Do You Need to Appeal a Court Ruling?
Since 1995 criminal defense trial attorney Paul Looney has litigated
60 criminal jury trials with Zero Final Convictions
Looney, Smith & Conrad
Civil and Criminal Appeals Lawyers
The attorneys at Looney, Smith & Conrad, P.C. maintain an active appellate practice in state and federal courts throughout the United States, assisting clients in civil and criminal appeals to reverse errors made at trial.
Litigation is an adversarial process, and when a case goes to judgment it usually means one side wins and the other loses. In most instances, the losing party will have the right to appeal the decision to a higher court. Contact an Appeal Attorney at 281-597-8818 for assistance.
The appellant must follow specific procedures in order to have a case addressed at the appellate level. This includes filing a notice of appeal within the applicable time frame, which may be as little as 15 days, and stating proper grounds for the appeal. The “Appellate Record,” a collection of all the transcripts, filings, physical evidence and docket notations in the case, must be prepared by the court reporters and clerks, and the case fully investigated and briefed before the appropriate Appellate court. Each State and Federal appellate court will have its own local rules to comply with, as well as unique and sometimes obscure case law.
Appeals in civil courts generally must be grounded on a failure by the trial judge to properly apply the law. Examples include:
- Making an incorrect ruling on a motion or objection, which allowed improper testimony to be heard or improper evidence to be admitted,
- Giving faulty instructions to the jury,
- An abuse or discretion, or acting arbitrarily, or capriciously in the matter.
Whether a case will be overturned on appeal depends on the nature of the error. It is not enough to show that an error was made. The appellant must also show that the error constituted reversible error, as opposed to harmless error, which means that the error had an effect on the outcome of the case at trial.
The grounds for appeal in a criminal case are somewhat broader than in a civil case. A criminal appellate attorney can help with the process. There are more routes to get a case back into court in the criminal justice system. In addition to a direct appeal, there are different types of collateral appeals and post-conviction relief, such as writs of habeas corpus, through which a defendant may be able to get the case back before a judge for review.
Grounds for a criminal appeal may center on:
- Inadmissibility of evidence illegally obtained such as from a warrantless search or warrantless arrest which violated the defendant’s constitutional rights
- Judicial error at trial, including errors in the jury instructions, errors in jury selection, or comments on the weight of the evidence
- Police or prosecutorial misconduct at any stage of the proceeding
- Failure to grant a speedy trial or competent counsel (the accused in a criminal trial has many rights guaranteed by the constitution; failure to grant these rights may be grounds for appeal)
EXPERIENCED AT TRIAL — EXPERIENCED ON APPEAL
As attorneys, we know how to review a trial transcript for errors, prepare a compelling brief, and conduct persuasive oral arguments seeking a reversal, new trial, or other relief. For assistance with a civil or criminal appeal, contact Looney, Smith & Conrad, P.C. at 281-597-8818 or 979-826-8484. Our civil law attorneys and criminal law attorneys are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.