Cleveland Criminal Appeals Lawyer

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Cleveland Criminal Appeals Attorney

Appeals of criminal convictions typically involve complex legal issues, so a knowledgeable attorney is crucial to the success of an appeal. Northeast Ohio criminal court appeals attorney Matthew C. Bangerter, ESQ. focuses on representing clients facing criminal charges and those seeking an expungement or appeal of their conviction. As a skilled Northeast Ohio criminal court appeals attorney, Bangerter understands the high stakes and complicated legal issues that are involved with a criminal appeal. He uses his vast legal knowledge and his strong persuasive abilities to advocate on your behalf and get your conviction overturned.

Exceptional Legal and Forensic Evidence Experience

As a former prosecutor in Lake County, Ohio, Matthew Bangerter understands the legal procedures involved with criminal appeals and how to best argue in favor of overturning the conviction. Criminal cases often hinge on the careful analysis of forensic evidence, and his background gives him an edge when evaluating the forensic evidence involved in a criminal case. He obtained a Bachelor’s degree in biology and studied molecular genetics and computer science in graduate school. He is one of very few criminal defense attorneys who has actually cloned his own DNA in a lab, so he is well-versed in the scientific evidence involved in various criminal cases. With this experience and knowledge, Bangerter can discover errors in the presentation of evidence that may have resulted in your conviction.

Types of Criminal Appeals

As a Northeast Ohio criminal appeals attorney, Bangerter represents clients in appeals of criminal convictions involving:

Matthew Bangerter understands that each client and each case presents unique circumstances. He prides himself on providing individualized client service and personalized attention to each case. He will carefully analyze the circumstances of your arrest, the evidence collection, and the criminal proceedings in order to ensure that your constitutional rights were upheld. If errors were made, he will seek to have your conviction overturned, evidence excluded, or a new trial conducted.

As a member of the Ohio Bar Association, Lake County Bar Association, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Cuyahoga Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Board of Directors of the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, he takes his profession as a Northeast Ohio criminal appeals attorney seriously and keeps up to date with the latest case law and trial strategies.

If you have been convicted of a crime and you’re looking to appeal, Northeast Ohio criminal appeals attorney Matthew C. Bangerter, ESQ. can help. Click here for an initial consultation.

Call (440) 340-1740 to start planning your defense.

What Are The Things To Know In An Appeals Process?

Before you decide to Appeal, here are some key things to know in a court appeals process:

What Are The Oral Arguments And When Does That Happen During The Court Appeal’s Process?

The oral argument is after all the briefs are written. The prosecutor and the defense attorney will get a court date to go in front of the panel of three judges, that’s the court of appeals.

The court of appeals have a number of judges but each case is heard by three of them. And both the prosecutor and the defense attorney each have a certain amount of time where they make their pitch in person to that panel of the judges and try to convince them that their side is correct.

What Is An Accelerated Calendar And How Does That Apply In A Court Appeal Process?

There are certain cases that can be heard quicker or maybe need to be heard quicker. One example that comes to mind is any case involving permanently removing children from a parent, certain parental rights can be appealed on what’s called the Accelerated Docket.

Other cases that maybe have limited issues, very short transcripts, or something that doesn’t need much of the court’s time, can be put on this accelerated transcript which has tighter deadlines than a normal appeal and is designed to get the case heard fairly than it normally would be.

If The Court Of Appeals Dismisses An Appeal For Failing To File The Brief, Can Anything Be Done In Those Cases To Save The Appeal?

You can always ask the court for permission to re-open the appeal, say that there were some good or unavoidable reasons to miss that deadline; or you can claim what’s called Ineffective Assistance of Counsel because if an attorney is appointed to a case by a defendant who can’t hire an attorney and if the attorney fails to file his appellate brief and get his case dismissed, then that’s not any fault of the client; certainly it’s ineffective assistance of this counsel or the attorney.

And then obviously that point is right that is violated because he didn’t get his right to an attorney and get his right to appeal. So, another attorney can argue that that was denial of his due process rights and perhaps get that case reopened.

If Someone Files An Appeal, Does That Automatically Stay The Conviction Or The Execution Of Judgment? How Does That Work?

No, it almost never does. You can apply for what’s called an Appellate Bond if it seems like there is a really good issue and you have a good chance of success or there is some irreparable harm, then you can ask the court for an appellate bond so that you could stay out of prison during the appeal.

If they deny, you can also ask the court of appeals for the same thing. But in most cases, if somebody is sentenced to a prison term, for example, they’ll start serving their prison term and the appeal will go while they’re in prison.

What Is The Pre-hearing Conference?

We typically don’t have pre-hearing conferences in criminal cases, at least in my area of the state. But that’s an option especially in civil cases for the parties to sit and talk and give them another chance to negotiate a resolution without going through the court process just like we would do leading up to your trial where the attorneys spend all the time leading up to trial. It’s another chance while waiting appeal to negotiate that. But in criminal cases, we don’t use those often.

What Different Scenarios Can Affect The Appeals Process?

Here are some of the scenarios can affect the court appeals process:

What Happens In Cases Where The Prosecution Had Tried For One Crime Where Multiple Things Could Have Been Charged?

That’s part of what merger is. If we allow the state to stack on multiple charges in the same crime, that would also be a violation of the double-jeopardy.

Can Someone Appeal A Case Where They Have Pleaded Guilty?

You can’t appeal that guilty finding because you admitted the guilt yourself; you can appeal the sentence in many cases. Sometimes a person wants to withdraw that guilty plea, but if the court denies that, then we can appeal the decision not to let the person withdraw their guilty plea but if that’s the conviction itself, we can’t do anything about that. So, there are many layers to it.

If a person pleads guilty, they’ll get set for sentencing usually approximately a month after their guilty plea. So, they can change their mind before sentencing and want to withdraw that plea and go forward with the trial. The court is supposed to let you do that as long as you’re not just playing games with the court. And if they don’t, that’s something we can try to appeal.

After your sentence, you can also ask to withdraw that plea and go back to the beginning but that’s much harder to do because the court will presume that you just didn’t like a sentence you got and now you want to try again.

What Happens If Someone Enters A Plea To A Case And They Do Community Service? Is The Case Dismissed?

A diversion is still a guilty plea in most cases or still an admission.

The way you get up with a conviction in those kinds of cases is if you didn’t do what you were supposed to do to get a case dismissed. If that’s the case, then it would be the same thing where you pled guilty so you wouldn’t get a conviction.

If you did what you’re supposed to do and got the case dismissed, then there wouldn’t be any need to appeal.

What Happens Once An Appeal Is Filed How is A Decision Reached?

Once An Appeal Is Filed, How Does a Court Appeal Work? Who Actually Reviews The Appeal?

After the defendant has filed his or her brief, then the prosecutor will have a chance to respond to file their own brief. And the people reviewing it are actually those three judges.

They will read the briefs and they will listen to the oral arguments when we get in front of them and then based on the briefs and oral arguments, they will do their own research and the three of them will vote on a decision basically.

So, if you get two votes, then you win the case; so you need 2 out of 3 to win.

Is That The Majority Dissenting And Concurring Opinion?

Exactly, right. If one judge disagrees, they may write their own opinion saying why they disagree with the other two judges.

What Are Some Factors That Lead To An Appellate Court Reversing A Decision?

It’s almost always because of some issues that led to an unfair trial, some sort of evidence that shouldn’t come in or some sort of procedural defects. It’s almost never second guessing a jury.

The judges will typically say that the jury heard all of the evidence and they made their decision, they don’t like to go contrary to that. But if there is an error getting that evidence in front of the jury, then they’re more likely to say that the trial was unfair and turn that back.

If Someone Loses Their Case, What Is The Next Step? Is It Okay To Appeal Again?

Yes. If they lose in the appellate court, then you can apply to the Ohio Supreme Court for the appeal. But the issue there is everybody gets an appeal, every criminal defendant gets an appeal in the appellate court.

That’s not the case for the Ohio Supreme Court, so you have to apply to the Ohio Supreme Court and ask them to hear your appeal again, and they can decide whether to hear it or not. And if they don’t hear it, then you’re basically done there.

You can apply to maybe federal court or the Supreme Court of Ohio, but we’re talking major long shots now. So, in most cases, if you apply at the Ohio Supreme Court and they decline it, then that’s the end of the road for that case.

That’s pretty much your last opportunity to make an appeal.

Would Someone Remain In Jail Or Prison During Their Appeal Process?

Yes.

How Long Does The First Appeal Typically Take?

Typically, it’s several months to a year and more. The notice usually gets filed in just under a month after the sentencing. The court reporter will then have 40 days to prepare the transcript and submit it to the court and for the defense attorneys to review.

The defendant’s attorney has, to start with, 20 days to file their brief but they almost always get an extension because by the time you read through these transcripts and write the paper, it’ll take a little longer than that. So, say a month, two months for the defense attorney to get the brief filed.

The same will be through this prosecutor after that, so that’s another month or two months. Then, depending on the court, it could be another few months or more before you get a court date for the oral argument and then once you have that oral argument, it’s another few months before the court releases a decision. It’s not a quick process at all.

What is The Appeals Process?

What is the court appeals process and how does the appeals process work? An appeal is a review from a higher court of the decision of the trial court. The higher court will review a case if a person thinks that the judge has made a wrong decision or if the jury has made a wrong decision.

What Types Of Criminal Convictions Does Attorney Matt Bangerter Handle In An Appeal’s Case?

Any type of criminal conviction. Anything that you have had a trial for and you’ve been convicted of, you can appeal; or even if you’ve pled guilty, if you don’t agree with the sentence that’s handed down in many cases, you can appeal that as well.

What Makes Attorney Matthew Bangerter Unique In Handling Appeal Cases?

Attorney Matthew Bangerter says that he loves to write, he loves to do the research. A lot of people don’t like doing appeals at all but he likes to dig in, he likes to get in front of the judges and do the digging research on the nuances of the law and get up there and kind of bring those to light.

It brings him great joy to give these people a second chance. It’s very satisfying for him.

Do You Have Any Stories To Share Regarding the Court Appeals Process Or Some Interesting Cases?

Yes. My most interesting case was a young man who was convicted of aggravated murder. Two counts of aggravated murder, six counts of murder, and then another half a dozen counts of robbery and kidnapping and a bunch of other stuff.

But there was virtually no evidence in the case, and we ended up getting the case reversed and sent back for a new trial because there was a violation of the rules of evidence where the police officer said in the recording that one of the codefendants had made some statement that our client had done something.

And under the rules of evidence, that can’t come into court because there is no way to verify the truth of that statement. The codefendant, who allegedly had made that statement, was unavailable so there was no way to make sure that was reliable evidence. So, based on that, the case actually got sent back for a whole new trial in that case.

The court actually then appointed me to handle the trial in that case and so we retried the case and then we ended up not guilty five counts of the murder, two counts of aggravated murder and then he was guilty in one of the counts of murder.

If you are looking for someone who can handle an Appeals Case, call the Law Office of Matthew Bangerter for an initial consultation at (440) 306-3205 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.

What Is The Process Of Filing An Appeal? How Does It Work?

Let’s look at what is the process of filing a court appeal and how does it work?

What Courts Are The Appeals Heard In?

They are divided into a number of districts. For example, Cleveland, you can say it is it’s own district. Just for example, the Ninth District is the Summit County area. So, whatever districts the court is located in is, the appellate district, is where the appeal would be heard in.

What Are The Most Common Reasons An Appeal Is Filed? Is It More About The Sentence Or Is It Because Someone Didn’t Get What They Expected?

Most of them are about the conviction. Most of my appeals, even if it’s for the conviction, I still appeal the sentence as well. So if you’re still on appeal, then you can raise everything. But I would say more people can have their conviction appealed than just have a sentence appealed, at least in my practice.

What If You Find That There Was Lack Of Evidence Or Something Was Done Inappropriately Or Illegally By The Prosecution Side? What Is The Reason To Have These Cases Appealed?

It could be anything. Sometimes, the attorney will argue that the evidence wasn’t enough to convict the person. Sometimes they argue that the prosecution did something wrong, or that the judge allowed them to present evidence that they shouldn’t have been allowed to present.

There are a whole lot of rules of evidence that all sides have to follow in court, and if those get violated, then they can argue that the defendant didn’t get a fair trial.

What Are The Correct Appeal Process Steps Someone Should Follow To Reverse A Court’s Decision?

The most important thing a person has to realize is that there is a 30-day deadline to file notice with the Court of Appeals that you’re going to appeal the case. So, from the date of your sentencing, you got 30 days to file that.

If you miss that deadline, many times the court won’t even hear your appeal. Sometimes, you can ask them permission to file aid but that’s very often that the appeal is just thrown out because of that missed deadline.

So the first step is just to make sure you hit that deadline.

After that, the appellate attorney has a number of forms to file, so you ask the court reporters to prepare transcripts of the trial, or whatever hearings were in court, and then has to write their reasons to submit those reports.

Does The Attorney Handle The Appellate Brief?

Yes.

What’s Included In The Appellate Brief?

The appellate brief is a research paper where we write out all the reasons why the decision of the trial court was wrong. We talk about all the evidence that was presented, the history of the case and we discuss the errors we’re raising in the context of other cases that the courts have already heard and made decisions in support of our argument.

In short, it’s a research paper detailing our arguments to the court why we think there was an error that needs to be reversed.

FAQs About The Appeals Process

Here are some of the FAQs about the court appeals process:

Are There Any Convictions That Can’t Ever Be Appealed?

If the condition comes from a guilty plea and the person has admitted to committing that crime, you can’t appeal that conviction. But any conviction that was contested, that’s gone through a trial, every criminal defendant has at least one appeal to file.

Are There Certain Number Of Appeals Or Certain Number Of Times Someone Can Appeal A Verdict?

Typically, you can appeal it one time to the Court of Appeals in your district. If you lose there, you can try to appeal it to an even higher court, either Supreme Court or U.S. Supreme Court eventually at the top of the line. If a new issue arises, there may be some eligibility to your appeal a second time, but in most cases, the one appeal is all you get.

What Qualifies A Conviction For An Appeal? Are There Certain Criteria That Have To Be Met?

After an attorney reviews the case, he might be able to give you an assessment of the chances that you have on an appeal. But as far as by conviction itself, there isn’t any specific kind of crime or conviction that can’t be appealed.

However, depending on how the trial ends, there may be a lot of issues that are good for appeal and that have a good chance of success or there might not be many issues. It all depends on how the trial went.

What Would Make Up A Good Case For An Appeal?

The harder ones are the cases where there aren’t any issues of rules of evidence. The judge hasn’t made any outright bad decision, but the jury found the person guilty and they should know it because the evidence was that bad. Those are harder to win.

On the flipside, if the judge allowed a testimony from a very damaging witness that should not have been allowed to testify for whatever reason; or if something went wrong with the way the rules of the trial were followed, there might be more success in that kind of appeal.

How Often Do Clients Appeal A Case?

Pretty much everyone who goes to trial and loses will appeal the case because as mentioned earlier, everyone gets to appeal and if they can’t afford, just like at the trial, if they can’t afford a private attorney, they can get one appointed for them.

So, if they contest the case all the way through trial, there are really too many reasons not to appeal a case if you lose.

Can Someone Appeal The Actual Sentence If It Doesn’t Seem Fair?

There are a couple of issues. For example, for a judge to impose consecutive sentences, the judge has to make certain findings that are supported by the record or the transcript and things that happened at the sentencing hearing.

If those findings aren’t made or if the evidence doesn’t support them, then sometimes we can get the case sent back for resentencing. Another common issue is what’s called Merger.

A person can be charged with multiple crimes for one thing. For example, if a person is charged for burglary and theft, breaking into a house and stealing something, but if they are actually part of the same conduct, they can only actually get convicted of one thing so the prosecutor can’t stack up a whole bunch of different charges just for one crime.

When that happens, the court can only sentence on one of those crimes. Sometimes the courts will impose the sentence on multiple crimes when they shouldn’t, and then we can get that sent back for resentencing also.

And sometimes you can just ask the appellate court to review the trial court’s sentence just because it’s longer than the person wanted. Most of the time it’s always longer than the person wanted but those are very difficult to win and there are some districts where they won’t even hear those appeals anymore.

What Are The Different Terms Used In These Cases, Who Is The Appellant And Who Is The Appellee?

The appellant is the person who is filing the appeal, so in our case, it’ll always be the defendant.

The appellee is the person who is getting their win appealed, so in our case, it’s always going to be the state of Ohio.

What Is Double-Jeopardy And How Does That Come Into Play? Does That Impact An Appeal?

First, double-jeopardy says that a person can only be tried for a crime once. So, if the state takes a case to trial, and the defendant wins, the state can’t have another trial on the case.

In some cases, something might happen where a person is brought to trial again and something that ends up being the same case as they were already tried on and if that doesn’t get dismissed, then we can raise that on appeal and say he shouldn’t have had that trial because there was a double-jeopardy violation.

The other way that comes into play for appeals is that the state can never appeal a loss. If the jury finds a person not guilty, the state can’t appeal. There are some rulings there it can appeal. For example, if we file a motion to exclude some evidence from trial and we lose that or we win that, the state could eventually appeal that. But if we get a not guilty at trial, the state cannot appeal.

What Are The Misconceptions Or Misunderstandings About How the Appeals Process Works?

People tend to think it’s another chance to try their case and present the evidence. So that’s probably the number one thing that I explain to people is that we can’t bring in new evidence, we can’t bring in the neighbor that just came forward and said he saw this or the victim lied in the stand and said so later.

We’re stuck with what evidence the trial court heard and what’s in the transcript and what’s in the record. So, it’s limited in the scope in that way. You can’t have somebody come in and testify to the court of appeals from new evidence or anything like that.

After An Appeal, If The Court Approved It Or Reversed The Decision, What Happens Then? Is Everything Just Dropped?

In most cases, the case will get sent back for another trial. In some cases, the court could just throw the whole case out and dismiss it. And it could be a complete victory right then. But in most cases, it gets sent back to the trial court to do it again and do it correctly.

Is This When You Can Introduce A New Evidence In The Trial?

Yes. If you get a new trial, it starts over and if there is new evidence or there could be new testimony or, it’s a restart to the whole trial.

Do Most People That Come For Appeal, Have Been Through The First Trial Or Are They Totally Fresh Clients?

Typically, it’s a new attorney because they have to review the case for ineffective assistance for the trial counsel; in other words, that the trial counsel made some sort of mistake and did something wrong.

So, if you appeal your own case, it’s hard to review your own case and then argue with the court that you screwed up when you were an attorney. So, typically a different attorney will handle the appeal so that they can review the other attorney’s work as well.

But it’s not just a mistake that the judge might make or the trial court might make; it’s also reviewed for things that the defense attorney might have done so poorly that the defendant didn’t get a fair trial.

Are Expungements Ever Available In Ohio Or Sealed Records Available And How Does That Work If Someone Has Been Able To Have A Conviction Appealed?

If the conviction is successfully appealed and it’s no longer a conviction or you won the whole thing, then the record can get sealed just as if it was the dismissed case. There is no time for eligibility, you can just apply and have it sealed.

If you lose the appeal, then it can be sealed based on its eligibility, will be sealed normally. You can try to get it sealed before you try the appeal and you can still try to seal it after you appeal it.

Is It A Very Difficult Process For Clients To Go Through? Having Gone Through The Trial Once And Potentially Going Through It Again?

It’s difficult because it’s so long. If a person is waiting in jail to see if their case is going to get another chance, then certainly a lot of their life is going by in the meantime. The proceeding themselves are high threats because the clients typically don’t go with the court, they don’t have to write the briefs, they are not really as involved at the appellate level as they would be at the trial level.

So, the long waiting is the biggest source of stress in an appeal.

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