How to Win in Appellate Court

It is devastating to hear a guilty verdict when tried for a crime you didn’t commit or that you don’t have as much culpability for as the court claims. Jonathan Fellner, Attorney at Law, understands that you’re in a tough position. He has helped countless people appeal their conviction and win. It isn’t easy, but it is possible with the right defense attorney on your side. This is crucial. It’s your constitutional right as an American to appeal your conviction, but you must retain an experienced lawyer to increase your chance of earning the right to a new trial.

Jonathan Fellner has worked as a defense attorney for more than 20 years, most of that time in Maryland and the District of Columbia. As the principle attorney in a one-man operation, he only takes on appeals cases he feels he can win. It would be a disservice to the client otherwise. When searching for an attorney to handle your appeals case, it isn’t enough that he or she has experience defending against original charges. The person you entrust with your appeal must have significant and direct experience with the appeals process as Mr. Fellner does.

File the Appropriate Paperwork to Initiate Your Appeal

After losing your criminal case and obtaining an appellate lawyer, the next step is to file Form DC/CV 37 with the appropriate district court. The form also goes by the names Notice of Appeal and Civil Appeal/Request for Transcript. You will need to pay a filing fee and a deposit for the case transcription if one is necessary in your case. If you can’t afford to pay the various court filing fees, you may be eligible for a waiver by completing two forms. These are called the Request for Waiver of Prepaid Appellate Costs and the second is Request for Waiver of Prepaid Costs for Assembling the Record for an Appeal.

Some of the most common reasons that people decide to file an appeal include:

  • The prosecution and witnesses didn’t provide enough evidence or reliable evidence.
  • The prosecution made one or more legal errors that would require a judge to overturn your original ruling.
  • You have proof of jury misconduct.
  • The judge from your original trial made an incorrect ruling that requires another judge to overrule it.
  • The lawyer at your first trial didn’t object to weak evidence or made other errors that contributed to your conviction.

Review the Record of Appeal with Your Attorney

After receiving your notice of the intent to appeal, a trial court clerk will start preparing a Record of Appeal. This document contains transcripts from both the court clerk and reporter. The clerk’s record includes every document your original lawyer filed in your case while the reporter’s record includes words spoken by the judge, lawyers for both sides, and the witnesses. Because these documents can exceed 1,000 pages, it will take considerable time for your appeals attorney to review it and prepare a legal brief for the new trial.

Your Attorney Will Present Your Opening Brief

Your appeals lawyer will provide a summary of your case along with justification for appealing the initial ruling during the opening session of your new trial.

After your attorney’s opening argument, you will need to wait to receive a response from the state attorney general. This is called the Respondent’s Brief. Your lawyer’s answer to it is called the Reply Brief.

Oral Argument in Front of the Court of Appeals

The next step is for the Court of Appeals to notify both the state attorney general and your appeals lawyer that it will hear oral arguments. You may appear with your lawyer to hear the arguments and the outcome of the case. By this point, your attorney should have spent hundreds of hours preparing to make a strong oral argument. If you receive an appeal of your conviction, the trial court will receive notification to grant you a new trial.

Don’t Take a Chance with an Inexperienced Defense Attorney

You have received a criminal conviction and are facing jail time or other serious consequences. It’s in your own best interest to contact Jonathan Fellner, Attorney at Law, at 301-309-2000 as soon as possible to request a free review of your case.

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