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Sadly our justice system is a flawed machine: guilty people will go free and innocent people will be wrongfully convicted. Luckily, there are appellate procedures in place that wrongfully convicted individuals may pursue to rectify mistakes that often occur during the criminal process.
Anytime a person is convicted of a criminal offense in Oklahoma, it is advisable to pursue a direct appeal. Consulting with an experienced criminal appeals attorney can be the difference between spending one’s life behind bars and putting a false criminal conviction in the past. More information can be found here in regard to the Court of Criminal Appeals.
The lawyer you choose may or may not be the same defense attorney who represented you at the trial level. A Defendant may keep his or her original attorney, or the Defendant may instead choose to retain an experienced Oklahoma City criminal appellate lawyer. Often times, the errors which occurred at the criminal trial necessitate that the Defendant hire a new attorney to take an objective and unbiased look at the trial as a whole.
Still, not every error at trial is actionable. Legal errors which do not impact the verdict are considered merely “harmless errors,” and will have no effect.
There are many different contexts in which an appeal may arise. One may need to file an application to withdraw the guilty plea or possibly wage a direct appeal from a conviction pursuant to a jury trial or an adverse ruling from a trial judge. Regardless, there are certain requirements that are specific to each situation.
The Oklahoma statutes discuss a Defendant’s right as follows:
A defendant has the right to petition as a matter of right from any judgment against him, which shall be taken as herein provided; and any decision of the court or intermediate order made in the progress of the case may be reviewed; provided further, all appeals taken from any conviction on a plea of guilty shall be taken by petition for writ of certiorari to the Court of Criminal Appeals, as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, provided, such petition must be filed within ninety (90) days from the date of said conviction. The Court of Criminal Appeals may take jurisdiction of any case for the purpose of correcting the records when the same do not disclose judgment and sentence; such jurisdiction shall be for the sole purpose of correcting such defect or defects.
The procedure for the filing shall be as provided in the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals; and the Court of Criminal Appeals shall provide by court rules, which will have the force of statute, and be in furtherance of this method: (1) The procedure to be followed by the trial courts in the preparation and authentication of transcripts and records in cases appealed under this act; (2) the procedure to be followed for the completion and submission of the appeal taken hereunder; and (3) the procedure to be followed for filing a petition for and the issuance of a writ of certiorari.
The scope of review to be afforded on certiorari shall be prescribed by the Court.
There are many nuances and guidelines that must be strictly adhered to when filing in Oklahoma. As such, the attorney you trust must be well-versed with the different requirements.
There are major misconceptions generally as to what remedies an appellate court may order. The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals cannot summarily reverse a trial court decision and immediately rectify the harm to Defendant by removing him from jeopardy. The appellate court may reverse, modify, or affirm a judgment or sentence. If necessary, the court may also order a new trial or re-sentencing by remanding the case back down to the trial court level. In such instances, the court will usually remand the case with specific instructions to the trial court as well. If the verdict or sentence is affirmed, then the Defendant must turn his or her focus to other appellate avenues, such as an application for Post-Conviction Relief.
If you or a loved one has been convicted of a crime in Oklahoma, time is of the essence. There are numerous filing and petition deadlines which must be met in order for your appeal to proceed correctly. You need an experienced Oklahoma appeal attorney, and you need one today. Call the Law Offices of Adam R. Banner, P.C., and get in touch with an accomplished lawyer ready to fully fight for your rights. Call us today at (405) 778-4800 for a free consultation.