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I was just sentenced. I want to appeal. What do I do?

Sometimes your case isn’t finished when you’re sentenced.  If something doesn’t seem right, or you think someone screwed up, whether it’s the court, your attorney, or the district attorney, you might have a basis to seek relief in the Court of Appeals.

The first, and important, step to take when you want an appeal is to pay attention during sentencing.  Once sentencing is completed your attorney will have you sign a Notice of Right to Seek Postconviction Relief form.  That form asks whether you plan to appeal, don’t plan to appeal, or are undecided.  It’s very important that you check the right box.  If you’re frustrated at sentencing sometimes it’s easy to sign whatever is put in front of you and walk away.  Don’t do that.  If you’re undecided, check the undecided box.

If you want to appeal, it’s your trial attorney’s responsibility to file a Notice of Intent to Seek Postconviction or Postdisposition Relief with the trial court.  That notice gives all parties to the action notice that you’re appealing the case.  It also serves as a notice to the State Public Defender if you’re seeking representation from them.

Within 30 days of the filing of the Notice of Intent (90 days if you’re denied representation from the State Public Defender), your criminal defense attorney must request court hearing transcripts and the court record.   Within 60 days of that demand the trial court must provide you or your attorney the court record (everything filed in your trial case) and court reporters must provide your transcripts.  Often reporters are late and will move the court to allow for an extension.

60 days after the defense attorney receives the last transcript either a Motion for Postconviction Relief or a Notice of Appeal is due.  A motion for postconviction relief is a motion filed with the trial court requesting some sort of relief.  One of the most common motions filed seeking postconviction relief is to find trial counsel ineffective.  A Notice of Appeal is simply a notice sent to the court of appeals advising that court that the defendant is seeking relief at the appellate level.

A postconviction motion must be decided within 60 days of the filing of the motion.  If the court fails to decide the motion within that timeframe, the defense attorney must request an extension for the trial court to decide the motion.   If the trial court denies the defendant’s motion, defense counsel must file a notice of appeal within 20 days.

Finally, after the notice of appeal is filed with the court of appeals, your attorney has 40 days to file the brief arguing your case.  The respondent (the opposite party – the State) has 30 days to respond to your brief.  Once that brief is filed, your attorney has 15 days to respond.

Help from an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you.  Filing an appeal can be a complex matter.  It doesn’t have to be.  Attorney Van Severen understands not only the procedural issues involved in filing an appeal, but he also has experience arguing underlying legal issues.  Get a Milwaukee criminal defense attorney on your side.  Call Attorney Van Severen for a free consultation.