In the appeal process, an appeals attorney requests that a higher court review and change a decision of a lower court. An “appellant” is the one who makes the request and the “appellee” responds. A person does not legally need an attorney to file an appeal, but it’s a good idea. Unless someone is familiar with the system and knows the proper procedures, they should have a lawyer that specializes in appeals file the paperwork on their behalf.
There are several courts that handle criminal appeals in Michigan. The Circuit Court is the highest Trial Court that has the jurisdiction to hear appeals after that is the Michigan Court of Appeals and then the Michigan Supreme Court. The Circuit Court hears appeals from the District and Municipal Courts; a defendant has 21 days to appeal their decision. The appeals court makes appeal decisions for cases that came from the Circuit or Probate Courts. Other types of lower court or tribunal decisions may be submitted by an application for leave to appeal, with the permission of the court. The Appeals Court also takes on complaints about mandamus or superintending control against government officers or allegations that a state law has imposed an unfunded or insufficiently funded mandate on local units of the government.
The appeal process itself can be very expensive because of the multitude of steps required to process it correctly, and if the Michigan court rules are not complied with 100%, the appeal can be dismissed by the Appellate Court without rendering a decision on its merits. The next step would be to submit an appeal to a higher court; the whole appeals process could take years.
There are two different types of criminal appeals that may be submitted; appeal by right and appeal by leave. To file an appeal by right, a court’s permission is not required. There is a 21-day time limit from the entry of a judgment or the entry of an order denying a retrial, a new trial or any other type of post-conviction relief. A higher court must give the appellant their approval before they can submit an appeal by leave. Also called an appeal by application for leave, it requests a review of details, facts or regulations that affected the original decision. In the state of Michigan, it’s the Circuit Court that has the final say on acceptance of any appeal by leave.
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