Appeals - Indiana Criminal Litigation Process
In the unfortunate event that the Defendant is convicted at trial, there is an absolute right to an Appeal of the conviction and or sentence. After a negotiated plea, there are circumstances in which the sentence may also be appealed. There are, however, important deadlines which must be met to ensure that the rights of the Defendant are protected.
By law, an Appeal must be commenced within 30 days of the time the Defendant started serving his or her sentence. If this deadline is not met, then the right to an Appeal can be waived. There are several other deadlines which must be adhered to by the Appellate attorney. Only by having an attorney who is diligent and is familiar with the law and the rules can the Defendant have confidence that his or her rights are being protected.
An Appeal is started by the filing of a Notice of Appeal within 30 days of the commencement of the service of the sentence. This document lets the trial court, the Appellate Court, and the court Clerks and Reporters know that the Appeal has begun. This also starts the process of the preparation of the trial transcript and the Record.
An appeal is limited to the issues which are contained in the Record. An Appellate attorney must be prepared to scour the transcript and record looking for issues to raise in his Appeal. A good Appellate attorney must stay familiar with the law as it constantly changes.
After reviewing the case and researching the law, the Appellate attorney produces a document called a "Brief." This is the document which puts forth the arguments and raises the issues being raised on Appeal. The State Attorney General's Office then responds with its own brief and the Appellate attorney then gets an opportunity to reply to the State's brief if necessary.
An Appeal is a difficult and time consuming endeavor. Countless hours of reading, researching, writing and re-writing go into the making of a good Appellate brief. Having a capable Appellate attorney can make sure that the job is done well.