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Criminal Appeals

We have a proven track record of success in handling over 15,000 criminal cases and consistently awarded as one of Ohio’s top criminal defense firms. We are highly experienced criminal appeals lawyers. Experience matters when dealing with these cases, which prosecutors and judges handle differently on a case by case basis. We know what to expect and what to do to get the best result possible.

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Columbus Criminal Appeals Attorney

When you want to appeal a bench verdict (from a judge) or a jury verdict, a Columbus criminal appeals attorney can help you seek the best possible outcome. It is possible to have a conviction overturned or a sentence reduced. You have a limited time to file, prepare, and present an appeal. Joslyn Law Firm is familiar with this process and is ready to help.

An attorney with our award-winning firm can help you understand the appeals process and potential outcomes. Most importantly, they can protect and defend your rights throughout this process.

We understand the devastating impact of a criminal arrest or prosecution for defendants and their families. Everyone is entitled to a vigorous defense. Our legal team is dedicated to treating our clients with respect and compassion.

Here are just a few client reviews:

  • “From the start, Brian was direct, compassionate and quick to calm our fears. He dove right in and got to work in rectifying a life altering charge.” – Michael D.
  • “If you want an attorney that will FIGHT for you- look no further! These guys don’t mess around.” – Ryan K.
  • “Look no further if you want the best defense there is.” – Bryan N.

You may have a second chance if you are convicted of a crime in Ohio. A Columbus criminal appeals attorney can help you file an appeal, prepare a brief, and argue your case before the Tenth District Court of Appeals.

Our lawyers helped more than 20,000 clients through challenging circumstances, including those seeking a second chance through a criminal appeal.

Attorney Joslyn Is at Your Service

Attorney Brian Joslyn, our firm’s founder, knows firsthand the frustration, anxiety, and fear of being in the criminal justice system. As a teenager, attorney Joslyn was wrongly arrested and severely beaten by police officers. He overcame this miscarriage of justice to fight for people caught in similar situations.

Attorney Joslyn and his legal team are recognized by many prominent legal, business, and professional organizations, including:

  • Designated “Top Lawyer” by Columbus CEO Magazine
  • Nominated as one of the Ten Best Criminal Defense Firms in Ohio by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys
  • Named Best Lawyer by BirdEye
  • Preeminent Attorney Award by Martindale-Hubbard
  • Named top ten law firm by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys
  • Named top ten law firm by the American Jurist Institute

When your life and liberty are at stake, call Joslyn Law Firm. Get a free consultation today: (614) 444-1900.

Columbus Criminal Appeals Information Center


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An Overview of Columbus Criminal Appeals Process

When you seek an appeal for a judge or jury’s decision, you are asking a higher court to decide if that decision was rightfully and lawfully reached. Appellate judges look for errors in applying the law, whether it concerns evidence that should have been suppressed or if the wrong law was applied to your case.

Appellate Judges Review Your Trial

The Ohio Courts of Appeals do not retry your case. Instead, a panel of three judges reviews the official record from the lower court.

This official record includes:

  • Court reporter transcripts of all statements made by attorneys, witnesses, and the judge
  • Evidence, objects, and testimony contained within the court reporter’s transcript
  • Any documents related to the jury’s verdict, judge’s verdict, or judge’s instructions to the jury

The appeals process is usually several months or longer. Some cases qualify for the court’s accelerated docket when they are time-sensitive decisions, such as a stay of execution.


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Deadline and Process for Criminal Appeals in Columbus

You have 30 days from the date of your sentencing or conviction to file an appeal. There are other rules imposed by the Tenth District Court of Appeals, which is the court of appeal for Columbus and Franklin County, but meeting this deadline is critical.

If you try to file an appeal after the deadline, it will not be considered by the court.

Do You Have to Hire a Lawyer for an Appeal?

You have the option of representing yourself or selecting a lawyer to represent you. If you decide to represent yourself, the court will expect you to know and understand state law and to act accordingly.

Most people do not have the background or training to fully exert their rights and to make the best case for their appeal. An attorney with Joslyn Law Firm is a powerful ally who can help you navigate this complex and often daunting process.

Appeals Process for a Criminal Defendant

You (and your attorney) will file an appellate brief that explains why the original decision is faulty and what action you would like the appeals judges to take. Likewise, the prosecution will file its own brief, likely arguing that the original trial was properly conducted and that the conviction or sentence should stand.

Each lawyer will then present an oral argument for his or her respective side. The judges may ask questions during this time.

After the judges are presented with the briefs and oral arguments, they review the facts of the case, reach a decision, and then call both parties back to the court to hear their ruling.

How Appellate Judges Could Rule

The appellate judges may rule in one of three ways:

  • Allow the lower court’s decision or verdict to stand.
  • Ask the lower court to overturn or retry your case.
  • Reverse or overturn the lower court’s decision.

Ohio courts of appeals decisions do not have to be unanimous. If you are not satisfied with the appellate court’s decision, you could file an appeal to have your case heard by an even higher court.


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Criminal Cases Eligible for Appeal

You may seek an appeal to overturn a conviction, execution, or review a sentence. All types of crimes may be appealed, except for non-moving traffic violations:

This is not an exhaustive list of cases that can be appealed. You are invited to call our office for a free consultation and learn about how a Columbus criminal appeals attorney can help your case.


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Common Basis for Appeals

You must have compelling evidence to convince a court of appeals to overturn your conviction, order a new trial, or reduce your sentence.

The most common conditions that defendants use in their plea to the higher court include:

  • The incorrect law or legal standard was applied to your case.
  • There were significant evidentiary errors.
  • There was a clear judicial bias in evidentiary rulings, rule of law, or jury instructions.
  • The judge reached an unlawful or unsubstantiated decision based upon the evidence.
  • The sentence meets the Constitutional definition of “cruel and unusual punishment.”
  • There is evidence of jury tampering.
  • The lawyer who represented you at trial was grossly incompetent.

Your appeal may contain one or more of these reasons. An attorney can help build a strong and compelling case within the written brief and oral argument.


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Seeking Appeal for a Bench Trial Verdict

A judge is often referred to as a “finder of the law.” In a bench trial, the judge is supposed to be an impartial person who determines the facts of the case and reaches a verdict based upon those facts.

If you received a judge’s verdict (also called a bench verdict) that you believe was in error, you may appeal the decision to the Ohio courts of appeals. The appellate judges will review the official records from the trial to determine if the judge acted legally and appropriately.

Abuse of Discretion and Reversible Error

The standard of review for a bench trial verdict is based primarily upon two factors:

  • Abuse of discretion: When a judge acts unreasonably, beyond the scope of the matter before the court or by irrational evidentiary decisions
  • Reversible error: A result that occurs because the judge acted improperly

It is challenging but not impossible to seek an appeal for a bench trial. You must show sufficient evidence that the judge abused his or her discretion in your conviction or sentence.


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Seeking Appeal for a Jury Trial Verdict

Anyone who is facing a criminal prosecution has the Constitutional right to a “speedy and public trial” in accordance with the Sixth Amendment. Yet sometimes a jury reaches a conviction or sentence that is not borne by the facts in the case.

You may appeal a jury’s verdict if you show that their decision was based upon an error of law. This error might be due to:

  • Unclear, insufficient, or biased instructions by the judge
  • Evidentiary issues (such as evidence that was permitted but then overruled, or evidence that was excluded by the court)
  • Misconduct (such as ignoring the judge’s orders)

Jury Tampering

Jury tampering is the act of influencing members of the jury outside of the evidence presented in court. This influence can be in the form of bribery or the threat of violence. Jury tampering is not common, but all it takes is one juror acting improperly to reach an unjust verdict.


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Appealing a Sentence

An appeals court will also hear arguments from a defendant to reduce or reverse a sentence. While you cannot appeal a lawful sentence, you may appeal a sentence that you believe is illegal, unconstitutional, or excessive.

For example, if you are convicted with a felony in the first degree, the sentencing guidelines range from three to 11 years in prison with fines up to $20,000. A life sentence and a $50,000 exceeds the sentencing guidelines, making it likely that the appeals court would take a second look at this excessive sentence.


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Appellate Court System in Ohio

The Ohio Courts of Appeals dates to 1851, when it was established in the Ohio Constitution. The state is divided into twelve appellate districts, which is served by a court of appeals in each of the counties located in that district.

The number of appellate judges in each district depends on the size and population of the district; the larger, more populated districts may have twelve judges, while smaller, less populated districts may only have four judges.

In addition to their duty to hear appeals of the lower court, the Ohio courts of appeals have original jurisdiction to hear applications for writs of habeas corpus, prohibition, and other original actions. The Tenth District Court of Appeals that serves Franklin County and Columbus also hears appeals from the Ohio Court of Claims.


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Columbus, Ohio District Court of Appeals

Columbus (and all of Franklin County) is served by the Tenth District Court of Appeals. Eight elected judges serving a six-year term comprise the three-judge panel. The Tenth District Court of Appeals hears civil and criminal appeals and appeals from administrative agencies. There is also a magistrate docket that hears smaller matters.

The current judges in the Tenth District Court of Appeals are:

  • The Honorable Julia L. Dorrian, Presiding Judge
  • The Honorable Betsy Luper Schuster, Administrative Judge
  • The Honorable Susan Brown
  • The Honorable William A. Klatt
  • The Honorable Lisa L. Sadler
  • The Honorable Laurel Beatty Blunt
  • The Honorable Michael C. Mentel

The governor may fill a vacancy in the court of appeals until the next election.


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Strategies for Criminal Appeals

Appealing a conviction or sentence is not a guarantee that the original decision will be reversed. The appellate court does not retry your case, although they can order a new trial if they find evidence of error or malfeasance.

The best strategies for a criminal appeal include:

  • File within the deadline.
  • Collect necessary transcripts and records.
  • Write a clear, compelling brief that supports your case.
  • Get help from a Columbus criminal appeals attorney.

The appeals process is complex. You do not want to jeopardize your second chance by missing the deadline or failing to meet the burden of proof.


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Resources for Criminal Appeals

  • Franklin County Clerk of the Courts: The Franklin County Clerk of the Courts receives, manages, and maintains all fillings to the Tenth District Court of Appeals and to the Court of Common Pleas.
  • Ohio Crime Victim Services: The Ohio Crime Victim Services provides support and education in cases where an appeal may threaten or impede a crime victim.
  • Ohio State Bar Association: The Ohio State Bar Association’s website has a downloadable fact sheet with commonly asked questions about the state’s court system, including the appellate branch.
  • Franklin County Justice System Case List: The Tenth District Court of Appeals offers a searchable database of all cases scheduled before the appellate judges and magistrates.
  • Ohio Supreme Court: The state’s highest court provides a fact sheet available for download on the appellate court rules and procedures.

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News about Ohio Appellate Courts

  • Appeals Court Sides with Ohio in Battle to Get Census Data: The Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Ohio to force the federal government to release more data from the 2020 census. The State of Ohio sued the U.S. Census Bureau to speed up its data release that the state says it needs for re-districting congressional boundaries.
  • Ohio Senate Passes Bill to Make Higher Court Races Partisan: A new bill passed by the Ohio Senate would require judicial candidates to list their political party affiliation in the general election. Currently, candidates for judges are only identified by their party affiliation in their respective primaries.
  • Court News Ohio: The Ohio Supreme Court and the Ohio Government Telecommunications offer links to televised court proceedings, archives, and news affecting the state judicial system.

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FAQs about Columbus Criminal Appeals

Q: What is the process for filing an appeal for a criminal conviction or sentence?

A: Appeals must be filed within the deadline, which is 30 days from the date of the trial court’s decision. A criminal appeals attorney then files a brief, which outlines the basis for the appeal. The prosecuting attorney also files a brief. Both lawyers make their case before a panel of three appellate judges. After reading the briefs and hearing oral arguments, the appeals judges make their decision.

Q: Could the appeals court overturn the original decision?

A: There are three ways that an appellate judge may rule: uphold the conviction; overturn the decision; or order the lower court to either overturn the conviction or issue a new trial.

Q: How long does an appeal take?

A: A criminal appeals case usually takes several months or longer, depending on the court’s docket.

Q: Is it possible to appeal a sentence?

A: You have the right to appeal a sentence that is illegal, unreasonable, or excessively cruel.


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Columbus Criminal Appeals Attorney

You have a limited time to appeal a conviction or sentence. Call Joslyn Law Firm today for a free consultation: (614) 444-1900.

  • Brian Joslyn was named Best Lawyer in 2019 by Birdeye.
  • Columbus CEO magazine has yearly selections for the best attorneys in Columbus Ohio. Brian Joslyn has been identified as one of the most highly skilled attorneys across central Ohio.
  • Brian Joslyn has earned recognition for community leadership by Lawyer LegionLawyer Legion
  • Preeminent Attorney Award. Peer rated for highest level of professional exellence.
  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB), founded in 1912, is a private, nonprofit organization whose self-described mission is to focus on advancing marketplace trust.

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