May 24, 2019
Things do not always go according to plan, legal matters included. Just because your case reaches an unsettling verdict does not mean it has to be the end of the line. Especially when your case involves matters of family or juvenile law, civil or criminal charges, any mistakes made can have high financial and emotional costs. Something as important to your life as an unfair custody ruling or wrongful criminal conviction deserves a second look. It’s hard to live with injustice — this is what an appeal is for.
RIGHTS TO AN APPEAL
Before you can file an appeal (that is, before you can officially ask the court to reconsider your case) you must wait until a final judgment has been entered in your case before it can be considered by an appellate court. First things first: know that you absolutely have the right to an appeal. However, discerning when and if you have the opportunity to appeal, as well as understanding whether you should appeal a decision or not, requires the counsel of an experienced attorney.
GROUNDS FOR AN APPEAL
In an ideal world, all trials would end in a fair and just manner in accordance with the law. While this is true for most cases, there are occasional instances where the ultimate judgment from the judicial system is wrong. Some compelling grounds for appeal include:
The judge made an error of law and/or misapplied it to your case
An unreasonable verdict
Improper gathering or misuse of evidence
No matter the reason, if you are considering moving forward with an appeal, don’t wait to seek the advice of legal counsel.
WHAT DOES THE APPEALS PROCESS ENTAIL?
If it is in your best interest to appeal, that usually requires persuading the reviewing court that the trial judge was wrong about the law or somehow misapplied it to your case. This can be difficult without extensive legal knowledge, which is why the appeals process is not something you want to navigate alone. It is also crucial for you to act quickly. Failure to file a Notice of Appeal within 20 days of your conviction could cost you to lose that second chance.
It’s important to know going in that an appeal is not a redo as much as it is a further review. If an appeal is filed, the original verdict (or sentence) will not take effect until your appeal is denied, but the case is not re-tried. Instead, it is a request for a higher court to overrule the decision of a lower court upon revisiting the facts of the case and hearing arguments.
You can appeal your case up to three times: in the appellate court, State Supreme Court, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Regardless if it’s your first or third time around, it’s typical for the appeals process to be lengthy. With only nine appellate court judges in Connecticut, you should not worry about having to wait several months before your appeal is heard.
WHO IS INITIATING THE APPEAL?
With most issues, from family law cases to civil and criminal litigation, the appellate court will assume the trial judge was correct in their original determination. It takes a dedicated and qualified appeals lawyer to convince them otherwise. It’s essential that your legal team can craft well-formulated arguments on your behalf to have a chance at success with your appeal. But if it’s your opponent from the original trial who is unhappy with the verdict, and they ask for an appeal, you’ll need a lawyer who knows how to respond efficiently. It’s incumbent that they have the ability to convince the appellate court that the trial judge got things right the first time around.
PROVEN APPEALS ATTORNEY IN WEST HAVEN, CONNECTICUT
Chris DeMatteo is the principal attorney of West Haven-based law firm, DeMatteo Legal Solutions. In his career thus far, he has successfully appealed and defended appeals in criminal, civil, juvenile, and family matters. He will use his extensive experience to help you understand the best possible outcomes in a personal, informative way. With appeals, time is of the essence. Reach out to Chris for a consultation today.