous jury instructions
    • Prosecutorial misconduct that affected the trial’s outcome
    • Juror misconduct which has previously been brought to the trial court’s attention
    • Judicial bias

When one or more of these have taken place, the conviction may be suitable for an appeal.  There are strict time limits for appeals from which there is no relief.  If you miss a deadline, you have forfeited your appeal.  The time begins to run not from when the jury returns a verdict, but from when the trial court sentences the defendant.  The time limit for filing a Notice of Appeal is 30 days for misdemeanors and 60 days for felonies from the date of sentencing.

Wegman & Levin is experienced in filing appeals in both misdemeanor and felony cases, whether or not we were the trial lawyers.

Call us at (818) 980-4000 to discuss your appeal.  Initial consultations are always FREE.

Writs

Writs are a very specialized form of relief that can be sought (usually from a Court of Appeal) in particular circumstances.  Some of the more “common” writs in criminal law are:

    • Writ of habeas corpus
    • Writ of error coram nobis
    • Writ of mandamus
    • Writ of prohibition
    • Writ of supersedeas

While each of the above has a different purpose and very different procedural requirements, certain things are common to all writs:

    • Writs are presented as petitions, which means they include evidence (thus, unlike appeals, they are not dependent on the trial record)
    • Writs seek extraordinary relief which cannot be obtained through an appeal or other legal means
    • Writs are strongly disfavored in the law, which means that you have to make an extremely compelling argument to stand a chance
    • Writs may, in certain cases, also be subject to time limits

Wegman & Levin is experienced in filing writs in both misdemeanor and felony cases, whether or not we were the trial lawyers.

Call us at (818) 980-4000 to discuss your situation.   Initial consultations are always FREE.