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Process For Filing A Child Abuse Conviction Appeal - Southfield, MIProcess For Filing A Criminal Appeal In Michigan For Child Abuse Convictions

The process for filing a criminal appeal in Michigan for child abuse cases follows the same procedure as for other criminal cases. If a defendant is convicted after a trial, they can file an appeal. This is known as an appeal by right, meaning that the Court of Appeals must hear their case. However, if the conviction is based on a plea and not a jury conviction, the defendant must file an application for leave to appeal, asking the Court of Appeals for permission to review the case.

In child abuse appeals, similar to sex crimes appeals, it is crucial to investigate potential instances of ineffective assistance of counsel. If there is evidence of such ineffective assistance, it’s necessary to file a motion for a new trial under Michigan Court Rule 7.208 in the trial court, or a motion to remand for an evidentiary hearing on the issue in the Court of Appeals. Although this can add several months to the timeline of an appeal, the importance of effective counsel at trial and the increasing relevance of ineffective assistance of counsel as grounds for appeal make this a vital step in the process.

Appealing Child Abuse Sentences In Michigan

Appealing a sentence for a child abuse conviction in Michigan is challenging due to the emotional nature of these cases. The starting point for sentencing is the statutory sentencing guidelines scheme, which the Michigan Supreme Court has ruled to be discretionary. Courts must use these guidelines as a starting point and may grant a variance or departure from these guidelines, provided they articulate their reasons on record.

If a sentence falls within the guideline range, an appeal is nearly impossible. A sentence above the guideline range may be reviewed by the Court of Appeals, but unless the trial court failed to provide valid reasons on record for the departure, it is unlikely that the Court of Appeals will reverse the sentence.

Trial court judges have considerable discretion in scoring the sentencing guidelines and even more in fashioning an appropriate sentence. The Court of Appeals reviews sentences under an “abuse of discretion” standard, a high bar for appellants. Unless the trial court made a critical error in scoring the guidelines, if the sentence is within or below the guidelines, it’s almost impossible to successfully appeal the sentence.

Time Limitations For Filing An Appeal In Michigan For Child Abuse Convictions

It’s crucial to remember that federal 2254 habeas corpus petitions require the exhaustion of all state remedies and no default in any of those remedies. Therefore, failing to file anything timely during the state appeals process can significantly hinder the potential for the case to be reviewed in federal court.

After a conviction at trial, the defendant has 42 days to file an appeal to the Court of Appeals. Once this is done and the transcripts are ordered, the briefing timelines under the court rules take effect. The appellant, usually the defendant, has 56 days to file their brief, which can be extended via either stipulation or motion.

After the appellant files their brief, the appellee (typically the prosecutor), has an equal amount of time to file theirs. Oral argument is then heard, and the Court of Appeals reaches a decision. The losing side then has 56 days to file an application for leave to appeal for the Michigan Supreme Court to review the case.

Once the Michigan Supreme Court issues a ruling (which is considered the final ruling by the state’s highest criminal court), the clock for filing post-conviction relief begins. Although there’s no timeline for filing a state 6,500 motion under state law, the federal 2254 habeas corpus Law under the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) requires a defendant to file his habeas corpus petition within one year of the finality of a state court petition.

The filing of a 6,500 motion in state court can stay or toll the clock for the federal habeas petition. If the defendant appeals a denial of the 6,500 motion to the Court of Appeals and subsequently to the Michigan Supreme Court, the time clock continues to be tolled or stayed. Once the Michigan Supreme Court denies the 6,500 motion or the appeal of the 6,500 motion, the one year clock restarts. Hence, it is critical not to exceed 12 months of non-state-tolled time following the denial of a defendant’s direct appeal by the Michigan Supreme Court in order to preserve a potential habeas 2254 petition in federal court.

Role Of The Court Of Appeals In Child Abuse Criminal Appeals In Michigan

The Court of Appeals serves as the first and primary level of appellate review. After a trial, you have an automatic right to appeal a conviction to the Court of Appeals. While this doesn’t guarantee that the Court of Appeals will grant your appeal, it does mean that the court must hear your case and offer an opportunity to be heard.

Every subsequent appeal requires filing an application for leave to appeal, meaning you’re asking the Court of Appeals or the Michigan Supreme Court for permission to file an appeal to that court. Such permissions are rarely granted. Therefore, the Court of Appeals plays a pivotal role in reviewing criminal child abuse charges, often serving as the main, and sometimes only, forum to review a child abuse conviction in Michigan.

For more information on Process For Filing A Child Abuse Conviction Appeal, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (248) 509-0056 today.

Mark Satawa

Call Today For Your Free Case Strategy Session
(248) 509-0056