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The Criminal Appeals Process

Our criminal justice system includes a number of steps that must be completed before a person can be convicted of a crime.

While conviction and sentencing often mark the end of the Court’s involvement in a criminal case, sometimes the case may be appealed.

In Arizona, every person convicted of a felony may appeal. Defendants sentenced to death automatically have an appeal filed on their behalf.

Victims of a crime are entitled, upon request, to be advised of the case status while it is on appeal and of the outcome of the appeal.

The appeals process is different from the trial process in several ways:

  • The majority of the arguments presented are made in writing rather than in open court.
  • A panel of judges, rather than a judge and jury, consider and decide the case.
  • Arguments relate to the defendant’s rights during the prosecution of the case, rather than the actual crime.

Few, if any, hearings are scheduled.

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