What is an Appeal?
An appeal is started by filing a Notice of Appeal with the trial court. The filing of the notice indicates that you disagree with the verdict, or sentence which was imposed, or both. An appeal is heard by the Court of Appeals, Eighth Appellate District, in Cuyahoga County.
An appeal is heard by three court of appeals judges and is based on a brief, outlining legal issues, which is prepared and presented on your behalf. The issues in your case are decided on the record of your case, and you are not allowed to present new evidence.
What is the record of my case?
The record in your case consists of all written pleadings, motions, and documents which may have been filed on your behalf, along with a written transcript of proceedings. In your case what was said in court, will have been taken by a court reporter, who puts her record of all comments made in court into a transcript. The record in your case will be filed within forty days of the time the notice of appeal has been given, although if your record was lengthy, sometimes it is necessary to ask for an extension. A copy of the transcript may be ordered by payment to the court reporter.
How long does an appeal take?
An appeal is generally decided within one year of the date of the filing of the notice of appeal, although there are certain provisions for having your case assigned to an accelerated docket, which means that the issues in your case may be decided sooner than one year.
Do I receive a court date?
The Court of Appeals will schedule your case for oral argument, which allows your attorney fifteen minutes to highlight written issues which are contained in your brief.
What if I have new evidence concerning my case?
The Court of Appeals can only consider evidence which was heard at your trial. The mechanism for presenting new evidence, must be done in the trial court, before the judge who heard your case, and there are certain strict time limitations within which to present new evidence. The motion is generally entitled Motion for a New Trial, and the specific manner in which to proceed is outlined in the Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure.
What if I do not believe that my attorney did a good job on my behalf?
This assignment of error is called ineffective assistance of counsel but, unless the conduct of your attorney was outlandish, or egregious, the Court of Appeals is generally reluctant to uphold this assignment of error. In fact, it would be a rare instance when you would be successful on this issue.
Am I eligible for post-conviction relief?
Post-conviction relief is another motion which is filed with the trial court, controlled by statute, and involves constitutional errors which may have taken place at your trial. Generally, any error which has taken place at your trial, must be raised on appeal, and there are only a few instances when filing a motion for post-conviction relief is appropriate.
What if I am successful on appeal?
Generally, if you are successful on appeal, your case is returned to the trial court, and it may be the same judge, with specific instructions on how to deal with any error which may have occurred during your first trial.
In rare instances, the Court of Appeals can reverse your conviction and discharge you from the conviction.
What if I am not successful on appeal?
If you are not successful in your appeal in the Eighth Judicial District, you do have the right to file a notice of appeal in the Ohio Supreme Court.
You should be aware that anyone with a criminal conviction who is denied at the Court of Appeals level may seek review in the Ohio Supreme Court, but the number of instances when the Court of Appeals will hear a specific case is extremely limited. And, even if your appeal is accepted for review by the Ohio Supreme Court, the number of cases when a reversal is had, is extremely low.