When an offender and it’s representing counsel feels that the judge made a substantial mistake in their case then the defendant through his representing counsel has the option to appeal the decision. Both sides of the case has the opportunity to appeal (in a civil case) if both feel that the decision made by the judge was a mistake or in most cases the loosing side and in criminal cases only the defendant may appeal the verdict (“The Appeals Process”, 2012).
An appeal is a formal request that a higher court re-examine the procedure or decision of a lower court, administrative agency, or other body (“What Is An Appeal? ”, 1995-2012). As I stated previously, the party that lost or feels that the decision made by the presiding judge was unjust usually makes an appeal. Once the petition is submitted to the court, it can take an average of a year from start to finish for the appeal process.
During this time the appellant must gather information to show that the trial court made a legal error that affected the decision in the case. Once the petition reaches the court dockets an appeal hearing is set where a panel of three judges will ask the attorney’s (appellant) involved in the case questions and the appellant will present their legal arguments in writing, then make the decision to either keep the ruling the same or reverse it (“The Appeals Process”, 2012). Factoring into Criminal Process.
Appeals can factor into the overall criminal procedures and process because it can protect all parties involved from any errors that may have been made during trial. During a trial both parties have the opportunity to object to any errors they feel is were made and since those errors did not get corrected that is what leads to appellate court. Providing substantial evidence is key to presenting a case, without the evidence then the case will not reach the appellate court dockets.
Even with all the evidence the judges can still decide to keep the ruling the same and not overturn the case. An example of a case that was appealed in a United States court is the case involving four families that sued their local school district in 2004, stating that their children had been prohibited from handing out pencils to other children at their school with religious sayings on them such as “Jesus is the reason for the season” and candy canes with cards that contained religious content, which has lead this case to be known as the “candy cane case”.
The “candy cane case” ended up in Federal appeals court with two rulings, school children have First Amendment rights and school principles cannot be held responsible for violating them (“‘Candy Cane’ Case Appealed To Us Supreme Court “, 2012). Improve the Appeals Process The appeals process can be approved in many ways more than one and I believe that many attorneys and prosecutors would have many suggestions as to those changes since they are the ones who deal with the appeal process first hand.
Since I am not an attorney the improvements that I will suggest will be based on my readings in our text and what I have read in previous experiences on my own about different cases throughout the years. My main suggestion to improve the appellate process is to decrease the amount of time it takes for the case to get to the appeal hearing once it is approved to go to the court dockets. By doing this, it would mean increasing the amount of judges that preside over the appeals.
A years time (and that is an average amount) is a very long time and it should not take such a long time especially when their was a trial already. I think the appellate should have 30 days to prepare their brief to present to the panel of judges and not just 30 days to decide whether they will appeal or not. Another improvement I would suggest in the appeals process is that each appellant be given the option to argue or present their brief verbally and not just in written form.
I believe that arguing the brief gives the appellant to show emotion to the panel of judges that reading the brief would not show. Although some judges will allow for the appellate to speak or ask questions it is not done in all courts and I believe it would be an affective option to give the appellate in helping to get the decision overturned. Conclusion The appeals process is a process that can be beneficial to all involved. It is a process set forth to provide litigants the opportunity to get justice or get an error they feel the judge made in their case corrected.
Although going through the appeals process can be a long hard road to take, for many the outcome can be very rewarding and for some it can be their last lifeline. The important thing for anyone going through the appeals process is to make sure there is substantial evidence to prove the error (s) made by the judge and never give up. I would suggest to keep going until you reach the Supreme Court if justice cannot be found within the lower courts. ?
References 1. ‘Candy Cane’ Case Appealed to US Supreme Court . (2012). Retrieved from http://www. cbn. com/cbnnews/us/2011/December/Candy-Cane-Case-Appealed-to-US-Supreme-Court-/ 2. What is an Appeal?. (1995-2012). Retrieved from http://law. freeadvice. com/litigation/appeals/appeal_legalese. htm 3. The Appeals Process. (2012). Retrieved from http://www. uscourts. gov/FederalCourts/UnderstandingtheFederalCourts/HowCourtsWork/TheAppealsProcess. aspx.