Call (253) 573-1000 to schedule your free initial consultation.
CRIMINAL DEFENSE IN PIERCE COUNTY & WESTERN WASHINGTON
Appealing to a higher court to review the conviction of a lower court must be done within a strict time period, either within 30 days of sentencing in state court, or within 14 days for convictions reached in federal court.
Appealing a decision can be based on any of the following:
- A mistake in the application of the law
- Misconduct by the prosecution
- Ineffective legal counsel
- Insufficient evidence
- Illegal sentencing
THE APPELLATE PROCESS & COURTS
The appeal process begins when a party files a petition to have his or her case reviewed by the higher court. The higher court can then either affirm or reverse the lower court’s decision. In reaching its decision, the higher court will review the entire trial transcript and the arguments presented by the parties. It is important to note that the higher court does not listen to witnesses or testimony. In other words, a party does not get a “re-do” of the trial. Rather, the higher court is reviewing the trial and looking for legal mistakes or errors. A useful analogy would be that the appeals process is similar to somebody watching film of a football game and looking for mistakes made by the referees.
In the Washington State court system, criminal appeals are typically first heard in an intermediate court of appeals, namely the Washington State Court of Appeals. Western Washington has two divisions of the Court of Appeals: Division I is located in Seattle while Division II is located in Tacoma.
Under certain circumstances, a party may appeal a decision of the appellate court to the Washington State Supreme Court. The Supreme Court, which is located in Olympia, is the highest court in the state and hears appeals from all three divisions of the Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court decides which cases it will hear on appeal, so it is not guaranteed that an unfavorable ruling at the Court of Appeals will be heard. Usually, the Court of Appeals is the final court to decide a case.
A party wishing to appeal a Federal trial court’s decision in Washington files a petition with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth Circuit has a courthouse in downtown Seattle, where Washington federal appeals are typically heard. Under certain circumstances, a party may appeal an adverse decision of the Ninth Circuit to the United States Supreme Court. It is very rare for the United States Supreme Court to accept appeals.
The Tacoma criminal defense attorneys of The Law Offices of Krupa & Clark have extensive experience in handling criminal appeals. We have brought appeals in both Divisions I and II of the Washington State Court of Appeals, as well as appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for federal cases.
In addition, one of our lawyers is a former law clerk at Division II of the Washington State Court of Appeals, where he researched legal issues for the judges, assisted the judges in making decisions, and helped draft opinions (the document in which the court announces its decision and the reasoning behind its decision).
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.