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State Felony Appeals

UPDATED: February 20, 2013

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A person who has been convicted of a state felony crime may appeal the conviction in a state court of appeals. While those who plead guilty to a felony forfeit their right to an appeal, other convictions have the opportunity to present their appeal to a court. This requires the services of a lawyer who is experienced in the appellate courts, which differ from criminal courts in rules of practice and procedure. While every convicted felon may file an appeal, the onus falls upon the convicted felon his or herself to ask their felony lawyer to appeal – lawyers are not required to automatically appeal a lost case.

Though anyone may request an appeal, the progress of an actual appeal depends on approval by the appellate judge, who will review the case and determine if it warrants appeal. In most cases, if an appeal is granted, both sides submit written briefs for appellate review and a new verdict is rendered. State courts of appeals can overturn a guilty verdict or declare a mistrial. Verdicts rendered by state courts of appeals are not necessarily the last stop for convicted felons – state and national supreme court appeals are also a possibility. However, given the complexity and expense of the appeals process, most cases do not progress beyond the state appeals system.

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