The Law Offices of John Ferrara

How Long Does The Appeals Process Generally Take?


The length of the appeals process can vary, for different reasons. The appellate court has deadlines, but these deadlines are often expanded for such reasons as we did not get the transcripts right away, sometimes for several months. We must file the notice of appeal within 30 days, and we thereupon order the transcripts. Depending on the length of the trial and the proceedings, it may be several months or a year before we actually have the transcripts. Nothing further will occur until we have those transcripts, because that’s what this appeal is going to be based on. Once we have the transcripts, the lawyer has to review them, put the record together, draft the brief, and get the records stipulated to by the adversary counsel.

The adversary counsel then has some time to file his or her own brief. There may be a reply brief and another two months or so before the court schedules oral argument. Then we often wait about two months after everything is done, before the court renders the decision. These are not a hard and fast rules but I normally expect the process to take 18 to 24 months before there is a decision, depending upon the length of the transcript.

Does The Filing Of An Appeal Automatically Stay The Execution Of A Judgement?

The filing of an appeal does not automatically stay the execution of a judgment. One can either move in the trial court or the appellate court for a stay of the execution of a judgment, but this is rarely granted in criminal cases. If the judge at the trial imposes a sentence of 10 years in prison, the mere fact that one has filed an appeal does not automatically lead to the person remaining out of jail while the appeal is pending. Persons convicted of a Class A felony, and some persons convicted of Class B and C felonies, are not eligible for bail pending appeal. However, others are eligible for bail pending appeal. If the defendant is unfortunate enough to have been convicted of a crime with bail eligibility, one can ask the appellate court or the trial court for bail pending the appeal. It’s not very common, but in the right case, one can gain bail pending appeal.

What Sets You And Your Firm Apart In Handling Appeals?

There are several things that set my firm apart. First is I handle the case; I do not give this to a subordinate to do the work. If the client hires me, the client gets me. Second, I start with the premise of do no harm. I really want my clients to understand the risks and rewards of appeal before we make a huge investment, not just in fees, but in the risk that we could end up in a worse place at the end of the process. I will charge to review the record and the law, but before we commit to the appeal, we must determine the reward is worth the potential risk. I know that most people who contact me for an appeal are really desperate and it is not easy to tell a person down to his or her last hope that his or her present circumstances might be better than what will likely follow from the appeal. But if that is my honest opinion, and sometimes it is, I will say that and explain why I reach that conclusion.

Third, if I see an issue that shows the risk and cost is worth the potential reward, I will work very hard to achieve a favorable result. I actually enjoy this work. While that may not mean much to you at first, a lawyer who enjoys his work will tend to work on it more quickly, and will bring more passion to the task. I do not know if it means that lawyer will win more often, and I do not know how I would test that, but I do know that I bring a lot of enthusiasm to doing appeals and intuitively I think this will benefit the client.

For more information on Timeline Of The Appeals Process, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (845) 794-1303 today.

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