Any defendant in California who feels as if they were treated unfairly by the judicial process has a legal right to file an appeal. A criminal appeal is a process where a defendant requests a higher court to review the decision of the lower court where they were already tried. This is not a new trial, but rather an examination of the records from the first trial to determine if any legal mistakes were made that would affect the rights of the defendant.
Timelines and Deadlines
Misdemeanor and felony appeal timelines and deadlines are very different. California misdemeanor appeals must be filed 30 days after the judgment or order of the court. After a record is filed, you must submit an appellate brief on the reason for your appeal within 40 days. Within 30 days after that, the state may file a response brief but is not legally required to do so. After these dates have passed, the court has 90 days to make a ruling.
California felony appeals must be filed within 60 days of the original case. Felony appeals processes take much longer and usually last up to a year. While the process involves the same steps as a misdemeanor appeal, the complexity of the case typically causes felony appeal cases to take longer. After the California Courts of Appeal renders its decision, either party can apply to the Supreme Court of California for a review. The application for a Supreme Court review must be submitted within 10 days of the appellate ruling.
On September 30, 2018, California passed SB1437, which ended a legal doctrine allowing accomplices to murder to go to jail for murders they never committed. Under the new SB1437 law, a person can only be convicted of the crime of murder if the State of California can prove the following:
- The person was the actual killer (not an accomplice)
- The person “aided, abetted, counseled, commanded, induced, solicited, requested, or assisted the actual killer”
- The person was a “major participant in the underlying felony and acted with reckless indifference to human life”
- The victim was a police officer on active duty
- Very significantly, this law is retroactive, making many individuals previously convicted of “felony murder” eligible for resentencing.
Don’t Run Out of Time
Whether SB1437 is a factor in your criminal appeal, or you have a standard misdemeanor or felony appeal, time is always of the essence. Under the current SB1437 law, some people who were convicted of felony murder can legally be eligible to apply for a reduced sentence. If you have a misdemeanor or felony appeal, you have strict deadlines you need to meet as well.
Contact an Attorney Today
Contact the Law Office of Stein & Markus to discuss your legal right to appeal. Our defense attorneys can help you in the appeal process and determine if an SB1437 petition is appropriate in your case. Contact us to discuss your appeal rights at (562) 512-7030 or online today.
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