Being convicted of a crime isn’t the end of the story. Many individuals receive unfair trials and inadequate time to plead their case properly. When this happens, making an appeal is a viable option for people committed to getting the justice they deserve.
Adverse Verdicts & Orders
From unfair ruling on a custody case or news of an undeserved sentence for a defendant, there are still practical options for fighting the court’s ruling on certain cases. However, this type of legal fight requires precision, so hiring a qualified appellate lawyer is crucial for success.
The Arizona court of appeals is an intermediate appellate court where most cases are handled. For higher profile trials, the Arizona Supreme Court will handle the proceedings. Preparing to face either of these courts requires intense preparation. Anyone filing an appeal should make sure his or her lawyer is up-to-date on recent changes in appellate law and has prior experience with the Arizona appeals court. Both of these characteristics in a lawyer will help the process go more smoothly.
The Arizona Court of Appeals
Arizona has two divisions of appeal courts, including:
- Division One, Phoenix. This court is comprised of sixteen judges and is responsible for statewide appeals on a more corporate level with matters regarding unemployment issues, tax issues, and other large-scale cases.
- Division Two, Tucson. With only six judges, this appeals court deals with more personal cases, both civil and criminal.
Both divisions follow strict procedures for any appeal case. Three panels of judges hear and decide each case, and they review the collective decisions made for each appeal under their jurisdiction. This process keeps each panel accountable and helps them reach the best conclusion for all appeals.
How an Appellate Lawyer Helps
Sometimes individuals lose their civil rights with certain convictions or receive more than their fair share of years in prison. These punishments are hard to cope with, and many feel confused about how to move forward. Hiring an appellate lawyer is wise for individuals interested in fighting or modifying the terms of their conviction.
Types of Appeals
Rule 32. This refers to Rule 32 of the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure, which lays out the regulations for post-conviction relief. An appellate lawyer helps their client file a Rule 32 petition to the appeals court when appropriate grounds exist. Necessary grounds for filing this type of petition include:
- Unconstitutional conviction or sentence.
- Non-existent jurisdiction for a specific court to order conviction or sentence.
- New materials and evidence found after trial with power to change the verdict.
Although many other factors are involved in a Rule 32 petition, understanding some of the basic grounds for post-conviction relief will help individuals find assistance and move in the right direction for a proper appeal.
Ineffective assistance of counsel. Some appeals achieve success after accusing the Arizona defense attorney of making a serious error during trial. This type of appeal requires careful research, convincing evidence, and a highly trained appellate lawyer.
Withdrawal of guilty plea. When a person can prove a plea was made under duress or without the appropriate knowledge, this type of appeal is very effective.
Whatever type of plea a person decides to file, they must understand the exceedingly technical nature of this kind of legal process. Attempting to go to appeals court independently has potential to do more harm than good, so people interested in gaining justice need to find a reliable Arizona criminal defense lawyer.
The criminal defense lawyer needs a solid understanding of appellate law to properly direct the client in the right direction for their case. Attorney Scott Stewart at the Law Offices of Scott David Stewart is an exceptional lawyer with a thorough knowledge of the appellate law, and is more than qualified to assist individuals looking to file an appeal.