Criminal Appeals


Massachusetts Criminal Appeals Attorney



 What Can I Do If I Am Wrongly Convicted?


After conviction and sentencing, a defendant has the opportunity to file an appeal of his sentence. If the conviction results from a District Court trial, the defendant has the right to appeal to the Appellate division of the district court.  After that you can appeal to the Massachusetts Appeals Court. After that you have the option to appeal the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial court however this court generall only agrees to hear novel questions of law. 



What Happens When I Appeal?


The parties to an appeal submit written "briefs" to the appellate court, along with a copy of the trial court transcript and any exhibits that were used at trial. The Appellate court will look at any errors in law in deciding whether to reverse the lower court. Errors during trial usually amount to harmless errors and will not be reversed. However, any harmful or reversable errors that would have made a difference in the lower courts decision will be reversed. Only about 3% of lower court trial decision are successfully overturned on appeal.



Can I appeal or delay my prison sentence after conviction?


Sentencing appeals are governed by M.G.L. c. 211E, § (4), . The practice in the Commonwealth is that sentences are not routinely stayed pending appeal. Hagen v. Commonwealth, 437 Mass. 374, 378 (2002). However, where a defendant meets the appropriate requirements, it has been a long standing tradition to grant a stay in the interest of justice, to avoid imprisoning one whose conviction may not survive appellate review. Commonwealth v. Levin, 7 Mass. App. Ct. 501, 513 (1979).



The court looks for two aspects when deciding whether to stay a prison sentence pending appeal.  The first and most important is the likelihood of the defendant establishing on appeal that the conviction will be overturned. Commonwealth v. Stewart, 413 Mass. 664 (1992) (bail pending appeal is not appropriate if the only consequence of the defendant’s success would be reducing the term of his sentence and not immediate discharge). This requirement does not demand that the defendant establish that the appeal is more likely than not to be successful, only that it presents “an issue which is worthy of presentation to an appellate court, one which offers some reasonable possibility of a successful decision in the appeal.” -Commonwealth v. Hodge, 380 Mass. 851, 855 (1980);  



The second factor that informs a judge’s exercise of discretion in granting a stay is the question of security: whether the defendant will flee, commit another crime or present a danger to the community. See Hodge, 380 Mass. at 855. The same facts that are relevant to the decision to grant a defendant bail prior to trial are pertinent in this context as well. See Allen, 378 Mass. at 498.




What does it Cost to Appeal?



Entering Appeal $300.00 G. L. c. 262, § 4
Entering Civil Single Justice Motion or Petition $315.00 G. L. c. 262, §§ 4 & 4C.
Entering Criminal Single Justice Motion $300.00 G. L. c. 262, § 4.
Issuance of an injunction or restraining order $90.00 G. L. c. 262, § 4.




Contact an expert criminal defense appeals attorney



At the Law Offices of Michael R. St. Louis, we are fully prepared to handle your criminal appeals case. As a leading Boston criminal defense law firm, we can provide you with the direction and legal counsel you need to fight your misdemeanor or felony charges. Call our Law Offices today for your free consultation at 781-816-3950 or contact us online.


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Attorney at Law