If you have been accused of a crime and convicted by a jury of your peers (or a judge) at trial, you have the right to appeal this decision and attempt to prove your innocence in another trial.
In some instances, even if you are acquitted, the other side may file for an appeal and you may be dragged into court again.
For this reason, it’s important for your attorney to be aware of and considering appeal throughout the entirety of your case.
But how does the appeals process work, and what are your chances of winning?
What is an appeal?
The Oklahoma statutes regarding appeals states:
A defendant has the right to petition as a matter of right from any judgment against him, which shall be taken as herein provided; and any decision of the court or intermediate order made in the progress of the case may be reviewed … The Court of Criminal Appeals may take jurisdiction of any case for the purpose of correcting the records when the same do not disclose judgment and sentence; such jurisdiction shall be for the sole purpose of correcting such defect or defects.
In other words, if a party in a court case believes the court made a wrong decision, they can ask a higher court (called an appellate court) to hear the case again.
This appellate court has the power to reverse the decision of the first court by reviewing everything that happened during the first court to see whether any legal mistakes were made. The judges of appellate court will also read written arguments — and sometimes hear oral arguments — presented by both parties in the case.
An appellate court when dealing with a criminal case has a few options. They can:
- Reverse a conviction
- Reduce a sentence
- Order a new trial
How does an appeal process work in Oklahoma?
The procedure for an appeal has several steps:
- Preparation and authentication of transcripts and records in cases appealed
- Completion and submission of the appeal
- Filing a petition for and the issuance of a writ of certiorari (ordering a lower court to deliver its record in a case so that the higher court may review it)
Each state has specifications in regards to the process, as well, so it’s important that your defense attorney is well-versed in the Oklahoma requirements.
Appellate courts in Oklahoma look for a few things when they review the transcripts of the original trial and the arguments of both parties’ lawyers. These include:
- Legal errors (evidence that has been improperly submitted, incorrect jury instructions, and convictions based on insufficient evidence)
- Juror misconduct
- Prosecutorial misconduct
- Ineffective assistance of counsel (mistakes or oversights on the part of your attorney)
- New evidence that could now be taken into consideration
What is the likelihood that my case will win an appeal?
While it’s of course impossible to predict the future, there are a few different ways to approach an appeal that could determine the likelihood of winning. Below are two examples.
- When the appellate court examines a possible abuse of discretion question — when a judge ruled against “reason and evidence” or against established law — the odds of reversal are fairly low. However, this standard is also somewhat flexible, so there is some leeway for the appellate court to disagree with the original court in the event that an error of law is involved.
- In cases of a very clear error, the case may be a little more straight-forward. However, if the question involves something more open to interpretation, the appellate court may be more hesitant to reverse. Examples include:
- Witness credibility
- Sufficiency of evidence
It is nearly impossible to predict what will happen during your appeal, but having an attorney who knows the requirements in Oklahoma appellate court and who you trust to defend your innocence is vital to your success.
Contact Jacqui Ford today
At Jacqui Ford Law, our primary focus is to help our clients never need our services again. We are always available, which sets us apart from the rest, and we tell the truth, rather than offer false promises to get a quick sale. Contact us today to discuss your case.