The next step after the jury convicts: Appeal!

by Deborah Bates Riordan, Esq. and Theodore Riordan, Esq.

The jury just came in.  They found you guilty.  This blog discusses the next step, filing an appeal.

One of the most important conversations a trial attorney will have with a client who’s just been convicted is whether the client wishes to appeal.  In almost every instance the answer is “Yes.”  A criminal conviction can have a significant effect on a person’s life.  Read about those collateral effects in another blog post. (link to that blog).

Appealing a criminal conviction starts by filing a single piece of paper that literally says you are appealing your conviction. That paper is called a “Notice of Appeal.”  The trial attorney files it in the courthouse where the trial took place.  It’s supposed to be filed within thirty calendar days of sentencing, but your attorney can get an extension.  It doesn’t cost anything to file that paper, and it’s the most important thing your attorney needs to do to protect all your options.  You can always withdraw the appeal at later date.

Filing the Notice of Appeal just gets the ball rolling.  The next step is to hire an appellate attorney.  There are two reasons for this.  First, your trial attorney probably doesn’t handle appeals.  Appealing a conviction involves completely different legal skills than trying a case in front of a jury.  You may have had the best trial attorney in the world, but that doesn’t mean he or she is skilled at handling an appeal.

The other reason you need a new attorney is there’s a possibility your trial attorney mishandled your case.  Your appellate attorney can consider whether your trial attorney properly considered all possible issues in preparing for trial, and properly presented your defenses at trial.  If your attorney didn’t properly represent you, you may have an “ineffective assistance of counsel” claim.

For more information on what’s involved in an appeal after the Notice of Appeal is filed, please visit our blog on What Happens After The Notice Of Appeal Is Filed.

Contact us

The attorneys at Bates & Riordan, LLP are very experienced in criminal appeals.  We have handled everything from the simple assaults to first degree murders.  There is no charge for the initial consultation.  Please call us for a free, no-obligation consultation.  If the defendant is incarcerated in Massachusetts, he or she can call us collect at 617-328-8080.