Appeals Process Paper
An appeal is a proceeding in which a case is brought before a higher court for a review of a lower court’s decision, in hopes that it will overturn a lower court’s judgment on a case. In criminal cases, both the prosecution and the defense can make an appeal. Defendants can always appeal a conviction if appropriate legal grounds exist. The government cannot usually file an appeal on someone who has been acquitted. Once a person is acquitted, he or she cannot be tried for the same crime again.
Appeals factor in the overall criminal process and procedures in that the appeals process is a part of a checks and balance system. The checks and balance system is designed to make sure that defendants have received his or her due process in the earlier stages of the criminal justice process. Appeals are an important means in pursuing specific goals in individual cases. They are important because they are one of the main ways that legal issues in a certain area of law are formed.
We can improve the appeals process by not just basing appeals on matters of law but on facts of a case as well. There are times when facts of a case do not show guilt. The legal basis for an appeal must be a claim that the law was misapplied by substantively or procedurally. It cannot be made on the basis of disputes on facts of the case. Someone who is innocent cannot file an appeal because they believe they are innocent. In rare cases a defendants have filed an appeal using the argument that there was not enough evidence to support a conviction. Appeals have to be filed within a certain deadline. If that deadline passes an appeal cannot be filed and a ruling will stand.
The issue of timeliness is illustrated very well in death penalty cases where defendants sentenced to death, later wish to appeal on grounds that new evidence will demonstrate “actual Innocence”. The number of this type of appeal has been increasing since the...