Accordingto Howard (2014) and Posner(2013),an appeal denotes the formal request placed by an already convicteddefendant to a higher court to determine the credibility of thejudgement passed by either a jury or a judge. Though an appeal is nota constitutional right, every state has a constitutional provisionthat allows an appeal (Howard, 2014). Once a person has beenconvicted by a jury and has been imprisoned pending determination ofwhere to serve his sentence, he can review his case and evaluatewhether due process was followed. This would warrant either to appealto a higher court or through the judge presiding over the case in theabsence of the jury.
Oncethe court receives an appeal, directly or through a writ, it givesits written feedback explaining it position on the matter (Howard,2014). The court’s feedback justifies to both the defendant and thefuture litigant on the reason it reached a certain appeal decisionbased on the constitutional provisions. When a convicted defendantmakes an appeal to a higher court, he seeks to establish that thetrial court made a legal error that contributed in any way to hisconviction, thus unfair trial and judgement (Posner,2013).It is any defendant’s constitutional right to receive due process,though, in legal terms, there is a very vague explanation of the termdue process (Howard, 2014). Most law scholars and the legislatureinterprets the latter to be fair trial beyond any reasonable doubt.
Theappeal process establishes that a trial court follows and applies thelaw accordingly. First, the convicted defendant files a notice toappeal with the clerks of the of the trial court within thestipulated time as per the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure(Zalman, 2006). Timing in an appeal is crucial because after thefiling deadline has elapsed, the court cannot approve the appealanymore. The defendant needs to place a request to the clerk of thetrial court at least ten days after filing for an appeal to beprovided with the records filled during the trial and a copy of theproceedings transcript (Zalman, 2006). Lastly, the defendant needs tosubmit a written brief justifying as per the issued records why thetrial court judgement was based on legal error. The court of appealcan in return act in the following manner either, return the case tothe lower court for a fresh hearing or uphold or reverse the lowercourt’s ruling. According to Schoenfeld (2005), a successful appealdoes not indicate acquittal of the defendant in any way, but ratherensure the judgement is fairly delivered.
Theappeal process is not a constitutional provision but it facilitates afair and just hearing. It is very important in the sense that itgives the system a chance to correct the legal trial errors that mayinfluence the case, especially negatively (Givelber, 2005). Thisprocess helps the American judicial system to correct any judgementerrors and avert possible incarceration of innocent people. It aswell helps to deliver sound judgement and limit any externalinterference with the legal systems whether politically or throughbribery. Not all legal errors however, warrant a successful appeal.This is considering that some legal errors might not influence theoutcome of the trial court proceedings.
Givelber,D. (2005). Lost innocence: Speculation and data about the acquitted.Am.Crim. L.Rev.,42,1167.
HowardJr, J. W. (2014). Courtsof appeals in the federal judicial system: A study of the Second,Fifth, and District of Columbia Circuits.Princeton University Press.
Posner,R. A. (2013). Judicial Opinions and Appellate Advocacy in FederalCourts-One Judge`s Views. Duq.L. Rev., 51,3.
Schoenfeld,H. (2005). Violated trust: Conceptualizing prosecutorial misconduct.Journalof Contemporary Criminal Justice,21(3),250-271.
Zalman,M. (2006). Criminal Justice System Reform and Wrongful Conviction AResearch Agenda. CriminalJustice Policy Review,17(4),468-492.