Filing for an Appeal
Even if you are convicted of a crime at trial, the legal fight is not necessarily over. The law identifies two different types of appeal: “appeal of right” and “permissive appeals.” Permissive appeals may or not be considered – it is up to the court to decide. Appeals of right are guaranteed. For example, if you have been convicted of a crime, you have a guaranteed right to have your appeal considered in court.
Courts that consider these motions are called appellate courts. Every court in Wisconsin below the state Supreme Court has an appellate court above it. The person filing an appeal is called the appellant. To have his or her case heard, he or she must file an “appellant’s brief,” a document which outlines the arguments and desired outcome of his or her case.
If a person appeals his or her conviction, the appellate court will decide on one of three outcomes. They might affirm the decision of the lower court, meaning that the appellant’s conviction and sentence will not change. They may reverse the decision of the lower court, which generally means granting the appellant a new trial. Last, they may modify the decision of the lower court. This could mean reducing or otherwise changing the appellant’s sentence.
An appellate court is not the place to present new facts or evidence. These courts are generally limited to considering the facts presented in the original trial. This means that witnesses and new testimony are not required in an appellate court. If new evidence that may help you arises after your conviction, you can request a new trial from the appellate court. New facts will be presented at this new trial.
Appeals can also be filed before a trial even begins – for example, a person can appeal for certain evidence to be suppressed or submitted. However, this type of appeal is considered a “permissive appeal,” and so it is often not granted.