We pride ourselves on winning cases for our clients, but every so often one doesn’t go our way. When that happens, depending on our client’s wishes, we begin the appeal process. Today, we take a closer look at how the appeal process works in Illinois.
What is an Appeal?
In the court of law, an appeal is the process of asking for a higher court to review certain aspects of the case for legal error. Generally the person appealing is looking for an error in the conviction, but they also can appeal the judge’s sentence.
During the appeal’s process, the defendant (now known as the appellant) attempts to argue that they received an unfair or biased trial based on key legal mistakes that affected the jury or the judge’s decision. The appellant is asking that the old conviction be thrown out.
How Does An Appeal Work?
During the appeals process, the court reviewing the case will only look at the record of the first proceeding in the lower court, and they will not hear any new evidence. The official court reporter’s record has transcripts of all conversations and anything admitted into evidence like documents or objects.
The appeals court examines the record as well as written briefs by both sides. The brief explains what specific part of the record they are asking the higher court to review, and why they think it violated their client’s rights. For example, a brief may suggest that a part of the prosecution’s questioning corrupted the jury’s impartiality even though the judge ordered the testimony to be struck from the record. Consequently, the prosecution will file a brief as to why they believe the conviction should be upheld. The appellant generally gets the opportunity to file a second brief in response to the prosecution’s brief. The higher court may also hear oral arguments from each side prior to rendering a decision. If your appeal is successful, the conviction may be overturned, or you could receive an amended sentence.
If you are considering appealing your case, don’t delay. Most courts require that you notify them of your intent to appeal soon after the conviction. If you want more information about the appeals process, or if you wish to appeal your case, contact Appelman Law today.