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Criminal Appeals Attorneys

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Media, and Prior Success

Fight Your Criminal Appeal with Former Prosecutors and Award-Winning Criminal Appeals Attorneys


10 Best

Lead attorney Aaron Spolin is listed as one of the “10 Best Criminal Law Attorneys” in California by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys.


National Trial Lawyers Top 100

Spolin Law P.C. is nationally ranked by Attorney & Practice Magazine, and Mr. Spolin is nationally ranked among the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” by The National Trial Lawyers.


California Bar Association

The attorneys at Spolin Law P.C. have been on the winning side of hundreds of criminal cases, including recent success in the California Supreme Court.

Cases We Handle

Spolin Law P.C. and our Los Angeles criminal appeal lawyers are here to set things right through:

“He is a brilliant courtroom tactician. I’ve seen Aaron Spolin in court on multiple occasions, and he is truly a master. Nothing gets past him, and he is a powerful advocate for his clients. He is probably one of the strongest examples of how a great lawyer can truly ‘speak truth to power’ in a courtroom.”

Tomer Konowiecki, L.A. Attorney

A Record of Successful Outcomes

As a criminal law attorney, Aaron Spolin has achieved favorable outcomes in hundreds of criminal cases.

He is also a former prosecutor with extensive experience in a wide array of both misdemeanors and felonies, from petty theft to murder. He was previously a member of California Law Review and the recipient of the American College of Trial Lawyers’ Medal for Excellence in Oral Advocacy.

Attorney Spolin is passionate about upholding the rights of the accused, having authored 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. He approaches every case he takes with the same enthusiasm and compassion, making him a great ally in California’s harsh criminal justice system.

  • Former Assistant District Attorney
  • Princeton University, B.A., U.C. Berkeley School of Law, J.D.
  • Successful outcomes of hundreds of cases

Learn more about Spolin law P.C.

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The Criminal Appeal Process

Sometimes the system gets it wrong. Whether the law was misapplied or biases clouded the court’s judgement, we believe in your right to challenge incorrect decisions through the appeal process, aimed at overturning wrongful convictions, reversing unlawful incarcerations, and clearing your record.

  • Stage 1: Notice of Appeal

    This is the initial document that voices your desire to file an appeal. This document will need to be completed by the appellant or a legal representative. The guidelines and deadlines for filing a notice of appeal vary by jurisdiction and can be very strict. If you are appealing a California Superior Court decision, you must file a Notice of Appeal within 30 to 60 days following the court’s judgement. Failure to comply may jeopardize your case.

  • Stage 2: Transcript Preparation

    After the Notice of Appeal is filed, the California Superior Court will prepare official transcripts that document all the evidence and testimony presented during your trial. You and your appeal lawyer will review these materials to evaluate if the original case progressed appropriately, and if the decisions were legally sound or based on some defect. It is critical to work with an experienced appeal lawyer, who knows what to look for and how court procedure should have been applied.

  • Stage 3: Opening & Respondent’s Briefs

    This is where you present a formal argument as to why you are entitled to an appeal. This will likely include an analysis of the lower court’s ruling, where a fault occurred, and the legal justification that supports your case. The prosecution or respondent in a criminal appeal will also be given the chance to respond. This could involve refuting that an error occurred, or asserting that if a mistake did happen, it did not influence the original decision.

  • Stage 4: Replying to the Brief

    Unlike your initial court case, the burden of proof in an appeal shifts to the defendant. However, you and your appeal lawyer will be given another opportunity to rebut the prosecutor’s reply. While you cannot present new evidence, you can point out inaccuracies in what was brought up in defense of the lower court’s decision. This is a hyper technical process, best handled by a skilled and articulate lawyer.

  • Stage 5: Oral Arguments & Petition for Rehearing

    While appellate briefs are written and presented on your behalf, appeals may also involve oral arguments. These proceedings should highlight the facts of the case, explain the significance of the issues, and provide clarity if questions arise. At this point, it is essential to work with a lawyer who has an extensive background making appellant arguments. Additionally, if the higher court makes an unfavorable determination, you have the option to file a Petition for Rehearing, but this not something an everyday trail attorney will have a lot of experience with, and it must be done quickly.

  • Stage 6: Petition for Review

    Aside from pursuing a rehearing, when a decision is made by the Court of Appeal’s, you still have the option to appeal to the Supreme Court. A Petition for Review is the first step in the process, and it is basically a request for the Supreme Court to select your case for consideration. If your petition is granted, the next step will be a separate “Brief on the Merits” in which you explain how and why the Court of Appeal’s disposition was incorrect or should be upheld.

How a Writ of Habeas Corpus Works

While a direct appeal challenges a court decision, a writ is a petition to enforce fundamental and statutory rights. The most common writ in criminal and immigration cases is a writ of habeas corpus, which determines if an imprisonment or detention is lawful. A writ of habeas corpus is meant to cut through the many barriers that may keep a person unjustly imprisoned or detained; however, it has limitations and complexities, best addressed by an experienced appeals lawyer.

Types of WritsOther Types of Writs
Writs are powerful legal remedies and can force courts and public officials to act in various ways, including facilitating an immediate release from custody, ordering new trials and court proceedings, or to correct fundamental errors not properly recorded.

Common Writs are:

  • Writs of Habeas Corpus
  • Writ of Mandamus
  • Writ of Prohibition
  • Writ of Certiorari
  • Writ of Quo Warrant
  • Writ of Error Coram Nobis
Writ DeadlinesImportant Writ Deadlines
Time limits for filing writs depend on whether the writ is considered statutory or a matter of common law.

Statutory writs have short deadlines and challenge rulings in accordance with specific statues. Examples include writs to disqualify a judge or prosecutor, regarding summary judgments and adjudications, or criminal dismissals. The specific statue typically defines the deadline, and failure to file timely may result in the court denying the petition, and possibly losing the right to have the issue reviewed.

Common law writs are issued when the courts believe that typical remedies have failed. Although no absolute deadline exists, the general rule is to file no later than 60 days after giving notice of the challenged order. If an unreasonable delay occurred, your writ can be dismissed.

The Writ Process

Writs in California usually follow a multi-step process:

Step 1: Initial Writ Petition – This is a request for a court to review an issue. In a habeas corpus petition, an inmate may ask the court to reconsider their sentence.
Step 2: Court Evaluation of the Petition – This is where the court considers the petitioners argument. In a habeas corpus matter, the court will evaluate if the sentence was fair and legally sound.
Step 3: Court’s “Order to Show Cause” – This is a formal request for one or more parties to justify, explain, or prove something to the court as a matter of law.
Step 4: Government’s Opposition & Petitioner’s Traverse – At this stage, both sides will present written replies. First, the government will defend the original decision and the petitioner can counter their claims.
Step 5: Writ Hearing – The court will often hear oral arguments, where the government and petitioner can present evidence and argue the merits of the issues.
Step 6: Judge’s Decision – Depending on the evidence and the legal arguments presented, a judge will make a determination, which may grant relief through an official writ.

Areas Served

Spolin Law P.C. is located in West Los Angeles and serves clients throughout California.


  • San Francisco / Bay Area
  • Sacramento Metro Area
  • Other Areas in Northern California


  • Los Angeles
  • San Diego
  • Orange County
  • Riverside
  • San Bernadino
  • Other Areas in Southern California