The case process when a case goes to the Virginia Court of Appeals varies widely. Oftentimes, cases that are brought before the Court of Appeals are denied, and in that case there is no further step to take. When appeals are granted, then there is another process of getting the trial judgement overturned and potentially trying the case again with the Court of Appeals.
Speak with a Virginia appeals lawyer to learn more about the potentially complicated and long-lasting life cycle of a criminal appeal.
The most common outcome is that an appeal to the Virginia Court of Appeals will be denied. The majority of them are. However, if the petition for appeal is granted and the appeal is upheld, then it can result in overturning of the trial court judgment and most often remanding the case back to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with the opinion of the Court of Appeals.
In rare cases, the judgment can be overturned and an alternate judgment can be entered, such as judgment of acquittal, but this is, again, very rare.
If an appeal is denied in the Court of Appeals and if it involves a defendant who has been sentenced to incarceration or who has a claim that their constitutional rights were violated, then it can be appealed to the Virginia Supreme Court.
The process will then continue, where the Virginia Supreme Court can also either deny the petition for appeal, grant it and hear it, and then either affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals or overturn the judgment and remand the case.
The duration of an appeal varies. It will likely take less than a year. The Virginia Court of Appeals process begins with the filing of a petition for appeal from the Circuit Court judgment. If the petition is denied, the appellant has the option to seek a reconsideration by what’s called a “writ panel.”
This is a panel of the court that can determine whether or not to grant the petition. It will be comprised of three judges. If any of the three determines that the petition should be granted, then it will be and the appeal will be heard. If all three agree to deny it, then the petition is denied.
Once the petition is granted, the parties will have to, over the course of a matter of months, submit briefs for and against the appeal to the Virginia Court of Appeals. This will be done in order. The appellant will present their brief first.
The appellee will then present their opposition and then the appellant again will have the option to file a reply to the appellee’s argument. Once this happens, the court and the clerk of the Court of Appeals will docket the case for oral argument.
Criminal cases in the Court of Appeals are generally given precedence on the docket. They are more likely to be heard sooner than family law matters, administrative law matters, and other similar cases. At the oral argument both sides will present, the panel of the court will recess and will then, within some period of time, issue an opinion about what their judgment is.
At this point, each party will have the option to either petition for an en banc re-hearing, reviewed by the entire court, which is most likely to occur if there is a dissent by one of the three judges in the opinion, or to petition for an appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court.
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