Grand Junction Legal Assistance with Writs and Appeals
The layman may think that writs and appeals are interchangeable and that both accomplish the same thing. That, however, is far from true. Both are important aspects of our legal system and allow for those imprisoned or found guilty to continue to fight for their right to fair treatment.
The Grand Junction criminal defense lawyers at Peters & Nolan, LLC have a great deal of experience and knowledge when it comes to how our courts operate. We have worked in appellate courts before and know how the system works. Don’t face false imprisonment alone. Don’t allow your trial to conclude with a miscarriage of the law. Call us today at (970) 243-4357 and find out how we can help you.
In modern American court systems, a writ is an order from a higher court that is directed to a lower court or a specific government official. Common forms of writs that you may have heard of or seen include warrants, subpoenas, and prerogative writs. In essence, a writ is a way for a high court to issue a command and make sure that it is followed. They are often complex legal documents, and proper protocols must be followed when issuing one. If you are in a situation where you feel you are entitled to a writ, then you should have proper legal counsel by your side to ensure that the process is airtight and performed properly.
An appeal can be given to a court, asking for a case review either due to a factual mistake with the original trial, or a miscarrying of the law. An appeal can only be filed if the judge presiding over the case has reached a final decision. You cannot file an appeal when a case is still in process. Appeals also do not mean you will be given a new trial. Rather, the appellate court (the court that handles appeal cases) will review the transcript and evidence from your trial and determine whether the error you have appealed about is minor or major. If it is minor, then it is likely there will be no change in your sentence.
While both writs and appeals can be applied to closed court cases in order to change sentencing and correct a major error in a trail, there are some key differences between them. Writs are usually only used in extraordinary circumstances. This means they are only allowed when the defendant has no options, such an appeal, left to them. So, if the defendant is barred from filing an appeal, then they may try to obtain a writ.
There are many reasons why you would not be allowed to file an appeal. Some of the more common ones include:
- An objection was not filed in a timely manner
- The final judgment of the trial has not yet been reached, but the defense needs relief immediately
- Writs are heard more quickly than appeals, so if the matter is urgent or time-sensitive then a writ may be filed
- An appeal has already been lodged, but it was unsuccessful
In the Colorado court system, you have 35 days after a ruling to file your appeal. In federal courts, that deadline is extended to 60 days. Once the initial process has begun, several more deadlines must be hit.
First, the petitioner (or the person sending the appeal) must submit a legal brief of all the supposed errors within the trial. The party receiving the appeal (often called a respondent or appellee) then writes a response.
Second, once the appellate court has received both briefs from the respondent and the petitioner, then it will take the time to look over the arguments and come to a conclusion. There are three possible outcomes.
- There were no errors during the trial
- There were errors, but they are not sufficient to reverse the decision
- There were incredibly serious errors that could be considered “reversible”
In some circumstances, both parties may make oral arguments, however, that is determined by the court and whether or not they are willing to hear said arguments. If they are willing, the petitioner will be the first to argue and answer questions from the court. Once they are finished, the respondent will then go.
Once the court has reviewed all evidence, arguments, and documents given to them, they will decide to either keep the original sentence, order a completely new trial, modify the ruling or sentence, or (in extremely rare cases) throw the case out completely. Occasionally the appellate court will consider new evidence or testimony that was no presented in the trial, but this is rare and not always allowed.
A writ of habeas corpus is an order from a court system to a person, such as a prison warden, or to an agency, in the case of a private prison, that is holding a person in custody to deliver the imprisoned person to the court that has issued the writ.
This writ was specially designed to be used by citizens to get help from the courts in order to keep an institution running a prison or the government in their proper place. If you are falsely imprisoned, it gives you an avenue to be allowed out, rather than being held for weeks, months, or even years. Without the writ of habeas corpus, there may be no way to challenge or protest against those in charge if your imprisonment.
That being said, there is no guarantee that you will receive a writ of habeas corpus. Not all courts are willing to grant them, and it can be a lengthy process to get one.
We at Peters & Nolan, LLC have decades of experience in the court systems. While filing for a writ or appeal may seem daunting to those who don’t understand the process, our attorneys will be able to guide you through it. We know what steps to take, what documents to submit, and what deadlines will need to be met. If you feel your trial was mishandled, and that the law was not followed, call us at (970) 243-4357 and let us fight for you.
Peters & Nolan, LLC is your ideal source for high quality legal representation throughout the state of Colorado. Known for being personable and responsive, attorneys Andrew J. Peters and Andrew Nolan are aggressive trial lawyers with an excellent record of trying and settling cases in criminal defense, DUI/DWAI and personal injury.