Writs and Appeals
Writs and appeals may apply in many cases, whether criminal or family law, or another area of the law. Many people believe that an appellate court will essentially "rehear" the case, although this is not true. In the majority of cases an appeals court does not hear the case, but instead examines the existing testimony, evidence, and other records used originally at trial to determine whether a mistake may have been made, there was ineffective counsel, or the defendant's legal rights violated in some way.
Essentially, an appeal is a proceeding in which the appellate court reviews the evidence and issues presented at the trial or lower court to ensure the defendant did in fact receive a fair trial. In most cases, the appellate court will not overturn a conviction or decision made by the trial court if the evidence was supportive of the outcome, and the judge at trial applied the laws properly.
On the other hand, a writ is usually a quicker route to resolution than an appeal, and is an interim appeal of a court ruling, typically used when a case remains open or pending. Writs generally challenge the actions or lack of action of a trial court, and commonly include a Writ of Mandate, Writ of Habeus Corpus, Writ of Prohibition, or Writ of Error Coram Nobis.
Regardless of whether a defendant pleads guilty or "no contest" or is found guilty, every individual has a right to appeal, whether the offense was charged as a misdemeanor or felony.
In criminal cases in Beverly Hills and throughout California, those who have not received satisfaction by appealing a conviction or sentence may challenge the outcome with a writ of habeas corpus petition. A Latin phrase, "habeas corpus" translates to "you have the body," with the "body" meaning that of an individual who is in the custody of the state due to allegedly committing a criminal offense. The California Constitution guarantees that any person who has been imprisoned or otherwise restrained due to the actions of the criminal justice system may bring a writ, also referred to as the "Great Write." A writ of habeas corpus is most effective in cases when a defendant who allegedly committed a crime is represented by an attorney who is incompetent, or in a situation where false or fabricated evidence was introduced at trial by the prosecution.
Even when a convicted offender is not challenging a conviction, the writ of habeas corpus is often used in protecting the rights of a prisoner; unfortunately, many who are incarcerated in the state are subject to abuse while behind bars.
To learn more about the complex topic of writs and appeals in Beverly Hills and whether your case may be eligible in either case, contact the Beverly Hills criminal defense attorneys at The Justice Firm immediately.