This glossary of appellate terms will help you throughout your fight for justice, however anyone with legal questions should always speak to an attorney right away before attempting to take legal action alone. There is a limited time period in which an appeal may be an option, and acting fast could be a difference maker in your case. Grabel & Associates is an experienced Michigan criminal appeals firm, and our attorneys are available 24/7 to provide you with a free consultation.
Appeal: a request to a higher court to review the decision of a lower court. A person may appeal either the verdict or sentence.
Appeal by Application for Leave: an appeal that requires permission from the higher court before it can be filed. Also known as Appeal by Leave.
Appeal by Right: an appeal that does not require permission before it can be filed. Also known as Appeal of Right.
Conviction: when a person has been found guilty of a criminal charge.
Directed Verdict: when a judge orders the jury to return a specific verdict. A directed verdict essentially takes the case out of the hands of the jury.
Expunge: to clear a criminal record.
Federal Appeal: appealing federal court charges, or appealing to a higher federal court.
Ginther Hearing: an evidentiary hearing (evidence based, not a new trial) based on the claim that legal representation in the initial trial was insufficient.
Grounds for a New Trial: if new evidence that could change the case outcome is discovered, or if for other reasons a new trial is in the interest of justice, a motion for a new trial may be an option in your post-conviction case.
Michigan Circuit Court: the appellate court for district court cases.
Michigan Court of Appeals: the appellate court for circuit court and probate court cases.
Michigan District Court: a Michigan trial court. District court cases are appealed to the Circuit Court.
Michigan Supreme Court: the appellate court for the Michigan Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court also oversees the operations of all trial courts.
Motion: a formally filed petition or claim, including a motion for a new trial or a motion for a Ginther hearing.
New Trial: a retrial as opposed to an evidentiary hearing or review of case details.
Plea: entered by the defendant early on in the judicial process, pleas include guilty, not guilty, nolo contendre (no contest), and other claims.
Post-Conviction: after a defendant has been found guilty.
Pre-Sentencing: before a judge has decided on a sentence for a post-conviction defendant.
Pre-Sentence Investigation (PSI): A PSI or PSIR (Pre-Sentence Investigation Report) includes information about a defendant and a sentencing recommendation that a judge may follow in a sentencing hearing.
Probation: an order to follow certain conditions set by the court and supervised by a probation officer.
Sentence Appeal: to appeal the sentence ordered after being found guilty, in efforts to obtain a lighter sentence. Often based on the claim that a sentence was excessive when considering the details of the case or the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines.
Sentencing Guidelines: recommended minimum and maximum sentences for specific crimes, which are often followed by Michigan judges. A sentence outside the guidelines may present an opportunity for appeal.
Statute of Limitations: a time period during which certain legal actions (such as filing an appeal) can be taken. After this period, you can miss your opportunity to obtain a better result.
Verdict Appeal: to appeal a verdict of guilty, rather than just appealing the criminal penalties of a sentence.
Writ: a formal written order.
Writ of Certiorari: a request to the Supreme Court to review a lower court decision.
Writ of Habeas Corpus: a request to have an imprisoned person be brought to court to determine if imprisonment was just.
Writ of Mandamus: an order from a higher court to a lower court to do or not do something, for example take an administrative action or deny an action.
Wrongful Conviction: when a jury or judge finds a person guilty of an offense when the prosecution has not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of a charge.
After you or a loved one has been convicted of a crime, the life-changing penalties that you are facing can be extremely disheartening. Fortunately, your legal battle is not necessarily over, and by working with an experienced Michigan post-trial attorney, you may be able to appeal the verdict or sentence.
Our team is available 24/7 to provide you with a free no obligation case consultation. Call 1-800-342-7896 or contact our firm online. Ask to speak to experienced criminal appeals lawyer Scott Grabel, who has extensive experience working in both trial and appellate courts, and hands-on experience working in the Michigan Court of Appeals early on in his legal career. Our dynamic appellate strategies will help you protect and fully utilize your legal rights no matter what charge you face.