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Ch 20 Appeals Process
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Ch 20 Appeals Process Ch 20 Appeals Process Presentation Transcript

  • Scheb and Scheb, Criminal Law and Procedure 7 th edition Chapter 20 Appeal and Postconviction Release
  • Appellate Courts
    • Intermediate Appellate Courts
      • Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals
      • United States Courts of Appeals
        • Sixth Circuit
    • Courts of Last Resort
      • Tennessee Supreme Court
      • United States Supreme Court
  • The Nature of Appellate Review
    • While appellate courts review the legal sufficiency of evidence, they do not attempt to second-guess the factual determinations of trial judges and juries.
    • Rather, appellate courts review such procedural issues as denial of fair trial, denial of counsel, admission of illegal evidence, and improper jury instructions.
    • Appellate courts focus on errors of consequence, often overlooking so-called harmless errors.
  • Rights to Appellate Review
    • Appeal by right
      • Statutory, not constitutional right
    • Discretionary Review
      • Writ of certiorari
    • Postconviction Relief
      • Habeas Corpus
  • The Appellate Process
    • Functions of Appellate Courts:
      • Error Correction
      • Law Development
  • The Appeals Process
    • Notice of Appeal
      • Assignments of Error
    • Transmittal of Record
    • Appellant’s Brief
    • Appellee's Brief
    • Oral Argument
    • Conference and Decision
    • Appellate Opinions
    • Motion for En Banc Rehearing
    • Petition for Certiorari
  • Notice of appeal
    • The party who lost in the trial court (appellant) files a notice of appeal.
    • The notice of appeal contains one or more assignments of error, i.e., particular points to be reviewed by the appellate court.
      • Harmless Error Doctrine
  • Transmittal of Record
    • The clerk of the trial court transmits to the appellate court the record of the trial and the testimony as transcribed by the court reporter.
  • Appellant’s Brief
    • The appellant files a brief outlining the background and facts of the case, the issues being raised on appeal, with argument and citations to the law designed to persuade the appellate court that the trial court erred in some harmful way in rulings on the law, procedure, or evidence.
  • Appellee’s Brief
    • The party who prevailed in the trial court (appellee) files a brief seeking to refute the appellant’s contention and the appellant then files a reply brief attempting to refute the appellee’s position.
  • Oral Argument
    • Lawyers for both parties appear before the court to make oral presentations and answer questions from the bench.
  • Conference and Decision
    • The judges meet in private conference to render a decision. The decision rule is: majority rule. However, many decisions in routine appeals are unanimous.
    • Most appellate decisions affirm trial court actions, but some reverse the trial judge’s rulings and require new orders to be entered or a new trial be held.
  • Appellate Opinions
    • The opinion expressing the judgment of the court and the reasoning in support of the court’s legal conclusions is called the Opinion of the Court or the majority opinion.
    • These opinions are precedents that guide trial judges on how to rule in future cases.
    • In some instances, a judge who disagrees with the majority of the judges files a dissenting opinion.
    • Also, a judge may file a concurring opinion or an opinion concurring in the judgment only.
  • Motion for Rehearing
    • The appellate court decides any motions for rehearing by the appellant or appellee.
    • If, as in most cases, the court denies such motions, it issues a mandate that requires the parties and the trial judge to follow the court’s decision.
  • Discretionary Review
    • When convictions are upheld on appeal, defendants may petition higher appellate courts for further review.
    • Such review is available at the discretion of the higher court.
    • Usually this involves a petition for certiorari.
  • Petition for Certiorari
    • Directed to a higher appellate court which has discretion to grant or deny the petition.
    • The party filing the cert petition is the “petitioner.”
    • The other party is the “respondent.”
    • If the higher court accepts the petition, the appellate process is repeated in the higher court.
  • Review by US Supreme Court
    • The Supreme Court currently receives over eight thousand cert petitions a year from defendants whose convictions have been affirmed by the United States Courts of Appeals or the highest appellate tribunals of the states.
    • The Supreme Court is able to review only a small percentage of these cases (less than 100; roughly 1%).
    • These tend to be the most difficult cases involving the most significant legal questions or cases where the lower courts are in conflict.
  • Postconviction Relief
    • A person who has been convicted of a crime, has exhausted all normal appellate remedies, and is confined to prison may still challenge his or her conviction, sentence, or conditions of confinement by filing a petition for a writ of habeas corpus.
    • Habeas corpus is an ancient common-law device that permits judges to review the legality of someone’s confinement.
    • In modern American criminal procedure, habeas corpus has become a way for prisoners who have exhausted all other avenues of appeal to attempt to obtain further judicial review.
  • Postconviction Relief (cont.)
    • A federal prisoner petitions the appropriate federal district court for habeas corpus relief.
    • Under most state statutes, state prisoners may file habeas corpus petitions or other similar petitions for postconviction relief with the appropriate state courts.
    • Under federal law, a state prisoner who wishes to raise a federal constitutional issue may petition a federal district court for habeas corpus relief.
  • Types of Issues Raised on Postconviction Relief
    • Actual Innocence—New Exculpatory Evidence
      • Herrera v. Collins (1993)
    • Competency to be Executed
      • Ford v. Wainwright (1986)
      • Robert Glen Coe case (1979-2000)
    • Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
      • Nearly half of all federal habeas cases raise this issue!
      • Strickland v.Washington (1984)
  • Federal Habeas Corpus Review
    • Habeas Corpus Act of 1867
    • Warren Court Expands Federal Habeas Corpus Review of State Cases
      • Fay v. Noia (1963)
      • Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)
      • Sheppard v. Maxwell (1966)
    • Burger and Rehnquist Courts narrow scope of federal habeas relief.
    • Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
      • Felker v. Turpin (1996)
  • Appeals in Death Penalty Cases
    • “ The most far-reaching study of the death penalty in the United States has found that two out of three sentences were overturned on appeal, mostly because of serious errors by incompetent defense lawyers or overzealous police officers and prosecutors who withheld evidence.”
      • FOX BUTTERFIELD, “Death Sentences Being Overturned in 2 of 3 Appeals.” New York Times, June 12, 2000
      • http://partners.nytimes.com/library/national/061200death-penalty.html
    • “ The study, an examination of appeals in all capital cases from the time the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty, in 1976, to 1995, also found that 75 percent of the people whose death sentences were set aside were later given lesser sentences after retrials, in plea bargains or by order of a judge. An additional 7 percent were found not guilty on retrial.”
    • “ Eighteen percent were given the death penalty on retrial, but many of these had their convictions overturned again in the appeals process.”
      • FOX BUTTERFIELD, “Death Sentences Being Overturned in 2 of 3 Appeals.” New York Times, June 12, 2000
      • http://partners.nytimes.com/library/national/061200death-penalty.html
  • Robert Glen Coe: Timeline of the Appeals Process
    • 1979
      • Sept. 1 - Cary Ann Medlin is abducted a few blocks from her Greenfield, Tenn., home. Her body is found in a field the next day.
      • Sept. 4 - Police arrest Robert Glen Coe in Huntingdon, Tenn., as he prepares to board a bus to Georgia.
    • 1981
      • May - Coe sentenced to death for first-degree murder and given life sentences for aggravated rape and aggravated kidnapping.
  • Robert Glen Coe Appeals Process (cont.)
    • 1983
      • The Tennessee Supreme Court affirms the judgment.
    • 1984
      • The U.S. Supreme Court denies review.
      • Coe files for post-conviction relief, saying his attorneys did not present an adequate defense.
    • 1986
      • The trial court denies Coe's petition. The state Court of Criminal Appeals upholds that decision.
  • Robert Glen Coe Appeals Process (cont.)
    • 1987
      • Coe files for a writ of habeas corpus in federal court.
    • 1989
      • The request is denied two years later for failure to exhaust state remedies.
      • Coe files a second state post-conviction petition, which is denied six months later, affirmed on appeal and denied review by state Supreme Court.
  • Robert Glen Coe Appeals Process (cont.)
    • 1992
      • Coe files second federal petition for writ of habeas corpus, citing constitutional errors in his trial.
    • 1996
      • U.S. Dist. Court Judge John Nixon overturns Coe's conviction and death sentence, citing improper jury instructions and other errors throughout the trial.
    • 1998
      • After reviewing an appeal by Tennessee, three-judge panel of the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati reverses Nixon and on Nov. 16 reinstates Coe's conviction and death sentence.
  • Robert Glen Coe Appeals Process (cont.)
    • 1999
      • March 15 - Sixth Circuit refuses Coe's petition to have his case reviewed by the full panel of judges.
      • Also in March, the Tennessee Supreme Court denies Coe's third post-conviction petition, which had been filed in 1995 and denied by the lower courts.
      • Oct. 4 - The U.S. Supreme Court gives the go-ahead for Coe to be executed on Oct. 19.
      • Oct. 11 - Tennessee Supreme Court delays Coe's execution to allow his appeal for reconsideration to the U.S. Supreme Court by Oct. 29.
  • Robert Glen Coe Appeals Process (cont.)
    • 2000
      • January 5: Trial judge grants mental hearing for Coe
      • February 3: Judge clears Coe for execution
      • March 7: State supreme court OK's Coe's execution
      • April 19: Coe is executed by lethal injection