Our Experienced Team — On Your Side
The Criminal Defense Team is a team of experienced criminal defense lawyers. Our attorneys usually practice at the trial level, in court in front of juries. However, when our clients lose trials, cases, or legal issues, that is not always the end of the matter. Upon being convicted of a crime at trial, people in this state have an absolute right to appeal their conviction to the Indiana Court of Appeals. Under certain circumstances, sentences (even if you plead guilty) are appealable.
Sometimes issues come up in cases that should be appealed before the case goes to trial. Not only can we help advise and guide you through these decisions, but we are also experienced and capable, through team effort, to give you the best chance on your appeal. Lawyers from our firm have argued before the Indiana Court of Appeals and the Indiana Supreme Court.
In a recent case, a total team effort resulted in our client winning his case and making new law in Indiana with a successful appeal and argument to the Indiana Supreme Court. A petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court challenged that decision. Teaming with a law firm in Washington, D.C., we convinced the U.S. Supreme Court not to hear the case. The result was the Indiana Supreme Court decision stands, and a serious felony charge against our client had to be dismissed. Team effort made this fantastic result possible. Let us use our expertise to help you with your appeal.
Call (317) 687-8326 Now to Speak to an Attorney
Our team of lawyers is uniquely qualified to protect your freedom and interests. We believe in taking swift, aggressive action to out-maneuver the prosecution and build a strong defense. We’ve done it for thousands of clients, and we can do it for you.
We defend clients in Hamilton County, Marion County, Johnson County, Hancock County, Shelby County, Boone County, Hendricks County, and counties throughout Indiana. We can help you as well.
Why You Should Hire The Criminal Defense Team
The Criminal Defense Team has over 120 years of collective experience assisting our clients with their criminal cases. We can not only defend them against misdemeanor and felony charges but also appeal their convictions. Just because you were convicted of a crime does not mean you have to accept your fate. This could be the beginning of the legal road for you.
The goal of an appeal is to convince the appellate court that your sentencing or conviction wasn’t fair. The court’s job is to review the legal process used during your trial to determine if there was an error that resulted in your case’s unfair outcome. We can handle a variety of functions throughout the appeals process, including:
- Meeting strict deadlines
- Gathering a complete Record On Appeal and reviewing it for errors anyone made
- Communicating, in writing, reasons the appellate court should reverse the trial court’s decision
- Providing written briefs and oral arguments to persuade the court that there was an error requiring action
Even if The Criminal Defense Team didn’t represent you in your criminal case, we could represent you in your appeals case. In fact, it might be beneficial because we could provide a fresh perspective and might notice details that your defense attorneys didn’t see. You have a right to a fair trial, and it is our job to protect your rights.
We don’t believe any client should face a sentence they don’t deserve. When you’re convicted of a crime you didn’t commit or receive a penalty that doesn’t match the crime, it could destroy your future and hurt your loved ones. At The Criminal Defense Team, we will go to battle for you and exhaust every resource and option to get the decision reversed.
Possible Reasons to Appeal Your Conviction or Sentence
Many people don’t understand their rights during a criminal case. Many more don’t realize they can file an appeal if they believe they were wrongly convicted or their sentencing isn’t fair. The Criminal Defense Team can advocate for your rights, so you don’t have to face the unnecessary consequences of someone else’s mistakes.
When you file an appeal, you can ask the court for:
- A new trial
- Reversal of the conviction or judgment
- New judgment for a lesser offense
- Different sentencing
- A review of the amount of prison time
Various issues that happened during your case could justify appealing a conviction. Examples include:
- The trial court made a mistake when admitting or refusing to admit evidence
- Jury or prosecutorial misconduct existed
- You were not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt
- There wasn’t sufficient evidence for your conviction
- The trial court provided incorrect jury instruction or refused to give a jury instruction
Examples of reasons to appeal your sentence could include:
- The judge didn’t consider mitigating factors
- The sentence doesn’t follow Indiana statutes for criminal sentencing
- The judge abused their discretion when determining the type or length of the sentence
- The sentence doesn’t meet the terms of a plea bargain
- The judge used incorrect aggravating factors
The Criminal Defense Team can review your original criminal case to determine if grounds exist for an appeal. We can determine the available legal options and whether filing an appeal makes sense in your situation.
Making the Decision to File An Appeal
The first step in the appeals process is to decide that you want to pursue an appeal. An attorney can help you make this decision, and if you have The Criminal Defense Team by your side, you have a better chance of winning your appeal than you would if you hired an inexperienced lawyer.
When you appeal your sentence or conviction, you’re challenging the verdict the jury entered or the decisions made by the trial court. Instead of presenting evidence as you would during a criminal case, the appellate court reviews details of the case to determine if any errors occurred that affected the outcome of your case.
Examples of arguments we might use to appeal your conviction or sentence are:
- The evidence doesn’t support the judgment or verdict
- The trial court made an error in applying the law
- The lower court abused its discretion when ruling on a motion
- The defendant’s trial lawyer performed below the reasonable standard
After a criminal conviction, there are two types of appeals available. First, you may have an automatic right to file an appeal depending on the justification for filing. Your second option is known as a discretionary appeal. The court must permit you to file this type of appeal.
Discretionary appeals could result from these scenarios:
- The defendant already appealed to the Court of Appeals and wants to appeal the decision to the Indiana Supreme Court.
- The appellate court believes it’s necessary to allow the appeal to move forward.
While most appeals go to the Court of Appeals, some end up in the Indiana Supreme Court. For example, cases involving capital punishment or a life prison sentence can go directly to the Supreme Court.
Appellate Procedure In Indiana
The process for appealing a conviction or sentence typically begins after sentencing. The Criminal Defense Team would start the process by filing a notice of appeal with the Court of Appeals, Clerk of the Indiana Supreme Court, and Tax Court. There is a 30-day deadline from the date of the conviction or sentence to file the appeal. This notice should include a request to the trial court clerk and court reporter.
The trial court clerk is responsible for gathering court records associated with the case. The court reporter should prepare transcripts of all evidentiary hearings. It’s also the clerk’s job to maintain the records and transcript and provide them to the appellate court upon request.
We can review the records and transcripts to find a valid argument for appealing your sentence or conviction. We would have to prepare an opening brief that lists the reason or reasons that the trial court’s decision or jury verdict didn’t follow the law. We would only have 30 days from the date the court clerk and reporter completed the records and transcript to file this brief with the appellate court and send a copy to the state’s attorney.
After receiving our opening brief, the Indiana Attorney General, representing the State in criminal appeals cases, would have 30 days to respond. They would file their response brief and provide us with a copy to review. We would then have 15 days to respond to the arguments outlined in the state’s response by filing our reply brief with the appellate court.
Appeals don’t always involve hearings. It’s possible to file a request with the court for an oral argument. The court might even set a hearing at its discretion. If the court schedules an oral argument, a panel of appellate judges could question the attorneys on both sides.
The Court of Appeals must review all briefs after both sides have filed them, the clerk’s records, and the transcript. During that time, judges will deliberate and might request additional information they’ll use to reach a decision.
Once the court concludes its review, it will issue an opinion or memorandum decision. If we disagree with their decision, we could request a rehearing. We would have to do so, in writing, within 30 days from the date of the court’s decision.
Common Errors Found By the Appellate Court
Criminal cases are complex. Even the most experienced prosecutor, judge, or another associated party could make an error that negatively impacts the outcome of someone’s case. Sometimes, the appellate court will discover a harmless error that doesn’t justify an appeal because it didn’t affect the conviction or sentencing. However, if the error potentially affected your rights, you might be entitled to file an appeal.
The appellate court will follow specific review standards while determining if an error entitles someone to an appeal. They include:
- Abuse of discretion – The appellate court would reverse the trial court’s decision if it went against the logic and circumstances of the case.
- Great deference – Reversing or disagreeing with the trial court’s judgment of witnesses’ credibility isn’t necessary unless that decision didn’t make sense.
- Clearly erroneous – The conviction or sentence does not match the facts presented during the trial.
- De novo – The appellate court can review facts and circumstances to come to its own conclusions without knowing the trial court’s decision if people on a case agreed to facts but not the associated laws.
Understanding these standards and how to support or argue them can be advantageous to your case. We have a thorough knowledge of the standards that apply to possible issues that can arise during a criminal trial.
Contact A Dedicated Attorney from The Criminal Defense Team
You shouldn’t pursue this type of case without representation from someone with experience handling appeals. At The Criminal Defense Team, we know how to effectively appeal the court’s decision to get our client’s sentence or conviction reversed. We will work tirelessly as a team to determine the right strategy to help you reach a favorable outcome in your case.
If you want to appeal your conviction or sentence, call us immediately at (317) 687-8326 for a consultation. We will fight vigorously for you and your future.