How Successful Are Appeals in Georgia?

How successful are appeals in Georgia? For answers to this and other questions about appeals in Georgia, get in touch with Strickland Webster, LLC.

What Is the Success Rate of Criminal Appeals in Georgia?

Perhaps you or anyone close to you has been convicted by a Georgia superior court judge for a criminal offense. In that case, you could challenge your conviction and sentence at the Georgia Court of Appeals or the Georgia Supreme court, depending on the nature of the case.

By filing an appeal, you’re asking a higher court to look into your trial and determine whether any mistakes of law or fact led to your unfavorable sentence. If the process is successful, you get to walk away a free person or possibly get your previous sentence reduced. If the appeal fails, the justices of the appeal court will uphold the decision of the trial court.

At this point, you might be wondering what the chances of success are for criminal appeals in the state and whether the process is worth it. The short answer is that most criminal appeals in Georgia do not succeed. Regardless it is a chance that is worth taking.

Below we explore recent data on the outcome of appeals filed at the Georgia Court of Appeals to support this position. We also share some ideas that could help you improve your chances of a successful appeal should you choose that path.

The Success Rate of Criminal Appeals at the Georgia Court of Appeals in 2022

 

The Georgia Court of Appeals is the intermediate appellate court in the state. Most criminal appeals are determined there, and only a few cases make it to the Georgia Supreme Court.

In 2022, the Georgia Court of Appeals decided on 735 direct appeals involving criminal cases as follows:

 

Affirmation

The Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment in 339 of the appealed cases. That means that in all those cases, the appeal failed, and the trial court’s decision was upheld.

Dismissal

177 criminal appeals were dismissed. A dismissal usually happens when the appellant has failed to meet a procedural requirement, not necessarily because the appeal was without merit. One of the common reasons for dismissal can be found in Rule 23 of the court’s rules – failure to file an appellant’s brief within the prescribed time.

If your appeal is dismissed, the decision of the trial court stands. But you might be able to file another appeal, depending on the circumstances of the case. You can ask a skilled criminal appeals attorney for clarification if you need help in this area.

Remand

60 of the cases decided by the Georgia Court of Appeals were sent back to the trial courts for further action. A remand may be good, especially when it signifies a new trial. That means you get another chance to fight your charges, produce evidence and argue your case before the judge and jury.

Reversal

A reversal is the best outcome for a criminal appeal. It means that the appeal court completely upturns the trial court’s decision. But the chances of getting an absolute reversal are quite slim. In 2022 it happened only 46 times.

The remaining cases not specifically mentioned here consist of appeals that were transferred, withdrawn, or where the court vacated its previous decision.

How To Improve Your Chances of Succeeding With Your Georgia Criminal Appeal

An appeal is not a new trial. It is a review of the trial that has already happened. As such, an appeal’s outcome largely depends on what transpired during the lower court proceedings and the decisions made by the appellant at that stage.

Hence, those facing trial must seek professional help with their defense to avoid costly mistakes.

If you’ve already been convicted, you might be able to improve your odds by doing the following:

1. Act Quickly

The appeal process in Georgia begins with filing a notice of appeal at the trial court within 30 days from when the adverse judgment was delivered. The time limit is short, so you’ll need to act fast if you intend to exercise your right to appeal. There are ways to extend this time limit, but it is safer to file within time to avoid any issues that could lead to a dismissal of the appeal.

2. Seek Legal Counsel From an Experienced Criminal Appeals Lawyer

The appeal process both at the Georgia Court of Appeals and the Georgia Supreme Court is complex. There are many requirements to meet before your case can be heard and determined on its merits.

Although you can represent yourself, your case would fare better if you let a lawyer with extensive appellate practice experience handle things on your behalf.

A criminal appeals lawyer is not the same as a trial lawyer or criminal defense attorney. Criminal defense lawyers help fight your charges at the trial stage. But an appeals attorney understands the procedure of each appellate court and can positively influence the outcome of your case in several ways, including the following:

  •  They can help you avoid mistakes by preparing and filing the appropriate court documents on your behalf.
  • Every (criminal) appeal must have sufficient grounds, such as jury misconduct, errors of law, or discovery of fresh evidence that could have affected the trial court’s decision, before the appeal can be considered. Sometimes these grounds may be difficult to spot by an untrained eye. A criminal appeals lawyer knows what to look for from the trial records and can always identify good grounds for appeal where they exist.
  • Because they already understand the game, criminal appeal lawyers know how to present written and oral arguments (if necessary) that can sway the judges and convince them to decide in your favor.
  • In some cases filing a direct appeal might be a waste of time, and the convict may need to explore other legal alternatives, such as habeas corpus, to regain their freedom. A skilled appeals lawyer knows how to identify such cases and can help determine the appropriate procedure in such instances.
  • If you’re appealing a federal conviction, a federal appeals lawyer can help you navigate the federal court system and work to ensure a positive outcome for you.

The best part about having quality legal representation is that you get an ally that believes in you and is willing to fight with you until you get the desired outcome.

If you’ve had doubts before now, do not hesitate anymore. Get in touch with skilled criminal appeal lawyers so you can begin the appeal process on the right foot.

The Experienced Criminal Appeals Attorneys at Strickland Webster LLC Can Help You Succeed

 

If you have questions about the criminal appeals process in Georgia or want to explore your options after a criminal conviction, including federal sentence reduction, contact us at Strickland Webster, LLC.

We have a high success rate with criminal appeals and other post-conviction reliefs. With our extensive experience, we could also turn things around for you positively.

Take the first step towards your success by reaching out to us and scheduling a consultation with our outstanding attorneys.