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Criminal Appeals

Appeal ServicesAfter conviction comes one of the most important decisions in a criminal case: whether to file for an appeal, a Writ of Habeas Corpus, or some other application or motion to meaningfully navigate the legal system. A Los Angeles criminal appeals attorney from Power Trial Lawyers can help you decide the best course of action.

We have experience with the following areas of criminal law:

You may have options whether you were wrongfully convicted, evidence was improperly admitted or excluded in your trial, or you didn’t have adequate counsel. If you believe your conviction is wrong, you should fight for your freedom.

Sometimes there’s a miscarriage of justice during a trial, but most of the time there are unintentional errors made, such as:

  • Incorrect laws applied to your case
  • Evidence withheld that would have benefited you
  • Presented evidence that shouldn’t have been allowed
  • Inappropriate sentence for the crime they charged you with
  • The jury was confused by the judge’s instructions regarding your case

You should realize that not liking your trial outcome isn’t a good reason for an appeal. There must be legal mistakes that directly impacted the sentencing you received or the jury’s verdict. When you file an appeal, you’re not allowed to use new evidence. You can only use the record and evidence from your original trial.

Below are the cases we handle.

Criminal Appeals

The system does not always get it right. Whether improper judgment was applied, or there was substantial bias, do not forego your opportunity to appeal a conviction with the help of a Los Angeles criminal appeals attorney.

A good appeal takes an artful approach. For it to be successful, you must understand and follow appellate procedure. Appellate procedure includes rules and practices appellate courts use when reviewing judgments from trial court. The main themes this procedure focuses on include:

  • Appealable judgments
  • How appeals get brought before the court
  • Requirements for reversing the lower court’s decision
  • Procedures that the parties have to follow

First, the notice of appeal must be timely filed. You only have thirty days from the time of your misdemeanor judgment or order. If you want a chance at a new trial, you can’t miss the deadline. Late applications are never accepted.

Second, the California Superior Court must prepare official transcripts to document all the evidence and testimony. Third, the opening brief gets filed, and the court accepts arguments and analysis on the lower court’s ruling. The prosecution will have an opportunity to file a responsible brief attacking the arguments made to our opening brief on your behalf. Lastly, two phases occur – Oral arguments and petition for review.

The First Step Act: What it is and What it Does

The First Step Act was made a law in December 2018. It allows nonviolent criminal offenders a chance to reduce their sentences. Under this act, there are three main components: correctional reform, sentencing reform, and reauthorization or the 2007 Second Chance Act.

Correctional Reform

Under the First Step Act, it’s a requirement that the Department of Justice (DOJ) addresses recidivism among inmates in federal prisons by:

  • Developing a risk and needs assessment for the Bureau of Prisons (BOP); and
  • Placing inmates into programs that can reduce recidivism risk.

Inmates participating in the program earn credits that can make them eligible for release earlier than possible under other circumstances. This prerelease custody could take place in a Residential Reentry Center or as confinement in a home.

Sentencing Reform

Changes for penalties issued to federal offenders include:

  • A higher number of prior convictions for repeat drug offenders to trigger mandatory minimum sentencing;
  • Reducing a mandatory life sentence to 25 years for offenders with two or more prior qualifying convictions;
  • Reducing the 20-year mandatory minimum sentence to a 15-year minimum for offenders with only one prior qualifying conviction;
  • Eliminating the stacking provision that comes with a 25-year mandatory minimum; and
  • Expanding the safety valve provision that allows courts to sentence nonviolent drug offenders to a lesser sentence than the mandatory minimum.

Reauthorization of the 2007 Second Chance Act

  • Careers Training Demonstration Grants;
  • The Community-Based Mentoring and Transitional Service Grants to Nonprofit Organizations Programs;
  • The Adult Juvenile State and Local Offender Demonstration Program;
  • The Offender Reentry Substance Abuse and Criminal Justice Collaboration Program; and
  • Grants for Family-Based Substance Abuse Treatment.

Other provisions included in the First Step Act are:

  • A way for employees to store firearms safely on BOP grounds;
  • Changing the calculation of good time credit, so inmates earn 54 days for each year of their imposed sentence instead of each year of time served;
  • Prohibit restraints on inmates that are pregnant and in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service and BOP;
  • Allow the Federal Prison Industries to sell products for use in correctional facilities, emergency response, disaster relief, to nonprofit organizations, and the District of Columbia government;
  • BOP must help prisoners obtain identification before their release; and
  • BOP tries to place inmates within 500 miles from their primary residence.
Writ of Habeas Corpus

A Writ of Habeas Corpus is Latin for “production of the body”. Our team of Los Angeles criminal appeals lawyers uses the Writ of Habeas Corpus to challenge the lawfulness of imprisonment (why someone’s imprisonment may not be lawful at all), conditions of confinement, or other actual or constructive restraint on personal liability.

If you believe law enforcement detained you unlawfully, you have the right to challenge their basis for incarceration, the conditions of your imprisonment, and the duration you spend behind bars. The petition you send to the court to review and make a decision regarding your circumstances is called a Writ of Habeas Corpus.

If the court decides to approve your petition, the law enforcement agency will have to prove that your detention is valid and the conditions you’re in are lawful. When you file this petition, you’re asking the court for the following:

  • Reduction of your incarceration term
  • Declaration of and respect your rights
  • Release you from the custody of law enforcement
  • Stop or correct illegal conditions

Power Trial Lawyers looks to challenge the validity of the defendant’s conviction or sentence. The most attractive thing about this option is that you can introduce new and additional evidence when available. However, there are complex timelines when and how a Writ of Habeas Corpus may get filed. Consult with an experienced Los Angeles criminal appeals attorney to ensure competence.

Generally, this is a six-step process: First, we file the Writ of Habeas Corpus. Second, the court evaluates the petition. Third, the court may order an “Order to Show Cause”. Fourth, the court will order the prosecution to respond. Fifth, the court may order oral arguments, where we will zealously advocate for your rights. And lastly, the court will issue a decision on the writ.

It’s essential to understand the difference between a criminal appeal and Writ of Habeas Corpus. Your Los Angeles criminal appeals lawyer can explain the difference in detail.

You can’t use a Writ of Habeas Corpus to appeal a guilty verdict in a criminal case. You have to accomplish that through the appeals process in a criminal court. Filing a petition might be the right choice if you’ve exhausted the federal or state appeals process. You won’t be able to overturn your conviction, but you can look for evidence of unlawful imprisonment, duration, or conditions.

SB1437 (Senate Bill SB1437 or Penal Code § 1170.95)

SB1437 is a law for California inmates that allows the accused convicted under the previous “Felony-Murder” rule to apply for a sentence reduction.

To win your SB1437 application, you should generally have representation by respected counsel. The Power Trial Lawyers team has personally won many SB1437 applications and has successfully resentenced clients. You must win during three stages: (1) the Prima Facie stage, (2) the Order to Show Cause stage, and ultimately, the resentencing stage.

The Prima Facie stage is where we will litigate whether you meet the bare-bones criteria of SB1437. Once you are successful during Prima Facie, the court will shift the burden to the prosecution to show evidence you do not succeed. During this phase, you need competent Los Angeles criminal appeals attorneys by your side. Lastly, the court will then resentence you to a lower crime, if successful during the first two stages.

Other Post-Conviction Items Assembly Bill 2942, Penal Code § 1170(d), Commutation of Sentence

If you don’t like how the court has treated your case, there may be alternate, and potentially successful ways to reduce or commute your sentence. Here, the law focuses on your character versus your crime. Things taken into account are whether you can reintegrate into society. If so, whether you will be a productive member of society. Whether you show remorse for your crimes and have been a model inmate.

If brought artfully and to the right agency, your application to reduce or commute your sentence may substantially increase. Ensure to hire a top-notch Los Angeles criminal appeals attorney in bringing about your character-based application.

Why You Need a Los Angeles Criminal Appeals Lawyer

There’s always a risk when someone decides to represent themselves in their case. Filing an appeal and all the steps that come after it is confusing and overwhelming to handle alone. It’s impossible to keep track of all the deadlines and laws that dictate the procedures you must follow.

When you hire a Los Angeles criminal appeals attorney from Power Trial Lawyers, we will take care of everything for you. We’ll file the appeal on your behalf, gather relevant documentation, and walk you through the entire process from start to finish. You won’t have to carry the burden of fighting for your freedom alone.

Anyone facing severe penalties or time in prison is usually emotional and can’t think clearly. You need someone on your side who will use logic and legal knowledge to get the job done. Our legal team has the experience, skills, and resources to effectively represent our clients and make sure we keep your best interests in mind. More importantly, we understand you’re dealing with a stressful situation, and we’ll be here to provide you with emotional support.

Contact Power Trial Lawyers Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

The Los Angeles criminal appeals lawyers from Power Trial Lawyers will dedicate their time and attention to your case. We don’t want to see you suffer because of the mistake someone made during your trial. You deserve to seek justice with the help of a competent and honest criminal defense team.

We believe in providing top-notch client services, which is why we offer a free consultation to anyone considering hiring a Los Angeles criminal appeals attorney. If you need legal advice and assistance to figure out your next move, we will meet with you at no risk.

You can depend on the legal professionals at Power Trial Lawyers to approach your case with great care and detail. We know we hold your life in our hands, and we will fight hard to try to win your appeal. To find out how a Los Angeles criminal appeals lawyer can help you, call us at (213) 800-7664 today.

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