North Carolina Court of Appeals
If you have been found guilty in a criminal trial or liable in a civil action, the judge usually imposes a sentence or civil judgment based on the severity of your crime or civil wrong and the laws and penalties associated with that crime or civil wrong. When this happens, you may feel like you are out of options. You may believe that your case was mishandled or the jury wrongly convicted you of a crime you did not commit or held you accountable for a civil wrong you were not responsible for. But a criminal sentence or civil judgment is not the end of the road for many people, according to Raleigh criminal appeal attorneys. The North Carolina Court of Appeals can give convicted felons who are dissatisfied with their sentence, trial or any other aspect of their due process right to present their cases one last time. Created in 1967, the North Carolina Court of Appeals is the only court of its kind in the state. The constitutional amendment that instituted the Appellate Court designates it as “an intermediate court of appeals to relieve pressure on the North Carolina Supreme Court.” The 15 members of the appellate court take turns sitting in groups of three to hear cases. These judges are chosen by statewide elections, and serve for eight years in staggered terms. The Court of Appeals hears all civil appeals, as well as non-capital criminal appeals and direct appeals from administrative groups from the state’s District and Superior Courts. The Process In appellate court, the majority of appeals are decided on the basis of briefs that present arguments for why the appellant should get relief and records created in the trial court. Appeals do not conduct a new trial where witnesses testify and a jury makes another decision. Therefore, many criminal appeal attorneys in Raleigh place heavy emphasis on constructing a compelling brief. In order to prepare for an appeal, appellate lawyers need to reconstruct the evidence from the record and present their client’s arguments for relief in a written brief. Sometimes the Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments from a defendant’s lawyer. In North Carolina, these oral arguments are typically addressed in the Court of Appeals courthouse in Raleigh, although sometimes the court will hold them in a law school or some other appropriate venue. After the oral argument hearing, the panel of 3 judges confers in private and votes on how to decide the case. Their decision is later announced and explained in a written opinion that is sent to the lawyers and published on the Court of Appeals’ website. Other Duties The Court of Appeals also hears motions and petitions, including the following: • Writ of supersedeas – seeking a stay of a lower court’s decision • Writ of certiorari – seeking review of a lower court decision when a person’s right to appeal has been lost by failure to take timely action and in certain other special circumstances File Your Appeal Convicted defendants can file for an appeal if they feel that a mistake has been made at any point in their case, or if they feel they have been unjustly convicted or penalized too harshly. At the Law Offices of Cheshire, Parker, Schneider, and Bryan, we represent convicted persons who have been abused by the system and deserve a second chance in the courtroom. If your case has been handled improperly, you believe the prosecutor, defense attorney or judge on your case made a mistake, or your rights have been violated at any time during your arrest, the investigation, booking or your trial, contact one of our criminal appeal attorneys today to discuss your options for appeal.