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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: What If I Want To Appeal My Case To A Higher Court?

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Will the Public Defender's Office represent me in the appellate courts?

Appellate court litigation can occur either before or after conviction. It is sometimes necessary for the Public Defender to challenge an order of a trial court before conviction. Such challenges are called writ proceedings. The Public Defender's Office maintains a staff of appellate litigation specialists who handle these types of proceedings.

The Public Defender's Office is generally permitted by law to handle post-conviction appeals in the appellate courts only for defendants who were represented by the Public Defender's Office in the trial court. The appellate process takes a very long time to be completed, and is a very specialized practice. The Public Defender's appellate staff is not large enough to allow it to routinely handle post-conviction appeals, but other counsel is available to be appointed for the appeal. Upon request of the client, the Deputy Public Defender who represented the defendant will file the documents in the trial court necessary for starting the appellate process and to obtain the appointment of appellate counsel.

Will the Public Defender represent me in a habeas corpus proceeding?

A writ of habeas corpus is an order directing authorities to bring the defendant before a court to determine whether keeping the defendant in custody is legal or not. It is also a way of challenging the constitutionality of a conviction.

If a habeas corpus petition needs to be filed in a pending case that is already being handled by our office, the Public Defender will certainly do so. However, the Public Defender may also agree to file a petition for writ of habeas corpus for a person after conviction, particularly in cases where the validity of the conviction itself is in issue, or where it appears that a person is being unlawfully detained in custody.

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