If you have been involved in a case in
any Massachusetts trial court (District
Court, Superior Court, Probate Court
or Land Court) and a judge or jury has
made a final decision that you feel is
wrong, you may want to appeal your
case to the Massachusetts Appeals
Court or the Supreme Judicial Court.
If you have a won a case in the
trial-level court but the losing party
wants to appeal, you will need an
appellate attorney to represent you in
An appeal involves presenting your
case to a court which is "higher" than
the trial-level court where your case
started. This higher court has the
power to overturn the decision of the
lower court, to order a new trial, or to
affirm the lower court's decision.
Your appellate lawyer will get
transcripts of what happened at the
trial court and will look carefully
through all the paperwork filed with the
trial court on your case. Then your
appellate lawyer will identify errors that
were made in the trial court, will
research the law on those issues, and
will write a "brief" to be submitted to
the appellate court.
A "brief" is simply a written argument
as to why a mistake was made by the
trial-level court which should result in a
different outcome or, if representing
the party that won the case, why the
trial-level court's decision should be
upheld. Each side submits a brief to
the appellate court.
After all the briefs are turned in, the
appellate court may hold a hearing
called "oral argument" where each
side has fifteen minutes to make a
presentation and answer the
questions of the judges. After the oral
argument, the appellate judges will
decide the case and will write a
decision telling which party won and
The appellate process can take a
long time -- at least one year in most
cases -- and it is expensive. This is
because it takes a great deal of
attorney time to research and present
a winning appeal.
Bogle & Chang thoroughly analyze your case to assess whether
an appeal should be submitted to the court on your behalf. If
you have been convicted of a crime, Bogle & Chang will
aggressively dissect your case to tackle grounds for appealing
your conviction and/or sentence to the Massachusetts Court of
Appeals, Supreme Judicial Court or United States Supreme
Court. Our legal team regularly drafts successful appeals and
other forms of relief for our clients.
What is an Appeal?
Appeals are one of many Post Conviction options for a
defendant. Other options include: Apprendi Case, Changes of
Plea, Motion for a New Trial, Plea Withdrawals, Post-Conviction
Motion, Sentence Appeals, Sentence Modifications, Sentence
Reversals, Writs of Certiorari, Writs of Habeus Corpus, Writs of
An individual who has been convicted of a crime may "appeal"
his or her case, asking a higher court to review certain aspects
of the case for legal error, as to either the conviction itself or the
In an appeal, the defendant argues that, based on key legal
mistakes which affected the jury's decision and/or the sentence
imposed, the case should be dismissed or the appellant should
be re-tried or re-sentenced.
In considering an appeal, the court reviewing the case looks only
at the "record" of the proceedings in the lower court, and does
not consider any new evidence. The record is made up of the
court reporter's transcripts of everything said in court, whether
by the judge, the attorneys, or witnesses. Anything else admitted
into evidence, such as documents or objects, also becomes part
of the record.
In reaching a decision on the appeal, the higher court ("appeals
court") looks to this record and to the written "briefs" filed by both
sides of the appeal. For example, an defendant challenging a
conviction or sentence files an opening brief, arguing how and
why the conviction or sentence was legally incorrect. In turn, the
government files its own brief to illustrate why the conviction or
sentence should be upheld. The defendant typically has an
opportunity to file a second brief in response to the government's
position, and the appellate court may hear oral arguments from
each side before reaching a decision on the appeal.
At both the state and federal court levels, there are many options
for obtaining relief after a criminal conviction or sentence. It may
take a number of months or years for an appeal to be heard and
decided, most states require a defendant to notify the courts and
the government of the intent to appeal very soon after a
conviction or sentence.
The statements above are not legal advice. These statements
are not intended to be a correct statement of law in your
jurisdiction. The statements are intended to give you a very
general understanding of what is involved in this type of crime.
Please consult an attorney to find out what law applies in your
BOGLE & CHANG, LLC
Copyright © 2010 Bogle & Chang, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
BOGLE & CHANG researches, drafts and files
- Motion to Change Plea
- Motion for a New Trial
- Motion to Withdraw Plea
- Motion for Post-Conviction Relief
- Motion to Revise and Revoke Sentence
- Motion to Modify Sentence
- Writs of Mandamus
- Writs of Habeus Corpus
- Writs of Certiorari