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How the appeals process works

On Behalf of | May 29, 2020 | Appeals |

In Oregon, the verdict of a trial court is not the final say when a defendant is convicted of a crime. Instead, a defendant has the right to appeal their conviction if they believe that the trial court made an error. They may even have multiple courts that they can turn to in the appeals process.

When a court has handed down a conviction, the defendant is able to appeal to the next highest court. In Oregon, the first level of the appeal goes to the aptly named Court of Appeals. The defendant gets one chance to appeal their conviction to this court. If they are unsuccessful, the next level is the Oregon Supreme Court. Some defendants may appeal all the way up to the United States Supreme Court, but the highest court in the land will actually hear very few cases.

When a defendant decides they want to appeal, there are very strict timelines and procedures to follow. The first thing that the defendant must do is give notice to the court about their intent to appeal before they file the actual brief with the appellate court. The brief will outline the ways in which the defendant believes that the trial court erred. However, it is generally a high standard to persuade the appeals court to strike down their conviction.

Defendants in the criminal justice system may have a difficult time going it alone without a criminal defense attorney. The need for the attorney is even greater if they are filing an appeal because the defendant cannot simply show up in court and disagree with what the trial court ruled. An attorney may help their client by writing the legal brief and then arguing the case in court.