When a person is convicted of a crime in Florida, it is important to understand that a judge or jury’s decision is not necessarily the final say. All defendants have the right to file an appeal of these rulings.
Even when that deadline has passed or there may not be grounds for appeal, alleged offenders could still be able to file any number of post-conviction motions. The appellate process is extremely complex and requires the help of knowledgeable legal counsel.
Were you recently convicted of any kind of criminal offense in Florida? You should immediately contact Terrezza Law to explore all of your legal options.
John Terrezza is a criminal defense attorney in Pensacola who files appeals and challenges the decisions of courts for clients in Gulf Breeze, Milton, Navarre, Pensacola Beach, and surrounding areas. Call (850) 764-5291 or complete an online contact form right now to take advantage of a free initial consultation that will let our lawyer review your case.
Criminal appeals are based on how a trial court handled a case. Appellate courts review how the lower courts applied the law but they do not litigate the facts of the original trial for a second time.
In order for alleged offenders to be able to appeal legal errors made during their trials, the defense attorneys generally need to have made some kind of objection to how the trial court handled a certain matter. Some common reasons for appeals include, but are not limited to:
Post-conviction motions are filed with the original trial courts instead of an appellate court. Such motions can be filed if an alleged offender’s direct appeal is unsuccessful.
Post-trial motions may be filed for any one of a number of reasons, including newly discover evidence, improper juror conduct, or a trial court lacking proper jurisdiction. Some motions that may be filed include, but are not limited to a motion to dismiss, motion for new trial, or motion for post-conviction DNA testing.
Every county in Florida has a county court and the state also has 20 circuit courts. Generally, misdemeanors are handled in county courts and felony offenses are heard in the circuit courts.
While county court decisions may be appealed to three-judge appellate panels on circuit courts, most cases are typically appealed to the District Court of Appeal. Florida has five District Courts of Appeal.
Pensacola is in Escambia County, which is in Florida’s First Circuit. The First Circuit is one of six Circuits in Florida’s First District.
Any appeal of a District Court of Appeal decision would have to be filed with the Florida Supreme Court, which is generally the state’s court of last resort. Most trial court decisions that are appealed are never heard by the Florida Supreme Court.
Cases involving federal charges follow a completely different map. Federal criminal cases in Pensacola are handled in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida.
Any appeal of a federal District Court decision is heard in one of 13 United States Courts of Appeals. Each federal appeals court hears cases from within its geographic boundaries, and all three Florida District Courts appeal to the United States Courts of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
The United States Supreme Court can hear appeals of decisions from a United States Courts of Appeals, but rarely does so unless the case is deemed to be a matter of national significance.
Florida First District Court of Appeal — Florida District Courts of Appeal provide appellate review of trial court cases, and the First District handles appeals from the state’s First, Second, Third, Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Circuits. Appeals are usually handled by three-judge panels. On this website, you can find recent court opinions, learn more about the judges, and get answers to frequently asked questions.
Eleventh Circuit | United States Court of Appeals — The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has appellate jurisdiction over all United States District Courts in Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. Similar to Florida, the appeals are usually heard by panels three judges. On this website, you can learn more about rules and procedures of the court, download forms, and read recent opinions.
If you are seeking post-conviction relief in Florida, it is in your best interest to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Terrezza Law handles all kinds of sentencing advocacy issues for clients throughout Santa Rosa County, Escambia County, Okaloosa County, and Walton County.
Pensacola criminal defense attorney John Terrezza handles appeals for various kinds of criminal cases and files writs in cases of extreme urgency. You can have him review your eligibility for appeal or post-conviction motions by calling (850) 764-5291 right now to schedule a free, confidential consultation.