An Appeals Process

An appeal is the process in which a appellant is looking for a review and possibly a reversal of a lower court’s decision. An appeal can be filed by either side of the case and if granted, the appellate court is the next step. There are some cases that automatically get an appeal. Those cases would be a death penalty case or life in prison. There are three types of appeals. The direct appeal, also known as an appeal of right, happens when the penalty for the errors made at trial were so big that the appellate court is mandated to review the case.

The discretionary appeal is filed when there is a legal ground to show that specific errors were made in a case where the laws were not applied to the case properly. Interlocutory appeals are filed when a judge’s decision hinders the progress of a case being tried and to wait until the end of the trial would hurt the case if allowed to go until the end. The appeals timeline is very important. If an appeal is not filed in a timely manner, the courts may deny the appeal altogether. There are several steps to the appeals process.

The first step in an appeal is to file a formal notice of appeal with the court. At this point, the appellant is able to request the trial transcripts. Attorneys from both sides file a brief which outlines the facts, arguments, and case law that relate to the mistakes made in the first trial. A panel of three judges, sometimes more, will review the briefs. At this stage, there are no witnesses and only the attorneys speak with the judges and answer any questions they may have while reviewing the briefs.

The panel of judges then issues a written decision along with the reasons for their decision. Legal uniformity is kept when the Appellate court supports the lower court’s decision, however when certain errors occur, further action may become necessary. Harmless errors have no impact on the case but reversible errors call for new legal actions to help repair the situation. There are three ways that the courts can rule when they find that a reversible error has been made. The first is to reverse the decision of the lower courts and set aside the conviction with no further legal actions.

The second is to reverse the decision of the lower court and have the case remanded back to the trial courts to have a new trial to correct the errors made in the first trial. The third action that could be made is that the case be remanded back to the trial court without any reversal of the previous verdict, with the instructions that the court has to remedy those errors (University of Phoenix, 2011). The appeals process could stand some improvement in the number of cases that get called before the Appellate court.

If there were a review process where the merits could be heard without going to court, this would save time and money. If the review does not satisfy the appeal, then take it to court. The other issue is that if someone is acquitted and then evidence is found to prove them guilty, does this serve the people to have a person found guilty, then acquitted, then have new evidence to prove him guilty again? There needs to be a way to catch these offenders. If a guilty verdict is handed down, then an acquittal, could the courts put a time frame for new evidence.

Many criminals go free because their attorneys know how to manipulate the system. In the case of HUD v. Rucker et al. , 2002, Herman Walker, who was 77, disabled, and living in public housing, faced eviction because the lady he hired to help him was caught with drug paraphernalia. There is a no tolerance to drugs in public housing, therefore, he was served with eviction papers. This case was appealed because the law seamed irrational and that Mr. Walker had no knowledge of the drug usage from his employee. This decision was upheld by the U. S.

Supreme Court on March 26, 2002 based on the assumption that the tenants should be in control of their friends, family members, and visitors. (Grant, 2003) This ruling is unreasonable. There is no way to know every action of every person in your life, no matter how well you know them. Should the tenant have permission slips or disclaimers by the door to give to everyone in your life that dictates that they are not allowed in your home if they even smell a joint? Would that even cover the tenant if something happens? If the tenant can pass a drug test and can prove that you are not consuming of any kind, then this should be enough.

Mothers don’t know everything about their children or even their spouse any more. How are people supposed to keep up with every facet of everyone’s life as well as their own? It is just not feasible. If there is something suspected, then there should be some intervention, but to be penalized for not policing your friends and family is absurd. The appeals process is a good way to get errors from a trial fixed without having a new trial. When going to through the appeals process you are under certain guidelines that are there to protect the rights of both the appellant and the appellee.

There are aspects of the appeals process that could work more efficiently to save time and money such as having a discretionary review board before assembling the panel of judges. Though some cases do not make perfect sense, the decision stands. References Grant, J. F. (2003). Box 15. 2 You May Be Your Brother’s Keeper, After All. In The Courts in Our Criminal Justice System (p. 468). Prentice-Hall. University of Phoenix. (2011). The Appeals Process. Retrieved September 21, 2012, from CJi Interactive: http://media. pearsoncmg. com/pcp/pcp_94869_mutchnick_cj_uop/learning_modules/chapter10/10. 5theappealsprocess/index. html.