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Criminal Appeals

Hiring an attorney is a personal decision. Be sure to choose an attorney who makes you feel comfortable and is experienced.

Alex Perez is a very successful appellate attorney who is able to find justice where others could not and win the cases. Mr. Perez learned and developed strategies that will help challenging a conviction or reducing a sentence on appeal.

An appellate court is a court that hears cases, in which a lower court has already made a decision, and a party in the case wants to challenge the ruling based upon some legal grounds to be appealed. Judges are human and, on occasion, can make mistakes in their rulings. Innocent defendants may receive unfair sentences. Wrongful convictions can occur as a result of errors made during the trial. Thankfully, the law provides a remedy by allowing appeals. A verdict can be reversed, or a new trial granted, by seeking an appeal and the assistance of an experienced attorney.

Trial errors can be made in a number of ways:
  • Evidence may have been used against the person but shouldn't have been allowed
  • Evidence that might have helped the person may have been kept out wrongfully
  • The wrong laws may have been used
  • An attorney may have made an inappropriate argument
  • The jury instructions may have confused the jurors
  • The sentence may not have been appropriate for the crime
  • The trial court may have excluded defense evidence that should have been heard by the jury
  • The trial court may have permitted the jury to hear prosecution evidence that should have been excluded
  • Prosecutors can make unintentional errors or engage in intentional misconduct
  • Defense attorneys can make mistakes which deprive the defendant of the effective assistance of counsel
Mr. Perez will review the record and reports to make sure no issue was missed. The record and reports will provide the information he will need to challenge the conviction through the use of writs and appeals. Under California law, a criminal appeal must be filed within 60 days of sentencing. The criminal appeal process is designed to give defendants a second chance to present their case in front of a higher court.

The entire process starts by formally filing a notice of appeal in the court where a conviction or ruling occurred and then actually filing the appeal with the appropriate appellate court. After that, a copy of all the criminal trial papers and testimony are gathered and filed with the appropriate California Court of Appeals.
  • Notice of appeal is filed, the "record on appeal," or transcripts, are prepared and filed by a court clerk and reporter.
  • Appellant's opening brief is then prepared by the attorney, who has found the errors, researched the relevant law and cases, and written a brief containing the "grounds for appeal;" the reasons why the decisions should be overruled.
  • A "respondent's brief" is then filed by the prosecution, and then the appellate lawyer may file an "appellant's reply brief" in response to the prosecutor's arguments.
  • Three judges in the Court of Appeal then hear "oral arguments" on both sides.
  • Months after the arguments, the court makes its decision or gives an "opinion" in the case.


A conviction after a trial should be attacked with the use of an Appeal and a writ. There are time limits within which an appeal and a writ should be filed; that is why it is so important that an experienced appellate attorney like Mr. Perez start to work on the case as soon as possible after a conviction. Delaying beyond these time limits may prevent you from filing an appeal.

Generally, an appeal challenges the conviction by challenging what occurred during the trial or other hearings. An appeal is a request to a higher court to change a decision made by a lower court. This request must be made within a limited period of time after a lower court conviction and must meet certain requirements to be considered. A higher court will also examine whether the judgment of the lower court was proper in light of the evidence presented at trial. No new evidence is admitted in a California state or Federal criminal appeal unless there are exceptional circumstances.

A Writ, on the other hand, appeals the conviction by challenging what did not occur during the trial or other hearings. It primarily attacks the job the defense attorney did or, more importantly, did not do. The performance of the defense attorney is challenged. The witnesses he refused to interview, or did interview but did not call to trial for no apparent reason. It also attacks the motions he did not file, the arguments he did not make, the jury instructions he did not request, etc. Although a writ does not necessarily overturn a prior conviction, it can be used to provide significant relief to a sentence or criminal penalty.

What is a Writ of Habeas Corpus? A Writ of Habeas Corpus is a constitutionally guaranteed right for an individual to challenge the conditions of his or her criminal sentence. It is typically used to challenge the illegal imprisonment of an individual and is an important tool in reducing the severity of criminal sentences.


The attack on a conviction starts in the state courts. The issues that exist must first be presented to a state court before it can be filed in a Federal Court. A conviction can be challenged in state court by reason of the fact that it violates the United States Constitution, California Constitution, or a law in California. Before the conviction can be challenged in a Federal Court, the California Supreme Court must be given an opportunity to look at the issues. Once the California Supreme Court is finished with the case, the conviction can be challenged in Federal Court.

A conviction can only be challenged in Federal Court by reason of the fact that it violates the United States Constitution. Mr. Perez will know how to frame a violation of the California Constitution, or of a law in California, into a violation of the United States Constitution, if it is possible.


If you have been wrongfully convicted of a crime, you should make every effort possible to challenge a wrongful conviction. Similarly, if you feel your sentence is not a fair one, challenging your conviction could result in a better outcome. An experienced appellate attorney can determine if your case is a candidate for appeal. In order to find out whether you should appeal, contact appellate attorney Alex B. Perez right away at (714) 961-1966 Mr. Perez handles appeals throughout the State of California.




1440 N. Harbor Blvd., Ste. 900, Fullerton, CA 92835, Phone: (714) 961-1966, Fax: (714) 961-1972

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