The Truth About Appeals & Post Conviction Matters

If you have been convicted of a crime and wish to appeal, it is imperative that you act swiftly. The law imposes deadlines many of which are jurisdictional and cannot be waived or extended. Opportunities to undo what has occurred rapidly evaporate and then the only thing left to do is time.

Motion for New Trial

The appellate process begins with the Motion for New Trial. This is the accused’s last chance in the direct appellate process to bring to light concerns not evident from the cold transcript of the trial. Problems with trial counsel’s advice or performance, exculpatory evidence withheld by the state, newly discovered evidence, jury misconduct, and other issues must be raised in a motion for new trial or they will not be addressed in the direct appeal. The motion for new trial must be filed within thirty (30) days after the date sentence is imposed. It must be presented to the court within ten (10) days of its filing. If a hearing is to be held, it must be completed within seventy five (75) days of the date sentence was imposed. These deadlines are strictly enforced. Once you or a loved one has been convicted time is of the essence. Do not delay. Call us to determine whether a motion for new trial is appropriate for your case.

Direct Appeal

The direct appeal begins with the filing of a notice of appeal. This notice must be filed with thirty (30) days from the date sentence is imposed. The transcript of the trial is then due thirty days after notice is given. This time may be extended if a request is made. It is the responsibility of the appellant (person appealing) to pay the court reporter to transcribe the record of the trial from her machine language into a record that can be read. Once the record is prepared, the appellate lawyer then reviews the record, making note of potential grounds for reversal of the conviction. The appellate lawyer then researches the issues raised, selects those most likely to result in a reversal of the conviction, and prepares the appellate brief. The appellee (state) then has thirty days to file its brief responding to the issues raised by the appellant. Once the Court of Appeals has both briefs in hand , it reviews them and decides whether it wishes to hear oral arguments from the lawyers. If it does, it schedules a hearing where the lawyers are permitted to argue directly to the judges that will be making the decision. If the Court feels oral argument is not necessary, it will decide the case based upon the briefing alone.

The art of appellate advocacy requires evaluating all of the issues, selecting the most promising ones, and presenting those issues in the most compelling light possible. Norman Silverman has won numerous reversals on appeal. He has handled hundreds of appeals. He has even been cited as an authority be the Court of Appeals, See, Erskine v. State, 191 S.W.3d 374 (Tex. App. Waco 2006). If you have been convicted, call Norm Silverman immediately.

Petition for Discretionary Review

If the direct appeal is lost, the next step in the battle is the petition for discretionary review. This is an appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeals. This is the State Supreme Court for criminal cases. An appeal to this court is discretionary. That means the Court does not have to hear your case. Generally, the Court of Criminal Appeals selects cases for review based upon their apparent importance to the jurisprudence of the state. That means that when your lawyer is preparing your direct appeal his choice of issues and framing of those issues is critical to your ability to continue the fight if necessary. Norman Silverman has argued several times before the Court of Criminal Appeals and knows how to structure your arguments to enhance your chance for success on PDR.

Habeas Corpus

An application for writ of habeas corpus is civil challenge to the legality of a person’s confinement. It is the next step once the remedies available on direct appeal have been exhausted. Writs of habeas corpus can be filed in state court and in federal court. Habeas litigation is a mine field of traps for the unwary litigant or lawyer. It takes a lawyer well versed in criminal law and in the law unique to habeas corpus litigation. The application for a writ of habeas corpus is oftentimes the last hope for the person convicted. Do not gamble your last chance on a lawyer without a proven appellate track record. Norman Silverman has litigated writs of habeas corpus in both state and federal court. Call him immediately as strict jurisdictional time limits are in place that can permanently prevent habeas review. Call today.