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What is the Difference Between an Appeal and Post-Conviction Litigation?

Appeals and post-conviction litigation are legal remedies that defendants can pursue after the jury renders a verdict. Generally, an appeal is the first action undertaken. If you believe that your conviction or sentencing is unjust, consult with a Jacksonville appeals lawyer about helping you file an appeal.

An appeal is a request for a higher level court to review the lower court’s decision based on a challenge involving one of two reasons:

  • The judicial process involved a serious error that affected the trial outcome
  • The weight of the evidence did not support the verdict

Generally, counsel must file a notice of appeal within 30 days of the judgment. Through appellate briefs, attorneys frame the legal issues being raised and present their arguments to the appellate court. Sometimes the court hears oral arguments from the plaintiff and defense, but typically only to clarify points contained in the written briefs. Appellate judges review records of the trial’s proceedings, such as evidence, trial transcripts, pre-trial and post-trial motions.

By comparison, post-conviction litigation is usually a remedy that is available after a defendant exhausts appeals. Attorneys can enter a motion to vacate a conviction or a request for a new trial based on grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel or an unconstitutional conviction or sentence. During post-conviction litigation, complete re-investigation of the case occurs and the defense can enter material not contained in the original trial records. Litigation may involve interviewing witnesses, submitting DNA testing as evidence or entering other technological material to support the motion. Florida appeals and post-conviction relief services can be effective legal remedies to change the outcome of an initial trial.

Robert Shafer & Associates has handled criminal cases since 1979 and has the expertise to deal with appeals and post-conviction litigation.

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