Appeals and Writs

A criminal conviction is not necessarily the end of a criminal case. A successful appeal can result in a new trial, a reduced sentence, or a dismissal of the case. The ability of your criminal appeals attorney to overturn your conviction will be based on a number of factors, including:

  1. the type and number of errors that occurred at trial,
  2. whether the errors had an impact on the case outcome, and
  3. your attorney’s ability to successfully argue these issues to an appellate court.

Attorney Aaron Spolin, a former prosecutor and award-winning attorney, has fought against wrongful convictions for over a decade. He is the author of the Princeton thesis Reforms for the Process of Eyewitness Identifications in Criminal Trials, which discusses the leading cause of wrongful convictions in the United States. Aaron is also a former member of California Law Review. While the criminal justice system assumes that a convicted individual is “guilty until proven innocent,” at Spolin Law we approach each case with the assumption that a conviction resulted from an error, and our task is to find and expose this legal error on appeal.

We provide 100% free consultations. Contact us to learn more. (310) 424-5816.

Most Common Appeals We Handle

(For Expungement of a criminal record, see Expungement page.)

Spolin Law handles all manner of criminal and civil rights appeals. The most common types we handle involve post-conviction appeals. After a criminal defendant has been convicted of a crime—either a jury verdict, a judge verdict, or a guilty plea—the defendant may appeal the verdict to a higher court. If an appeal is denied by the higher court, in certain cases we will continue the appeal process up to the California Supreme Court and, in the federal system, to the United States Supreme Court.

You Have a Limited Time to Appeal

There are fast-approaching deadlines for all types of appeals, from state criminal appeals to federal writs of habeas corpus. If you believe you are eligible to file an appeal, you should contact an appeals attorney immediately to determine the deadline for your case.

The Process of an Appeal

An appeal involves a written application to a higher court challenging the decision of the lower court. For example, if you were convicted of a crime as a result of a trial, you might appeal this decision to the state appellate court. The appeals process requires your appellate attorney to review the written record of the trial (i.e., the transcript), find legal issues that may form the basis for an appeal, write a document requesting an appeal (called an appellate brief), file that document with the appellate court, and then argue the appeal during the oral argument date. If the appellate court denies the appeal, you and your attorney can discuss whether it will be appropriate to file a second appeal with a higher court.

A successful appeal can have a number of results, including a new trial, a reduced sentence, a dropped charge, or a dismissal of the case.

What Makes an Appeal Successful?

The likelihood of success on appeals depends almost entirely on the trial record (or the pleading record in the case of a guilty plea). New evidence is rarely allowed. An appellate lawyer will review the trial record to find errors that affected the proceeding and violated the client’s rights. For example, if a judge prevented a criminal defendant from testifying at his own trial, this will almost certainly result in a successful appeal and an appellate order of a new trial.

Common bases for successful appeals include (1) ineffective assistance of counsel (i.e., the lawyer did an unusually bad job), (2) improper jury instructions, (3) improper admission or exclusion of evidence at trial, and (4) sentencing error by the judge.

A Skilled Appeals Lawyer Can Make the Difference

Once you are appealing your case, the facts are set. The only variable will be the quality of the attorney your hire. A more experienced and committed attorney will be better able to thoroughly read the record, find potential legal issues that will allow an appeal, and file a persuasive appeal highlighting those issues. A high-quality appellate brief will have a greater likelihood of resulting in a new trial, reduced sentence, or dismissal of the case.

Spolin Law’s record handling appeals is based on its meticulous approach, which includes a thorough review of the trial record, several days or weeks of legal research into appropriate legal issues to raise on appeal, the construction of a persuasive appellate brief articulating these issues, and oral argument in the appellate court. As noted above, Spolin Law’s founder, attorney Aaron Spolin, is a former prosecutor, a former member of California Law Review, and the author of Reforms for the Process of Eyewitness Identifications in Criminal Trials, which discusses how frequently innocent defendants are wrongfully convicted.

Spolin Law provides free consultations. Contact us to learn more about how we can help if you or a loved one has already been convicted of a crime. (310) 424-5816.

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