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Appellate Representation in the California State Courts

If you've been convicted of a California criminal offense and sentenced, you can appeal to the California Court of Appeal, and, if necessary, to the California Supreme Court. An experienced California defense lawyer from The Kavinoky Law Firm will thoroughly analyze your case to determine the most promising avenue for appeal.

The California appellate process begins by filing a notice of appeal in the trial court where you were convicted. This document must be filed in the trial court within 30 days of being sentenced for a misdemeanor and within 60 days of being sentenced for a felony. Time is truly of the essence here. If a notice of appeal is not properly filed, or if it is not filed on time, you may not be allowed to appeal your case at all.

During an appeal, which can be a long and complex process, a higher court reviews what took place during your trial. The higher court, however, only reviews what has been recorded by the court reporter and discussed in front of the trial judge. An appeal is not the appropriate forum to dispute issues which took place outside the presence of the court, or which are not recorded by the court reporter.

For example, if someone in the courthouse parking lot intimidated a defense witness into changing his or her story in such a way that it hurt your case, this matter cannot be reviewed by the Court of Appeal unless it was brought to the attention of the judge during trial.

The state appellate process begins by ordering the transcripts of your trial and copies of all documents in the trial court's file. All of this information will eventually be forwarded to the Court of Appeal. At this time, the Court of Appeal will request an opening brief from your defense lawyer.

Your opening brief must be filed within 40 days of the Court of Appeals receiving your transcripts and your trial court file. After your defense attorney files an opening brief, the state will file a responsive brief contesting what has been raised in yours. Once the state files its responsive brief, you will have an opportunity to file what is called a reply brief, which is limited to responding to the state's counterarguments.

After all three of these briefs are filed, the Court of Appeals then invites defense counsel and a government attorney to argue the case in front of a three-judge panel. The Court of Appeal will then issue a written decision, either affirming or reversing the verdict. This decision usually comes within two months of oral argument.

If the decision is in your favor and your conviction is reversed, the state may or may not opt to retry you. The decision to retry you if you've won your appeal usually depends on the seriousness of the crime. For example, a successfully appealed shoplifting conviction is much less likely to be retried than a murder conviction.

If your conviction is upheld by the California Court of Appeal, you can then seek to have your case reviewed by the California Supreme Court. Here, too, time is of the essence. If you lost in the Court of Appeal, you must file a petition for review in the California Supreme Court within 10 days of the Court of Appeal's decision. The petition for review is limited to arguing how the Court of Appeals misapplied the law when analyzing the facts of the case.

If the California Supreme Court also upholds your conviction, you have the option of appealing your case to the United States Supreme Court. The initial document in this process must be filed in that court, in Washington, D.C., within 90 days of the denial by the California Supreme Court. The United States Supreme Court will review only issues in a state criminal case which present federal constitutional questions, such as Miranda violations, search and seizure issues, etc.

Even if you've been convicted of a California criminal offense and have already been sentenced, there are many avenues to appeal your case and get the justice you deserve. An experienced defense attorney from The Kavinoky Law Firm will thoroughly analyze your case to determine the most promising avenue for a successful appeal.

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Bail Pending Sentencing or Appeal Direct Appeal
Withdrawing Guilty Pleas Writ of Habeas Corpus - State Court
Motions for a New Trial Writ of Habeas Corpus - Federal Court
Sentencing Memoranda Expungement
Bail Pending Sentencing or Appeal Sentencing Memoranda
Withdrawing Guilty Pleas Direct Appeal
Motions for a New Trial Federal Writ of Habeas Corpus
Representation at Sentencing