State Court Appeals
Paul Kish handles criminal appeals in cases arising throughout Georgia. These are called a "state appeal", because the matter originated as a state criminal case in one of Georgia's 159 counties. Just like an appeal in the federal system, a state appeal should only be handled by an attorney who has the experience and ability to take on such a specialized matter. Not every lawyer can handle a criminal case, fewer still can do a state criminal matter, and only a smaller number still are the kind of specialists who regularly work on state appellate cases.
A criminal case in Georgia generally begins in one of our state's 159 county court systems. Each county generally has a Superior Court (where felony cases are heard), a State Court (which has jurisdiction to consider misdemeanor violations), and a Municipal or City Court (which is the place where traffic violations and other less serious matters often are prosecuted).
If a person has been convicted after a trial in one of the county court systems, there are a number of procedures that can be used to challenge, or "appeal", the conviction. First, the Defendant has the right to file what we call a "Motion for New Trial." This is an important procedure under Georgia law. For one thing, it is basically a second chance to convince the trial judge that there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction. Additionally, the Motion for New Trial procedure can be used to re-argue some of the points that were brought up at trial. If the defense attorney is convinced that the judge made a mistake, he or she can once again bring the issue up when litigating the Motion for New Trial. Finally, many times Paul gets involved at the Motion for new Trial stage after another lawyer handled the trial. Every Defendant is entitled, under the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution, to "effective assistance" of counsel. If Paul is brought in early enough in the process, he can use the Motion for New Trial as the method for challenging the performance of the earlier attorney who may have made mistakes that prejudiced the client. On the other hand, under Georgia law, if the same lawyer who tried the case stays on during the Motion for New Trial and later appellate proceedings, then there cannot be a challenge to that attorney's performance during the direct appeal.
Even if the judge refuses to grant the Motion for New Trial, Defendants convicted of a crime in Georgia have two more chances on direct appeal. First, most appeals in criminal cases go to the Georgia Court of Appeals, in that every person in Georgia has the right under the law to challenge his or her conviction. Most matters in the Georgia Court of Appeals are litigated by having the appellate lawyer file a "brief". This is a concise written explanation of why the attorney believes that his or her client did not get a fair trial or was not guilty of the crime. Once in a while, the Court of Appeals has "oral arguments", where the attorneys make presentations to the three judges who will decide the case. Second, even if the Court of Appeals will not reverse the conviction, the Defendant then can ask the Georgia Supreme Court to look at the case. This is called requesting a "writ of certiorari", which is an old Latin phrase meaning "to be informed of, or to be made "certain in regard to". It is also the name given to certain appellate proceedings for re-examination of actions of a trial court, or inferior appeals court. There is no right to have the Supreme Court hear a case. Instead, the Supreme Court generally grants review only in matters involving new or unique legal issues.
Even a person who has pled guilty occasionally has the right to appeal in the Georgia court system. Georgia law has several methods by which a person who pleads guilty to a crime can request the right to withdraw or back out of that guilty plea. If the judge refuses to let the client take back his or her plea, the Defendant then can appeal to the Georgia Court of Appeals and can argue that the original Judge was wrong for not permitting the Defendant to take back his or her guilty plea.
Paul Kish has handled numerous Georgia criminal appeals. He takes great pride in being an aggressive and successful appellate lawyer. He has worked hard and long to refine his research and writing skills. He makes it a regular practice to keep up on changes in Georgia law, to understand recent developments in procedures, and pay attention to rulings issued by the Georgia appellate courts to see if he can use such matters to his client's advantage. Over the years, he has obtained significant relief for clients convicted in the Georgia court system.
The appellate process can be extremely complex in the Georgia appellate courts. Paul Kish has handled many appeals and have obtained significant relief for many clients. His experience will guide you or your family member through the process of appealing his or her criminal case. Feel free to call him today at (404) 207-1338, or contact him online to schedule an appointment.