Many people are under the impression that the Texas Appellate court goes back, drudges up, and reviews all of the facts in your case when they consider your appeal.
Appealing an unfavorable ruling is never an easy task, but it becomes even more challenging when you do not understand the Texas appellate courts or how they work. To be prepared for any outcome at trial level and beyond-you must have a basic understanding of what happens inside our state’s appeals process as well as some legal principles essential for winning cases on appeal. This is why you need the services of an experienced criminal appeal attorney in the event the appellate court doesn’t rule in your favor.
How Does the Appellate Court Work?
You may contend that you didn’t have enough time to testify at your trial or that the court allowed testimony against you in your trial that was downright lies.
That is not the way it works.
Those two examples are not grounds for a successful appeal.
Outside of death penalty cases, criminal case appeals will go to one of the fourteen Courts of Appeals in Texas.
The panel of 3 judges on the Appellate Court will only:
- REVIEW how your trial was conducted.
- LOOK for errors to make certain that the law was applied correctly in your trial.
- DETERMINE if the law that was applied itself is unconstitutional.
It’s not a retrial of your entire case.
Did the Court Judge in your case follow the law in conducting the proceeding?
The Appellate Court Judges look at legal standards and other laws that were applied during the trial to ensure the decision was proper. Many criminal appeals are filed on grounds that the law was not properly applied in a case.
Did the Judge exceed their authority?
Did they abuse their discretion in your trial? Judges must say within their scope of authority as laid out by Texas law. If they based their decisions on a biased viewpoint, or misinterpret the law, they would have abused what’s known as judicial discretion.
Common examples of abuse of discretion by a Judge include:
- Keeping witnesses from testifying.
- Influencing jurors to reach a particular decision.
- Giving a sense that was a harsher punishment for an offense than is legislated by the Texas legislature.
- Issuing a flawed ruling based on evidence that suppressed your rights.
How was your trial conducted?
The Appellate Court Judges ensure that matters of procedure are carried out with fairness.
For instance, a claim that you had an ineffective attorney, known as an Ineffective Assistance of Counsel claim, can be a basis for appeal.
Were constitutional rights protected?
Appellate Judges will review if the lower court’s decision violated your (the litigant’s) constitutional rights.
Texas Appellate Court
The 14 Appellate Court Regions in Texas include:
Texas First District Court of Appeals – Houston
Texas Second District Court of Appeals – Fort Worth
Texas Third District Court of Appeals – Austin
Texas Fourth District Court of Appeals – San Antonio
Texas Fifth District Court of Appeals – Dallas
Texas Sixth District Court of Appeals – Texarkana
Texas Seventh District Court of Appeals – Amarillo
Texas Eighth District Court of Appeals – El Paso
Texas Ninth District Court of Appeals – Beaumont
Texas Tenth District Court of Appeals – Waco
Texas Eleventh District Court of Appeals – Eastland
Texas Twelfth District Court of Appeals – Tyler
Texas Thirteenth District Court of Appeals – Corpus Christi & Edinburg
Texas Fourteenth District Court of Appeals – Houston