Georgia Appellate Lawyer
Ben is a Georgia Criminal Appeals Lawyer who has handled appeals throughout metro Atlanta and throughout the State of Georgia. The following is general information about the appellate process. For a more detailed discussion regarding the facts of your case, contact Ben directly.
The Stages Of An Appeal
Appeals in Georgia generally take place in two stages: the motion for new trial and the direct appeal. Both stages have strict time limits in that a motion for new trial must be filed within 30 days of a conviction, and a notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days of the denial of the motion for new trial or within 30 days of a conviction if you skip the motion for new trial stage. If you miss this deadline, you could forever lose your ability to appeal your conviction. Thus, it is vital that you have an appellate attorney as soon as a conviction occurs.
The motion for new trial is important because it gives you an opportunity to present additional evidence in support of overturning the conviction. However, most cases reach the second stage, the direct appeal. In Georgia, the majority of criminal convictions are appealed to the Court of Appeals of Georgia. If the conviction is for murder or involves the constitutionality of a statute, the case is appealed to the Supreme Court of Georgia. To learn more about motions for new trial, click here. To learn more about direct appeals, click here.
When Do Convictions Get Overturned?
Not every error at trial will result in a successful appeal. Moreover, the same error in one case that leads to a reversal may not lead to reversal in another case. Generally, convictions are overturned based on the following issues:
- the admission of improper evidence at the trial
- problems in the jury selection process
- an erroneous ruling on a pretrial matter, such as the denial of a motion to suppress
- an erroneous ruling at trial, such as the overruling of an objection
- problems with the jury instructions/charges
- insufficiency of the evidence
- improper argument made by the prosecutor
- improper comments made by the trial judge
- ineffective assistance of trial counsel
- the uncovering of new evidence
- a defective indictment
The list above is not exhaustive. An experienced appellate lawyer knows that they must examine the entire record, as well as the entire case file, to determine what the strongest issues are for your appeal.
Appeals Require A Different Skill Set Than Trials
At trial, a criminal defendant is presumed to be innocent and the government has the burden of proving the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Once convicted, however, the presumption of innocence is gone and now the defendant has the burden of proving that the conviction should be reversed.
For this reason, an appellate lawyer has to convince the appellate court that either the facts, the law, or both, require a reversal of the conviction. In the majority of appeals, this is accomplished through persuasive writing. However, before an argument can be made on paper, an appellate lawyer must do a full investigation of the case, thoroughly research the applicable law and analyze the law as it applies to the facts of the case.
Most lawyers dislike appeals as they require a substantial amount of work and thought. Most criminal defense lawyers dislike appeals because they prefer the adrenaline rush that a jury trial produces. To give you the best shot of success on your appeal, you will need a lawyer who is passionate about the law, eager to help people get justice and experienced in all the procedural and substantive aspects of the appellate process.
Ben is a Georgia Criminal Appeals Attorney that puts his all into each and every one of his cases. Contact Ben today with an email or call him any time at 404-985-9772.