Can I Appeal My Sex Crime Conviction?
There are a multitude of post-conviction relief options and direct appeals for sex crimes convictions. The unfortunate reality is that if you have found yourself researching this page, then you or someone you love may have been convicted of a sex crime. You are likely scared or worried that you or someone close to you may have to go to jail, prison, or further be on probation or parole. The future of your family, reputation, and freedom are likely weighing heavily on you and you want to know the best options for the future. The good news is, there is still hope! You are not out of options yet, and it is far from over.
Appellate practice is very different than trial practice, and it is necessary to implement and utilize different skills and talents at this stage of the proceedings to get the outcome you need. Our appeals attorneys have a proven track record of success on criminal appeals for over 19 years, and have honed our skills, knowledge, and overall presentation to achieve favorable outcomes. Our sex crime attorneys are here to help you get through this difficult period of your life with the best outcome possible.
Pleadings and briefs and a precise oral argument have an even greater level of importance during the appeal process then at trial. Consequently, we conduct independent investigations, and meticulously review the trial court records and all of the related case law to write the most persuasive briefs possible.
It is necessary to present the most convincing, professional, and polished pleadings to obtain a favorable result when arguing an appeal in Michigan. Take a moment to review our testimonials and success stories to see our proven track record of success. In this section we are going to talk about the particular procedures related to post-conviction motions and direct appeals, and some of the potential outcomes for felony and misdemeanor appeals. In summation, we will discuss the benefits and services Grabel & Associates can provide.
Appeal of Right Vs. Seeking Leave to Appeal Court
Are you eligible for an appeal? This question depends on whether you were found guilty by trial or plead guilty or not contest as part of a plea deal. If you were found guilty by trial then you have an appeal by right. An appeal by right exists when a guilty verdict is reached whether the crime is a misdemeanor in district court or a felony in circuit court. An appeal by right means that you are guaranteed to be able to have the issues that you raise on appeal heard, because it is your absolute right. However, you still must meet the filing deadline which is within 42 days after sentencing for a felony conviction or 21 days after sentencing for a misdemeanor conviction. Therefore, it is necessary to submit your claim on appeal to the appropriate court within the filing deadline to claim your right of appeal.
Once your appeal has been scheduled, for felony appeals you will have 56 days to prepare and submit your brief on appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals. However, for misdemeanor convictions, you only have 28 from after your filing date to submit your brief on appeal to the circuit court. The brief on appeal is the primary pleading for an appeal, and it is imperative to do an excellent job writing the brief on appeal to be as persuasive and convincing as possible. An excellent brief on appeal will argue the facts of your case and the law that supports your position in a clear, concise, and compelling statement to the judge if it is a misdemeanor appeal, or if it is assigned a three-judge panel if you are appealing a felony to the Michigan Court of Appeals.
Requiring Leave of the Court for Appeal
If you plead guilty to the charges or accepted a plea deal, then you have to seek leave of the court to appeal the conviction. This means that you must request the court’s permission to review your case, and it is accomplished by submitting an application for leave to appeal in circuit court for misdemeanors or the court of appeals for felonies. If you are appealing a felony, then you only have 21 days to submit a timely application to the court of appeals. Similarly, the deadline for a misdemeanor appeal application is also 21 days, and must be submitted within that time frame to the circuit court.
It can be difficult to persuade a judge to accept your case for appeal, because they are not required by law to do so. Therefore, if you accepted a plea deal or pled guilty or no contest, then it is up to the judge’s discretion whether to hear your case on appeal. Typically, in our experience the court will decide whether to approve your application and grant you an appeal within one to three months. If your application is approved, then the appeal will proceed the same as if it were an appeal by right.
Post-Conviction Motions Vs. Appeals
There are two different options if you have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony in Michigan. You can either pursue post-conviction motions with the trial court to improve your situation and achieve a better outcome, or you can pursue a direct appeal to the appropriate appellate court.
Post-conviction motions for relief are unique, because you can either file a post-conviction motion immediately after the trial court enters a conviction, or after you have exhausted all of your direct appeals.
One post-conviction motion that may be worth implementing is a motion for a new trial. Typically, a motion for a new trial will only be granted if new evidence is discovered, or if a new trial is in the interest of justice. Whether something is in the interest of justice is a subjective legal description that essentially grants the judge broad authority to order a new trial if he believes a miscarriage of justice has taken place. This could be a situation where the judge correctly recognizes that there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction, or if there was apparent jury bias or jury misconduct. These are just a few legal issues for example that could support a successful new trial motion, and please keep in mind there are a myriad of other legal issues that could justify a meritorious legal basis for granting a new trial. Each case must be meticulously examined to develop the best strategy for a successful appeal.
Filing A Post-Conviction Motion after Appeals
Depending on your situation, it may be possible to take your case through the court of appeals and even the Supreme Court of Michigan, and still file a 6.500 motion afterwards. This type of post-conviction relief is very specific and provides you with a last opportunity to raise evidence that was not available during your trial or appeals. Generally speaking, these are very difficult motions to win, but they are not impossible. Especially, if new evidence has been discovered that was not previously available. However, it will be necessary for you to demonstrate why you did not present the evidence at trial or on appeal. A well-articulated argument that the evidence was not readily available would likely be sufficient, because if there is new credible evidence the courts are not likely to turn a blind eye to relevant and probative evidence. This is important, because one of the components of a successful 6.500 motion is demonstrating a good cause for why you did not raise the issue earlier.
Misdemeanors: Trial Court Post-Conviction Relief at District Court
If you were convicted of a misdemeanor, then any post-conviction motions will be filed in the district court where the trial took place. The basis of any successful appeal as stated earlier is a thorough review of the entire file to find a legal issues that would warrant reversal of a conviction.
Or, you could potentially appeal your sentence, because it is unjustly harsh under the circumstances and violates your constitutional rights. The constitutional due process clause requires that a defendant’s sentence is based on accurate information including all information in the Presentence Investigation Report (PSIR). Additionally, the Michigan Supreme Court requires strict adherence to the complex statutory sentencing guidelines and the court rule provisions that govern the sentencing process. One requirement of the sentencing hearing is that the judge must satisfy all of the requirements outlined in MCL 771.14 and MCR 6.425(E)(1)(a)-(f) on the record. There is a point rubric that has different variables that add up to determine what category a particular sentence should fall into. The Presentence Investigation Report (PSIR) plays a large role in the judge’s calculation of the sentencing guidelines and although the Judge is not required to follow the guidelines, they must be scored correctly and the Judge must articulate a sufficient basis on the record to depart above or below them.
Consequently, if either of these reports are inaccurate or the judge fails to adhere or honor any of these guidelines, procedures, or requirements, then there is a strong case for a reduced sentence. This may be worth years of your freedom if you have already been convicted. Grabel & Associates is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 1-800-883-2138 for a free consultation to discuss your case and what we can do to help you using post-conviction remedies and potentially an appeal.
Felony Appeals to The Court of Appeals
If you have been convicted of a felony, then you can pursue post-conviction relief in the circuit court where you had your trial by filing a post-conviction motion for relief. For instance, you could request a new trial, introduce new evidence that was not reasonably known at trial, or demonstrate prosecutorial misconduct. These of course are just a few of the many legal reasons that could justify a successful legal appeal. If after attempting post-conviction relief you do not get the outcome you are looking for at the circuit court, then the best course of action may be to appeal your conviction at the Michigan Court of Appeals. As you can probably understand there are numerous ways to properly navigate the appellant process.
As was mentioned earlier if you were found guilty by trial you can appeal by right to the court of appeals. However, you must timely file your claim within 42 days after you are sentenced at circuit court. If you plead guilty or no contest, or accepted a plea deal, then you must apply for leave from the court within 21 days after sentencing. Once you have your appeal, then you can begin working on your brief on appeal which is the primary legal document in a felony appeal. This is where all of the substantive legal arguments will be presented and be supported by case law and the great weight of the evidence. The prosecutor will also submit his or her brief on appeal, and you will have an opportunity to reply to it to contest the portions that do not support your position. Once all the briefs are submitted, then oral arguments will be scheduled and the three judge panel will issue an opinion usually within a month. For a successful appeal you need two out of the three judges to agree with your legal position on a given appellate issue.
Misdemeanor Appeals to Circuit Court
If you need to appeal your misdemeanor conviction, then the appeal will move up from the district court to the circuit court for review. If you were issued a guilty verdict, then you may appeal by right to the circuit court in the county where you were convicted. Misdemeanor appeals are very similar to felony appeals with the exceptions that they are held at circuit court and the filing deadlines are much sooner. You must file your appeal within 21 days after sentencing. After you procure the necessary court transcripts, then you will have 28 days to file your brief on appeal. The prosecutor will also file his brief, and you will have an opportunity to reply to the prosecutor’s brief before it goes to oral arguments. The judge may issue an oral opinion after the close of arguments or issue a written opinion within a month. Unlike the Michigan Court of Appeals, only one judge decides your appeal at the Circuit Court level.
Michigan Supreme Court
If you do not receive a favorable result at the court of appeals, then there is still the Michigan Supreme Court. No person has a right to appeal before the Michigan Supreme Court, so the court picks and chooses the cases that they want to hear. Consequently, when you submit an application for the Michigan Supreme Court you are best served by making a novel legal argument that may shape precedent to entice the justices to take your case. Grabel & Associates has argued and won before the Michigan Supreme Court on numerous occasions, so if you want to take your case the distance, we are prepared to go there with you. It is necessary to prepare and submit an application within 56 days after the final disposition by the court of appeals. If your application is accepted, then you will have to submit an additional brief before oral arguments in front of all seven state supreme court justices. The wait time for a decision can be as long as six months, and the whole process can take as long as a year.
Grabel & Associates Approach to Appeals & Post-conviction Relief
Any winning appeal begins with a thorough examination of all aspects of the investigation, arrest, trial, conviction, and sentencing to determine if any errors were made and what the softest points of attack may be in the prosecutions position. We will rigorously scrutinize every angle of the testimony, evidence, and facts to elevate your case when the time comes to make an eloquent, forceful presentation.
Grabel & Associates has been representing criminal defendants facing serious charges of criminal sexual conduct, indecent exposure, and all related sexual crimes at trial and on appeal for more than 19 years. We have the experience and knowledge to get the job done right, and will work hard to protect your rights, freedoms, and future. Contact us online or call us at 1-800-883-2138 to reach us for a free consultation today, and we will begin working together to build a case that will earn you a better tomorrow.