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How Do I Appeal the Ruling in My Criminal Defense Case?

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Milwaukee criminal appeals lawyer, criminal defense case, Motion for Postconviction Relief, Wisconsin Appeals Process, Record on AppealWhen you are facing criminal charges, the outcome of your trial will have a major impact on your life. Unfortunately, errors sometimes occur during criminal trials, resulting in unjust convictions or incorrect sentences. If you are unhappy with the results of your criminal trial, you have the option to appeal.

The Wisconsin Appeals Process

After the circuit court has issued its final judgment in your trial, you must file a Notice of Intent to Pursue Postconviction Relief within 20 days. This Notice informs the court that you plan to appeal the case. Within 30 days after filing the Notice of Intent, you must request a copy of the court transcript(s). The court clerk will serve you with a copy of the transcript(s) within 60 days.

Within 60 days after receiving the transcript(s), you must file a Motion for Postconviction Relief. This motion may argue that the conviction or sentence violated the U.S. or Wisconsin Constitutions, that the court did not have jurisdiction to hear the case, or that the sentence exceeded the maximum penalty allowed by law. The circuit court will rule on this motion. If it is denied, you can file a Notice of Appeal within 20 days.

A Notice of Appeal can be filed without a Motion for Postconviction Relief if you are seeking relief because your conviction was based on insufficient evidence, the improper admission of evidence at trial, or other issues which were raised during your trial.

Within 40 days of filing the Notice of Appeal, the court clerk will file the Record on Appeal, which is a compilation of documents from the original court case. After the Record on Appeal has been filed, you must file a brief within 40 days. The brief sets forth your written argument as to why your conviction should be reversed. The brief must provide citations to the court record and must specifically address the errors that occurred during the trial. Review in the Court of Appeals is limited to the Record of what happened in the circuit court. You cannot present new evidence in your brief.

After you file your brief, the state has 30 days to file a response. You will have 15 days to file a reply after the state files its brief, giving you the last opportunity to communicate with the Court. Note that the Court of Appeals hears oral arguments very rarely, so in most cases, the only information before the Court of Appeals will be your written brief.

When a ruling is issued, the Court of Appeals may affirm the original decision, modify certain parts of the decision, reverse the decision, or remand the case for a new trial.

If you are unhappy with the decision made by the Court of Appeals, you can file a Motion for Reconsideration explaining why you believe the decision was incorrect, based on Wisconsin statutes or previous cases. Frankly, those motions are rarely granted. Alternatively, you can file a Petition for Review to have the case heard by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. That petition must be filed (i.e. in the hands of the Supreme Court Clerk) within 30 days after the decision by the Court of Appeals. If your petition arrives one day late, it is untimely and will not be considered.

If the Wisconsin Supreme Court decides not to hear your case, or if that Court hears your case and rules against you, you may be able to challenge this decision in federal courts.

Contact a Milwaukee Appeals Attorney

Criminal appeals in Wisconsin courts require close attention to deadlines and what matters must and may not be reviewed at different stages.

If you are unhappy with the decision in a criminal trial, the attorneys at Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP can help you understand your options for appeal and work with you to make sure you receive the best possible outcome in your case. Contact a Milwaukee, WI criminal appeals lawyer at 414-271-1440.





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