Appellate Court Process in Illinois

Illinois court system, Illinois criminal defense attorney, appeal of conviction, Even after you have been found guilty of an Illinois crime, as a criminal defendant you still have certain rights. These rights include the right to appeal your conviction and/or sentence and have an appellate court review your case. An appellate court can either affirm your conviction (meaning that you remain convicted of the crime), reverse your conviction (meaning that your conviction is vacated and you are no longer convicted of the crime), or remand your cases (meaning that there were some errors in your trial and/or sentencing that require the trial and/or sentencing hearing to be conducted again).

An Appeal is a Distinct Type of Proceeding

Some criminal defendants assume that their trial attorney can also function as their appellate attorney; however, there are important differences between court hearings in front of a trial court and the appeals process. Criminal defendants should make sure they hire competent appellate counsel who understand and appreciate these important differences:

  • The Appeals Court Does Not Conduct a New Trial: Some defendants erroneously believe that an appeals court conducts a “new trial” or a new sentencing hearing; however, an appellate court’s job is not to do this. Instead, an appellate court examines the record – the collection of documents, evidence, and transcripts of hearings for your case – for any errors. If the appellate court finds errors, your conviction could be reversed or your case remanded. If there are no errors, or if the errors are not significant, your conviction will be affirmed.
  • Your Appeal May Be Dismissed if Procedural Rules Are Not Followed: There are procedural rules that govern how an appeal is filed and presented. These rules include how the appellate “brief” – your written argument to the appeals court about why your conviction or sentence is erroneous – should be formatted and within what time limit your brief must be filed. Failing to adhere to these rules can, in some extreme circumstances, result in the dismissal of your appeal.
  • Your Attorney May Need to Have Additional Licenses to File Certain Appeals: To file and present appeals to the Illinois Appellate Courts and the Illinois Supreme Court, your attorney only needs to be licensed to practice in Illinois. But if you have been convicted of a federal crime, or if you wish to pursue certain federal remedies, your attorney must seek some sort of licensure from those federal courts.

 Contact an Experienced Appellate Attorney

At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney, our dedicated Chicago criminal defense attorneys are experienced in appellate practice and bring the same aggressive and zealous advocacy to your appeal as we do to a trial. Once you have been convicted, you need knowledgeable counsel to ensure your rights are protected and to increase your chances of receiving a favorable appeal decision. Contact us today to discuss your case.

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