Criminal Appeal LawyerFort Worth, Texas
No one wants to be in the position of appealing a criminal case. Trial is usually a last resort, so when you lose, it can feel devastating. Some (very few) cases have a good chance on appeal. However, to have any chance at all you need to find an appellate lawyer as quickly as possible. The deadlines quickly approach and pass. Ideally, a trial attorney will have an appellate lawyer involved in the case at trial. However, most people do not feel comfortable having the same lawyer that lost at trial doing the appeal. This is understandable.
Criminal Appeal Process
How does an appeal relate to the overall criminal process? Unfortunately, most people do not understand what an appeal actually is. It is not a time for a new court to second guess the outcome at trial. Texas appellate courts are very deferential to how a jury or judge views facts in a criminal case. Instead, an appeal is usually for determining: (1) Whether the trial court judge made a mistake; (2) Whether the trial court lawyer properly pointed out the mistake, so the judge could fix it at trial; and (3) Whether the mistake was so bad that the person on trial was denied a fair trial.
In state court, after a verdict an appellate lawyer should file the “Notice of Appeal” by a strict deadline. This sends the case to the “Intermediate Appellate Court” which in Tarrant County is the Second Court of Appeals (Fort Worth). An appeal to this court is “mandatory,” meaning the appeal must be accepted.
Once an appeal is decided by a Texas Court of Appeals, either the defendant or State can file a Petition for Discretionary review with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. As the name suggests, this is a “discretionary” appeal, so the Court can decide not to hear the appeal.
Once all Texas appeals have been exhausted, then you can pursue possible federal appeals or “writ” remedies.
Find Your Lawyer for the Appeal
Our primary appellate attorney is Cody Cofer. He is Board Certified in Criminal Law. He has tried and appealed a long list of criminal cases. Below are instructions on how to lookup an attorney’s experience in Texas appellate courts.
If you or a loved one has lost at trial, then call us today, so we can review an action plan.
What Happens When You Lose a Criminal Trial?
Being convicted of a crime at trial is one of the most emotionally taxing experiences. Unfortunately, many people feel hopeless for a time. During this time if nothing is done, your right to appeal can be waived. So, despite the pain you feel, we urge you to take action on your appeal.
After conviction and sentencing at trial, you must begin serving your sentence. This is not the end of the fight. Immediately, your lawyer should file a file a motion for a new trial. Texas law (as of 2016) requires a motion must be filed within the first 30 days of a final order – judgment and sentence. Once filed, your lawyer must present the motion to the court within 10 day.
“New trial” means the rehearing of a criminal action after the trial court has, on the defendant’s motion, set aside a finding or verdict of guilt. A new trial on punishment can also be granted. New trial on punishment means a new hearing of the punishment stage of a criminal action after the trial court has, on the defendant’s motion, set aside an assessment of punishment without setting aside a finding or verdict of guilt.
A motion for a new trial is basically your way of telling the court that the jury or the justice system did something wrong. You are asking the judge to set aside the judgment and sentence before an appeal start. This process is especially important if you need the court to consider facts not already in the record.
The most common reasons for requesting a new trial include:
- New evidence was discovered after the trial;
- The accused was not present at the trial or was not given counsel;
- A juror committed misconduct like taking a bribe or being intoxicated;
- A material witness was unable to attend the trial due to some sort of threat or fraud;
- Evidence supporting your innocence was intentionally withheld; or
- The verdict is contrary to the evidence or laws.
While these are all grounds for a new trial, it can be challenging to prove them. If you can prove one of these grounds it is still up the judge as to whether a new trial should be granted. So, even if a motion for new trial is filed, your attorney should be preparing for your appeal.
Preparing for an Appeal
If you cannot file a motion for a new trial or already tried, your criminal appeals lawyer can file a notice of appeal. A notice of appeal is required in every case other than death penalty cases. Each appeal must be filed within 30 days of sentencing. If you filed a motion for a new trial, then you have 90 days to file a notice of appeal.
Once the notice of appeal has been filed, we file our request for the Reporter’s Record and a Clerk’s Record. These documents will include formal documents from the trial court and a transcript from the trial. All of these items must be filed within 60 to 120 days of sentencing. These records are what an appellate lawyer must rely on to argue your appeal. We file briefs, reply briefs, and motions for rehearing based on these records.
After briefs are submitted the intermediate court of appeals may allow attorneys to present “oral argument.” During this hearing, your attorney argues for why you should be granted an appeal. If the court chooses not to grant an appeal, you have 15 days to file an option for a rehearing. The Court of Criminal Appeals can choose the cases that it reviews, so there is no guarantee that your appeal will be heard. While your appeal is being heard, you may be eligible for bail. According to article 44 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, you may be eligible for bail as long as you have not been sentenced for more than 10 years on a felony charge.
The Court of Criminal Appeals is generally the last resort for convictions. This court reviews all death penalty convictions and can review the decisions of lower appellate courts. It is also able to review the case following a motion from either party. While you have a right to ask the court for an appeal, they are not required to hear it.
Writ of Habeas Corpus
“Habeas Corpus” is a Latin phrase translated, “bring forth the body.” Basically, this legal concept allows for another chance to challenge your conviction. If you were denied a constitutional right or your trial court did not have jurisdiction, you may be able to file a writ of habeas corpus.
Filing motions, appealing a conviction and navigating the legal system can be challenging. To get help with your or your loved one’s case, contact us.
Finding an Experienced Appellate Attorney
Cody Cofer, has briefed and argued a long list of criminal appeals. These appeals includes those in the “intermediate courts” such as the Texas Second Court of Appeals located in Fort Worth, Texas. He has also briefed and argued appeals in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA). The CCA is the highest criminal appellate court in the State of Texas. Call our office today 817.810.9395 or email an attorney to schedule an appointment.
If you or someone you love has been convicted at trial then you need to meet with your appellate attorney immediately. In some cases your attorney should file a motion for new trial or get the appeals process started by immediately by filing a notice of appeal. Regardless of the procedure that needs to be followed, the appellate courts have strict deadlines that must be observed.
How to find an experienced attorney for criminal appeals
You can look up the number of Texas appeals any attorney has by simply going to the Texas Courts Website and entering an attorney’s Texas State Bar Number. Get the attorney’s State Bar Number: Visit the Texas State Bar website. Then select “Find Lawyer.” You can enter an attorney’s first and last names, then search. From the list of attorneys, you can choose the lawyer you are researching. Visit this attorney’s State Bar profile. On the profile, you will find the State Bar Number listed. The State Bar Number for Cody Cofer is 24066643.
You can also get other information from the Texas State Bar profile, including whether and attorney is Board Certified in any areas of law. Write down the State Bar Number for the lawyer you are researching.
Lookup Attorney’s Texas Criminal Appeals: Now that you have the State Bar Number for the attorney you are researching you can visit the Texas Court’s website and use the “Case Lookup” function to see a complete list of the attorney’s criminal appeals.
Once you have followed the button below, you can now enter the information for the lawyer you are researching. On the “Case Search” page, select “Case Search” and then check “All Courts.” Once you have these items selected you can type in the State Bar Number that you retrieved in the field labeled “Attorney or Bar No.” Then select “Search” and you will be provided a list of the appeals (both civil and criminal) that the lawyer has participated in.
Review the Experience of the Appeal Attorney: From the page on the Texas Courts’ website you can see the general information for the appeals that the attorney is the appellate lawyer of record. You can see which intermediate appellate court the appeal was filed in. Also on the page, you can find the trial court from which the case was appealed.
You can see that Cody Cofer has appealed several cases from courts around the state, including Tarrant County trial courts. He also has several cases that have been reviewed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The appellate experience at Cofer Law is not limited to criminal case appeals. He has also appealed Child Protective Services case and Juvenile Adjudications. The experience of appealing in these different contexts provides valuable perspective and an opportunity to look at appeals from in a different light.