Issues I've raised in previous appeals include:
Whether Collateral Estoppel applies to allegations of violations of conditions of probation alleged in a second or subsequent revocation proceeding after the Court ruled on the alleged violations in a primary revocation proceeding after which Client's probation was continued. [5th Court of Appeals declined to rule on question]
Is the evidence legally insufficient to support the verdict since the State failed to present evidence that the Appellant’s conviction in Louisiana was substantially similar to a Texas Reportable Offense to trigger his requirement to register as a sex offender in Texas? [Court of Criminal Appeals vacated and remanded to 5th Court of Appeals after 5th Court of Appeals affirmed conviction. Opinion on remand pending]
Did the Trial Court err in instructing the Jury that as a matter of law Sexual Battery in Louisiana is substantially similar to Sexual Assault in Texas and submitting to the Jury a charge related to the second charging paragraph in the indictment? [Court of Criminal Appeals vacated and remanded to 5th Court of Appeals after 5th Court of Appeals affirmed conviction. Opinion on remand pending]
Did the Court Err in denying the Appellant’s Motion For Mistrial after the State elicited evidence in violation of the Court’s ruling on the Defense’s Motion In Limine restricting the State’s ability to inquire into extraneous allegations of bad acts committed by Appellant? [5th Court of Appeals found error harmless]
Whether the Court erred in limiting the presentation of evidence by the Appellant during the second punishment hearing related to the underlying facts and circumstances of the offense? [Error harmless]
Whether the Court erred in admitting evidence of the Appellant’s statements made while in the Intensive Care Unit where the procedure used to obtain those statements failed to comply with §38.22. [No error under these facts]
Whether the Court erred in denying the Motion for Writ of Habeas Corpus and allowing the second prosecution of Appellant for murder in violation of the Double Jeopardy Clause where the Writ of Habeas Corpus was improperly docketed as a pre-trial motion and is otherwise barred from appellate review. [Improper docketing constitutes waiver of issue]
The facts and circumstances of your case are unique, and the issue(s) and/or error(s) that occur will also be unique, however, there are standard procedures, discussed below.
An individual in Texas convicted of a crime has 30 days in State Court and 10 days in Federal Court to file a notice of appeal. If you wish to appeal a conviction after a trial, you should contact an attorney immediately because time is of the essence.
What is a Criminal Appeal?
A criminal appeal is a review of the trial court’s findings to determine whether the rulings were fair and appropriate. Article 44.02 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure provides for a criminal defendant in Texas the opportunity to appeal a conviction. Generally, the appellate courts only review the actions made by the trial judge. This basically means the appellate court reviews rulings made either before or during trial to determine if they were correct.
Appeals argue points of law, not facts. The goal is to determine whether the law was appropriately applied to the facts of your case. It is critical that the trial attorney for the criminal defendant timely preserve issues for appeal at the trial court level and properly present them to the appellate court. Failure to do so will result in automatic denial of relief on those issues under the rules of appellate procedure. This is why it is EXTREMELY vital to hire an experienced and effective attorney for your trial. Even if a ruling is contrary to what is good law, a lawyer should timely object to preserve the error for an appeal. If it is not properly objected to and preserved in the appellate record, the issue is considered waived and cannot result in the reversal of the conviction even where the conviction is otherwise improper.
In Texas, the original criminal appeal goes to one of the Courts of Appeal. There are 14 Courts of Appeals in Texas, each of which hears both criminal appeals and civil appeals.
There are fourteen districts of the Texas Courts of Appeals:
• First Court of Appeals of Texas- Houston (formerly Galveston), covering Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Grimes, Harris, Waller, and Washington counties;
• Second Court of Appeals of Texas - Fort Worth, covering Archer, Clay, Cooke, Denton, Hood, Jack, Montague, Parker, Tarrant, Wichita, Wise, and Young counties;
• Third Court of Appeals of Texas - Austin, covering Bastrop, Bell, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Coke, Comal, Concho, Fayette, Hays, Irion, Lampasas, Lee, Llano, McCulloch, Milam, Mills, Runnels, San Saba, Schleicher, Sterling, Tom Green, Travis, and Williamson counties;
• Fourth Court of Appeals of Texas - San Antonio, covering Atascosa, Bandera, Bexar, Brooks, Dimmit, Duval, Edwards, Frio, Gillespie, Guadalupe, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kendall, Kerr, Kimble, Kinney, La Salle, Mason, Maverick, McMullen, Medina, Menard, Real, Starr, Sutton, Uvalde, Val Verde, Webb, Wilson, Zapata, and Zavala counties;
• Fifth Court of Appeals of Texas - Dallas, covering Collin, Dallas, Grayson, Hunt, Kaufman, and Rockwall counties;
• Sixth Court of Appeals of Texas - Texarkana, covering Bowie, Camp, Cass, Delta, Fannin, Franklin, Gregg, Harrison, Hopkins, Hunt, Lamar, Marion, Morris, Panola, Red River, Rusk, Titus, Upshur, and Wood counties;
• Seventh Court of Appeals of Texas - Amarillo, covering Armstrong, Bailey, Briscoe, Carson, Castro, Childress, Cochran, Collingsworth, Cottle, Crosby, Dallam, Deaf Smith, Dickens, Donley, Floyd, Foard, Garza, Gray, Hale, Hall, Hansford, Hardeman, Hartley, Hemphill, Hockley, Hutchinson, Kent, King, Lamb, Lipscomb, Lubbock, Lynn, Moore, Motley, Ochiltree, Oldham, Parmer, Potter, Randall, Roberts, Sherman, Swisher, Terry, Wheeler, Wilbarger, and Yoakum counties;
• Eighth Court of Appeals of Texas - El Paso, covering Andrews, Brewster, Crane, Crockett, Culberson, El Paso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Loving, Pecos, Presidio, Reagan, Reeves, Terrell, Upton, Ward, and Winkler counties;
• Ninth Court of Appeals of Texas - Beaumont, covering Hardin, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Montgomery, Newton, Orange, Polk, San Jacinto, and Tyler counties;
• Tenth Court of Appeals of Texas - Waco, covering Bosque, Brazos, Burleson, Coryell, Ellis, Falls, Freestone, Hamilton, Hill, Johnson, Leon, Limestone, Madison, McLennan, Navarro, Robertson, Somervell, and Walker counties;
• Eleventh Court of Appeals of Texas - Eastland, covering Baylor, Borden, Brown, Callahan, Coleman, Comanche, Dawson, Eastland, Ector, Erath, Fisher, Gaines, Glasscock, Haskell, Howard, Jones, Knox, Martin, Midland, Mitchell, Nolan, Palo Pinto, Scurry, Shackelford, Stephens, Stonewall, Taylor, and Throckmorton counties;
• Twelfth Court of Appeals of Texas - Tyler, covering Anderson, Angelina, Cherokee, Gregg, Henderson, Houston, Nacogdoches, Rains, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby, Smith, Trinity, Upshur, Van Zandt, and Wood counties;
• Thirteenth Court of Appeals of Texas - Corpus Christi, covering Aransas, Bee, Calhoun, Cameron, De Witt, Goliad, Gonzales, Hidalgo, Jackson, Kenedy, Kleberg, Lavaca, Live Oak, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria, Wharton, and Willacy counties;
• Fourteenth Court of Appeals of Texas - Houston, covering Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Grimes, Harris, Waller, and Washington counties.
Court of Criminal Appeals
If a case is appealed from one of the 14 Courts of Appeals, it then would be heard, at the discretion of the Court, by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is Texas' highest court for criminal cases. The Court consists of a Presiding Judge and eight Judges. The judges are elected by voters from the entire state, and hold terms of six years.
How Do You File an Appeal?
A criminal appeal is started by filing a notice of appeal following a conviction. This does not have to be anything substantial, usually just a statement that you want to appeal, what you are appealing from, and which court of appeals will hear the appeal. The notice of Appeal is filed with the Clerk's office for the court you were convicted in. They will then send the notice of appeal, along with other information about the case to the court of appeals. In Texas, the notice of appeal in a criminal case must be filed within 30 days of the date you are sentenced (unless a motion for a new trial was filed, in which case you must file notice of a direct appeal within 90 days of conviction).