What this means is that you have a right to have an attorney review the totality of your case, including transcripts of proceedings, motions, court rulings, and even your attorney’s notes to see if you were deprived of your rights, your attorney was incompetent, the prosecutor did something wrong, or the judge’s ruling was in error. The appellate process is vital to the construction and application of the law in the United States. The legislators create laws, but the way to decide if these laws are constitutional and how to properly apply the law is determined by the appellate process.
When injustice occurs, the first appeal is your only true chance to address it.In California, there are six different courts of appeal. If your case was heard in one of the following nine counties: Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Stanislaus, Tulare, and Tuolumne it will be heard in Fresno at the Fifth District Court of Appeal. Your appellate attorney will file an “opening brief” for you stating what the issues are. Then a deputy attorney general (representing the state) will file a “respondent’s brief.” Your attorney will get the last word and will file a “reply brief.”
Three judges from the Fifth District will review all submitted briefs. They will then ask your attorney and the deputy attorney general if they would like to request an oral argument. This is where both attorneys show up and argue in front of the three judges. The judges can interrupt them and ask whatever questions they may have that need to be answered to make their decision.
After oral argument, the judges will take the case under submission, discuss it amongst themselves, and then write up an opinion stating their ruling on the issues.
This first appeal is your only guaranteed opportunity to have your case reviewed. It is imperative that you hire a qualified knowledgeable attorney to handle your appeal.
At Proper Defense, attorney Sally Vecchiarelli has been passionate about appellate law since her time in law school. She competed in the state championship at UCLA and walked away with an award for individual achievement in oral advocacy (arguing in front of three judges). Since then she has handled appellate cases at the Fifth District and has also filed a petition for Review with the California Supreme Court. Sally Vecchiarelli feels that by practicing appellate and trial law make her the most effective attorney in the courtroom because she understands how to create appellate issues. Sometimes the law is against you, but the law is wrong. The only way one person can fight a bad law is through the appellate process.