Aaron Spolin

Appeals lawyer Aaron Spolin and his legal team at Spolin Law P.C. have proven steps that help them win cases.v Call for your case consultation: (310) 424-5816.

You may appeal any type of criminal conviction, including an infraction, misdemeanor, or felony. Here are the steps you will need to take to appeal the outcome of your case:


Step 1: File a Notice of Appeal

The first step is to file a Notice of Appeal with the trial court, which is typically at the courthouse where you were sentenced. The specific location where you file the notice may be different, depending on which county you appeal in. Do not submit your Notice of Appeal to the Appellate Court.

You typically have 30 days after a misdemeanor judgment and 60 days after a felony judgment to file your Notice of Appeal. If you fail to meet the deadline for the Notice of Appeal in your case, then you may lose your right to appeal. However, there are limited situations when the court may allow a late notice, including when the trial attorney failed to perform duties related to an appeal and under the principle of constructive filing. Constructive filing may occur if an incarcerated individual asks the prison to mail the Notice of Appeal and the Superior Court receives it late or if the wrong Superior Court is notified within the correct amount of time, but the notice has to be refiled in the proper court and the deadline has run out.

  1. Step 1: File a Notice of Appeal
  2. Step 2: Obtain the Record on Appeal
  3. Step 3: Submit Briefs
  4. Step 4: Present Oral Arguments
  5. Step 5: Receive the Court’s Decision
  6. Step 6: Seek Further Review

Step 2: Obtain the Record on Appeal

The record is made up of a clerk’s transcript and a reporter’s transcript. In some cases, where there was no reporter present, the reporter’s transcript will not be immediately available. These two items will form the basis for factual information in your appeals case. Appeals courts do not consider new evidence, so it’s important to make sure the transcripts are accurate and contain all information that was presented at trial.

The clerk’s transcript is made up of legal documents that were filed with the trial court. It includes a list of offenses you were charged with, jury instructions, written arguments, a transcript of the preliminary hearing, written sentencing information, and more.

The reporter’s transcript is a word-for-word record of what happened at your trial. It includes everything said by your attorney, the prosecutor, witnesses, and the judge.

The court clerk will order the reporter’s transcript for you. When you file a Notice of Appeal with the California Superior Court, the court clerk will request that the transcript be prepared for the parties and the Appeals Court.

There is always a court reporter in felony trials in California. However, there is not always a reporter in misdemeanor and infraction cases. If no reporter was present, you may have to work with the state to develop a settled statement or stipulated statement of what happened at the trial.

Your California appeals attorney will review the transcripts to make sure nothing is left out. If there are any errors, you must notify the clerk of the Court of Appeal as well as the clerk of the Superior Court so that the record can be corrected.

  1. Step 1: File a Notice of Appeal
  2. Step 2: Obtain the Record on Appeal
  3. Step 3: Submit Briefs
  4. Step 4: Present Oral Arguments
  5. Step 5: Receive the Court’s Decision
  6. Step 6: Seek Further Review

Step 3: Submit Briefs

Once the record is complete, your appeals lawyer will review it to determine what arguments can be made to get your case dismissed, have your conviction be reversed, obtain a new trial, or reduce or modify your sentence.

Appellant’s Opening Brief

Your attorney will prepare the Appellant’s Opening Brief. The Appellant’s Opening Brief will summarize what happened in the case with factual statements. Your attorney will have to include damaging evidence and testimony in their brief as well as that which benefits your case. The goal is to address every part of the record.

Then, your attorney will bring up issues, or problems, from the trial. They will make arguments about why the outcome of your trial was not appropriate.

Respondent’s Brief

The Prosecution will respond to the Opening Brief with their own Respondent’s Brief. This document will also summarize the history of the case but will make arguments about why your conviction was proper.

Appellant’s Reply Brief

You will then have an opportunity to respond to the prosecutor through the Appellant’s Reply Brief. This allows your attorney to break down all of the arguments of the prosecutor and address them with information that is beneficial to your case. Your attorney will point out any mistakes in the arguments of the respondent/prosecutor.

  1. Step 1: File a Notice of Appeal
  2. Step 2: Obtain the Record on Appeal
  3. Step 3: Submit Briefs
  4. Step 4: Present Oral Arguments
  5. Step 5: Receive the Court’s Decision
  6. Step 6: Seek Further Review

Step 4: Present Oral Arguments

After the Appellate Court reviews all of the briefs, the parties may be given an opportunity to make oral arguments. Oral arguments do not occur in every case.

Only lawyers speak to the court during oral arguments. Although you will be able to attend, only your attorney will be permitted to make statements. If someone is representing themselves, they may argue their own case. Non-lawyers are not permitted to argue on someone else’s behalf.

The oral arguments will take place in front of a panel of three judges. The arguments are timed, and take place in an organized manner. The Appellant’s lawyer goes first, then the prosecutor, then the Appellant’s lawyer may reply to the prosecutor’s statements.

  1. Step 1: File a Notice of Appeal
  2. Step 2: Obtain the Record on Appeal
  3. Step 3: Submit Briefs
  4. Step 4: Present Oral Arguments
  5. Step 5: Receive the Court’s Decision
  6. Step 6: Seek Further Review

Step 5: Receive the Court’s Decision

The panel of three judges will not make a decision on the day of the oral arguments. Instead, they will discuss the case amongst themselves at a later date. The court will issue a written decision explaining why they made their determination.

When all three judges don’t agree, there may be two different decisions – a majority decision and a dissent.

If the decision (or majority decision) is in your favor, your case will either be dismissed or sent back to the trial court for a new trial or new sentencing hearing. If the decision is not favorable for you, then the court may affirm your conviction without changes.

  1. Step 1: File a Notice of Appeal
  2. Step 2: Obtain the Record on Appeal
  3. Step 3: Submit Briefs
  4. Step 4: Present Oral Arguments
  5. Step 5: Receive the Court’s Decision
  6. Step 6: Seek Further Review

Step 6: Seek Further Review

If the Appellate Court’s decision was not favorable in your felony case, then you have the option of seeking further review.

Rehearing by the Court of Appeal

You can request a rehearing from the Court of Appeal, asking them to reconsider your case. If the Court agrees to a rehearing, your case will be reargued.

Review by the California Supreme Court

If you believe the Court of Appeal’s decision was in error, then you may ask the California Supreme Court to review your case. This request must take place within 10 days of when the Appellate Court’s decision became final, which is typically 30 days after they release their opinion. Thus, you usually have 40 days after the entry of the Court of Appeal’s decision to request a review by the California Supreme Court.

Review by the U.S. Supreme Court

If the California Supreme Court rejects your case or makes an unfavorable decision, you have a right to ask for review by the United States Supreme Court. You have 90 days to file this request – called a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari. The U.S. Supreme Court has discretion to decide which cases it hears. They do not accept a case where the only issue is one of state law. Thus, it’s best to request review by the U.S. Supreme Court if there is an issue of violation of your Constitutional rights or other federal laws are involved.

Work with Top Criminal Appeals Lawyers

The top criminal appeals lawyers at Spolin Law P.C. routinely manage complex appeals cases

The top criminal appeals lawyers at Spolin Law P.C. routinely manage complex appeals cases. Call for your case consultation: (310) 424-5816.

When you believe that the outcome of your criminal case was not fair, you deserve a second chance. But there are tight deadlines for when appeals must be made. It’s important that you call a California criminal appeals lawyer as quickly as possible.

Spolin Law P.C. has award-winning criminal appeals lawyers with a record of successful outcomes. We win cases because:

  • We know the appeals process. The appeals process can be complex, but we have practiced in Appellate Courts for years. We know Appellate procedure and can provide legal documents that are persuasive to the Court.
  • We review the record carefully. The record on appeal is all that we have to use to support your case. It’s important that we know it thoroughly and bring to light any mistakes that were made at the trial court level.
  • We know how to win. The Appellate Court will make a decision based on the facts and arguments presented. We know how to address issues that were made at the trial court level and argue for your case to be dismissed or your sentence modified. We use undeniable facts to support our strong arguments.

Spolin Law P.C. has a legal team that is ready to act for you. We respect our clients and believe that they deserve a fair chance in the justice system. Too often people who are accused of crimes are treated poorly and their rights are not respected. When you call us, we will review every aspect of your case to determine what happened.

Call us today at (310) 424-5816 for an initial consultation that will answer your questions.