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©2018 by MacGillis Law P.A.

Legal Representation

CRIMINAL DEFENSE

Justice for You

State and Federal Criminal Matters

State and Federal Criminal Appeals

Post-Conviction Petitions and Hearings

Sarah has earned not-guilty verdicts and dismissal orders in courtrooms all over the state of Minnesota. She has also successfully briefed and argued cases before the Minnesota Supreme Court, the Minnesota Court of Appeals, and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

She will tirelessly fight for you.

FAQ

How is a criminal appeal different than a criminal trial? 

A criminal appeal takes place in most circumstances following conviction.  An appeal is not heard by the same judge who presided over the trial and no jury is present, instead, it is typically heard by a panel of three judges of the court of appeals.  In Minnesota, the Minnesota Court of Appeals hears most, but not all criminal appeals of state convictions.  At the Minnesota Court of Appeals, a three judge panel is assigned to hear your case and to make a decision regarding the appellate issues you raise.  The issues are initially identified and argued by briefing to the panel.  After briefing is complete, the matter is typically set on for oral argument which is an opportunity for your appellate counsel to argue to the court why the redress you seek should be granted.  In addition, some appeals are taken directly to the Minnesota Supreme Court as of right, but not many.  Those few cases that go directly to the Minnesota Supreme Court are identified by rule.  The Minnesota Supreme Court also has the discretion to hear appeals from the Minnesota Court of Appeals by Petition for Discretionary Review.

Because appeals are very time sensitive, you should talk to an attorney immediately following conviction regarding your appellate rights.

Is it better to have my trial lawyer handle my criminal appeal or better to have a new lawyer handle it? 

Your trial counsel is usually in the best position to assess whether or not you need a different lawyer to handle the appeal of an adverse jury verdict.  Some trial attorneys prefer not to handle appeals because of the exacting nature of appellate work. Others feel as comfortable in the courtroom as they do researching and writing briefs.  Since an appeal involves a review of the entire transcript of your trial, you will not be disadvantaged in any way by hiring a new lawyer to handle your appeal.  In fact, the transcript, together with the trial exhibits, is the record on appeal that is considered, together with briefing and oral argument, by the appellate court in deciding your case.

What rights do I have now that I have been charged with a crime? 

In all criminal proceedings, you have rights that are guaranteed to you by the United States Constitution.  In state court matters, you also have rights granted to you by the Minnesota Constitution that are coextensive with or which may be more expansive than those set forth in the United States Constitution. 

My family member/friend was arrested.  What do I do?

Call a lawyer.  When you call, it is very helpful if you have information regarding your family member’s full name, date of birth, when he or she was arrested, the arresting entity, and any information you have regarding the nature of the charges.  In most circumstances, we will be able to use that information to determine where the person is and the status of his or her release or first court appearance.