The Criminal Appeals Process
July 26, 2022
The Court of Appeals in Kansas and Missouri reviews issues and handles appeals in criminal and civil matters from the lower courts – district courts or circuit courts. Through the appellate court, legal mistakes, wrongful judgments, or convictions made at the lower courts may be reviewed and eventually overturned. If you believe you were sentenced unfairly or wrongfully convicted, hiring a highly-skilled Kansas criminal appeals attorney is crucial to handle your appeal.
At Richman Law Office LLC, I'm committed to offering knowledgeable legal guidance and vigorous representation to clients in their appeals. As your legal partner, I can review the existing evidence, investigate the judge's conduct, and attempt to seek a more favorable judgment. Also, I will fight vigorously to uphold your appeal rights and get the court to reverse your unjust conviction. My firm is proud to serve clients across Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri.
Valid Reasons to Appeal
For individuals facing criminal charges in Kansas or Missouri, a trial – jury trial or bench trial – will be used to decide justice fairly and equitably. However, in some situations, the judge may make a serious legal mistake that can affect the outcome of the case and result in a wrongful conviction. Here are some valid reasons to appeal a conviction in Kansas or Missouri:
Obvious mistakes during the trial
Suppression of evidence or statement
Abuse of discretion by the judge
Improper admission or exclusion of evidence
Sentencing errors or excessive sentence
No substantial evidence to support the judgment
Ineffective assistance of legal counsel
Incorrect instructions from the judge or jury
Miscarriage of justice
If you disagree with the findings and judgment of the lower court, you must reach out to a well-informed criminal defense attorney immediately. Your lawyer can review the lower court's proceedings and notify you about the state's appeals process.
However, it is vital to understand that an appeal isn't a new trial. The Court of Appeals does not accept new evidence, retry the case, nor listen to witness statements. Rather, the Kansas or Missouri Court of Appeals will review the lower court's proceedings and judicial rulings to determine whether the judge or jury made a prejudicial error that caused significant harm to the appellant. Essentially, such a legal mistake might have affected the judge's decision or the outcome of the case.
Common Standards of Review
The common "standards of review" – guidelines for the appellate court to review decisions or judgments made at the trial court – in Kansas or Missouri include:
Substantial Evidence Standard: When appealing a court decision with no factual evidence supporting the case, the appellate court will use the substantial evidence standard to review your case.
Abuse of Discretion Standard: When appealing a court decision that involves the judge using their discretion, the Court of Appeals will review your case using the abuse of discretion standard.
De Novo Standard: De novo is a Latin phrase for "from the beginning." Here, the Court of Appeals will completely reject the lower court's decision and review the case from scratch.
Filing an Appeal
Here are the processes involved in filing an appeal in Kansas or Missouri.
When to File
To appeal the lower court's ruling, order, judgment, or decision, the first step is to file a "Notice of Appeal." A Notice of Appeal must be filed to the Court of Appeals within:
30 days following the judgment (for Kansas).
10 days following the judgment (for Missouri).
Essentially, filing a Notice of Appeal specifies that you want to appeal the trial court's decision. If you miss the deadlines, you may lose your appeal rights, or your appeal may be dismissed.
Notice of Appeal
The Notice of Appeal should indicate the following:
The parties taking the appeal.
The decision or part of the judgment that is being appealed.
The appellate court handling the appeal.
The notice of appeal must be submitted to the court clerk and served to other parties involved in the judgment. Upon filing the Notice of Appeal, the appellant will have up to 60 days to docket the appeal in the appellate court.
Certificate of Probable Cause
A certificate of probable cause (CPC) is often issued by the trial court to show that an attempt to file an appeal is not frivolous. The certificate of probable cause will help indicate that there are reasonable grounds for the appeal, and it involves an honest opinion.
The opening brief is your opportunity to enlighten the appellate court on why you're seeking relief through appeals – such as a conviction reversal, new sentence, or new trial. The brief may also include:
A summary of the facts and evidence of your case
Legal arguments quoting other similar cases
Statutes and rules indicating a prejudicial error made by the trial court.
Your briefs must set the motion to convince the appellate court judges to reverse your wrongful judgment.
During the oral argument, you or your legal representative will be able to argue your position to the appellate court. A skilled attorney can focus more on the most crucial aspects of your brief and present your case intelligently to the appellate court judges.
Decisions or Ruling
After the oral argument, the Court of Appeals will make its decision. The possible outcomes include:
Affirm the trial court's decision.
Overturn your conviction.
Reverse the judgment and remand for retrial.
An informative criminal defense attorney can handle your appeal diligently and increase your prospects of achieving the most favorable outcome.
A Knowledgeable Criminal Appeals Attorney Can Help
Being convicted of a crime in Kansas or Missouri can be a terrifying experience. Regardless, this doesn't automatically mean your guilty conviction is final. If you disagree with the trial court's decisions or believe a legal error was made, you may petition an appeal to get your unfair judgment or sentence reversed. A knowledgeable criminal appeals attorney can fight for your appeal rights and help you seek a different judgment.
At Richman Law Office LLC, I have the resources and expertise to assist, guide, and represent individuals who have been wrongfully convicted. As your lawyer, I can review the evidence and the judge's conduct to outline an impactful appeal for your personal situation. Using my experience, I can help you maneuver the Kansas and Missouri Court of Appeals systems.
Whether you were convicted unjustly, sentenced due to prejudicial error, or took a guilty plea based on ineffective assistance of legal counsel, I will attempt to fight for your rights.
Contact my firm – Richman Law Office LLC – today to schedule a simple case assessment with a reliable criminal defense lawyer. I have the dedicated legal counsel and strategic representation you need to navigate crucial decisions in your appeals. My firm proudly serves clients across Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri.