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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:35 pm
If you're convicted of a crime, you have the right to appeal the conviction and have a higher court review your trial to ensure that it was conducted fairly. If it's found that a mistake was made, the appeal court can order a new trial, dismiss the charges against you, or take any action necessary to address the injustice. A conviction in county court is appealed to a panel of circuit court judges; a circuit court conviction is appealed to the district court of appeal in your area of jurisdiction. Your appeal is not automatic, but must be filed by an attorney, so if you've been tried and convicted, you should consider contacting an attorney and request that he or she files for an appeal in your case. As with your original trial, you have the right to an attorney; if you can't afford one, the court will appoint a public defender to represent you. Again, this is not an automatic process, so if you believe you need a public defender to help you appeal your case, you should bring the matter to the attention of an attorney or the court. If your appeal to the district court of appeals fails, your case can be appealed to the state supreme court. In rare cases, an appeal can be made to a federal appeals court to review the findings of a state court. This process is generally initiated by the issuing of a writ. Cases that raise questions of constitutionality can be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. If you've been convicted of a crime, an attorney can advise you of your various appeals options.

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