Free Information on Appeal Procedures for Misdemeanors - California



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CR-131-INFO 1 Information on Appeal Procedures for Misdemeanors What does this information sheet cover? For information about appeal procedures in other cases, see: · This information sheet tells you about appeals in misdemeanor cases. It is only meant to give you a general idea of the appeal process, so it does not cover everything you may need to know about appeals in misdemeanor cases. To learn more, you should read rules 8.800­8.816 and 8.850­8.890 of the California Rules of Court, which set out the procedures for misdemeanor appeals. You can get these rules at any courthouse or county law library or online at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/rules. 2 Information on Appeal Procedures for Infractions (form CR-141-INFO) Information on Appeal Procedures for Limited Civil Cases (form APP-101-INFO) · You can get these forms at any courthouse or coun

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Information on Appeal Procedures for Misdemeanors

What does this information sheet cover?

For information about appeal procedures in other cases, see:
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This information sheet tells you about appeals in misdemeanor cases. It is only meant to give you a general idea of the appeal process, so it does not cover everything you may need to know about appeals in misdemeanor cases. To learn more, you should read rules 8.800­8.816 and 8.850­8.890 of the California Rules of Court, which set out the procedures for misdemeanor appeals. You can get these rules at any courthouse or county law library or online at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/rules.
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Information on Appeal Procedures for Infractions (form CR-141-INFO) Information on Appeal Procedures for Limited Civil Cases (form APP-101-INFO)

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You can get these forms at any courthouse or county law library or online at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms.

What is a misdemeanor?

A misdemeanor is a crime that can be punished by jail time of up to one year, but not by time in state prison. (See Penal Code sections 17 and 19.2. You can get a copy of these laws at www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html.) If you were also charged with or convicted of a felony, then your case is a felony case, not a misdemeanor case.
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instructions given to the jury, and misconduct by the jury that harmed the appellant. When it conducts its review, the appellate division presumes that the judgment, order, or other decision being appealed is correct. It is the responsibility of the appellant to show the appellate division that an error was made and that the error was harmful.
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What is an appeal?

An appeal is a request to a higher court to review a decision made by a lower court. In a misdemeanor case, the court hearing the appeal is the appellate division of the superior court and the lower court-- called the "trial court" in this information sheet--is the superior court. It is important to understand that an appeal is NOT a new trial. The appellate division will not consider new evidence, such as the testimony of new witnesses or new exhibits. The appellate division's job is to review a record of what happened in the trial court and the trial court's decision to see if certain kinds of legal errors were made in the case:
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No substantial evidence: The appellant may also ask the appellate division to determine if there was substantial evidence supporting the judgment, order, or other decision being appealed. When it conducts its review, the appellate division only looks to see if there was evidence that reasonably supports the decision. The appellate division generally will not reconsider the jury's or trial court's conclusion about which side had more or stronger evidence or whether witnesses were telling the truth or lying.

The appellate division generally will not overturn the judgment, order, or other decision being appealed unless the record clearly shows that one of these legal errors was made.
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Do I need a lawyer to appeal?

Prejudicial error: The party that appeals (called the "appellant") may ask the appellate division to determine if an error was made about either the law or court procedures in the case that caused substantial harm to the appellant (this is called "prejudicial error"). Prejudicial error can include things like errors made by the judge about the law, errors or misconduct by the lawyers, incorrect

You do not have to have a lawyer; you are allowed to represent yourself in an appeal in a misdemeanor case. But appeals can be complicated, and you will have to follow the same rules that lawyers have to follow. If you have any questions about the appeal procedures, you should talk to a lawyer.

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Judicial Council of California, www.courtinfo.ca.gov New January 1, 2009, Optional Form Cal. Rules of Court, rules 8.800­8.889

Information on Appeal Procedures for Misdemeanors

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convicted of committing the misdemeanor. The other party is called the RESPONDENT; in a misdemeanor case, this is usually the government agency that filed the criminal charges (on court papers, this party is called the People of the State of California).
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If you are representing yourself, you must inform the court if your address, telephone number, or other contact information changes so that the court can contact you if needed.
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How do I get a lawyer to represent me? Can I appeal any decision that the trial court made?

The court is required to appoint a lawyer to represent you if you are indigent (you cannot afford to pay for a lawyer) and:
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Your punishment includes going to jail or paying a fine of more than $500 (including penalty and other assessments) or You are likely to suffer other significant harm as a result of being convicted.

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The court may, but is not required to, appoint a lawyer to represent you on appeal in other circumstances if you are indigent. You are automatically considered indigent if you were represented by the public defender or other court-appointed lawyer in the trial court. You will also be considered indigent if you can show that your income and assets are too low to pay for a lawyer. If you think you are indigent, you can ask the court to appoint a lawyer to represent you for your appeal. You may use Request for Court-Appointed Lawyer in Misdemeanor Appeal (form CR-133) to ask the court to appoint a lawyer to represent you on appeal in a misdemeanor case. You can get form CR-133 at any courthouse or county law library or online at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms. If you want a lawyer and you are not indigent or if the court turns down your request to appoint a lawyer, you must hire a lawyer at your own expense. You can get information about finding a lawyer on the California Courts Online Self-Help Center at www.courtinfo.ca.gov /selfhelp/lowcost.
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No. Generally, you may appeal only the final judgment --the decision at the end that decides the whole case. The final judgment includes the punishment that the court imposed. Other rulings made by the trial court before final judgment generally cannot be separately appealed, but can be reviewed only later as part of an appeal of the final judgment. In a misdemeanor case, the party convicted of committing a misdemeanor usually appeals that conviction or the sentence (punishment) ordered by the trial court. In a misdemeanor case, a party can also appeal from:
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An order granting or denying a motion to suppress evidence (Penal Code section 1538.5(j)) An order made by the trial court after judgment that affects a substantial right of the appellant (Penal Code section 1466(2)(B))

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You can get a copy of these laws at www.leginfo.ca.gov /calaw.html.
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How do I start my appeal?

First, you must file a notice of appeal. The notice of appeal tells the other party in the case and the trial court that you are appealing the trial court's decision. You may use Notice of Appeal (Misdemeanor) (form CR-132) to prepare and file a notice of appeal in a misdemeanor case. You can get form CR-132 at any courthouse or county law library or online at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms.
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Who can appeal?

Is there a deadline for filing my notice of appeal?

Only a party in the trial court case can appeal a decision in that case. You may not appeal on behalf of a friend, a spouse, a child, or another relative. The party that is appealing is called the APPELLANT; in a misdemeanor case, this is usually the party
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Yes. Except in the very limited circumstances listed in rule 8.853(b), in a misdemeanor case, you must file your notice of appeal within 30 days after the trial court makes ("renders") its final judgment in your case or issues the order you are appealing. (You can get a copy

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Other parts of your punishment, such as fines or probation conditions, will be postponed ("stayed"), only if you request a stay and the court grants your request. If you want a stay, you must first ask the trial court for a stay. You can also apply to the appellate division for a stay, but you must show in your application to appellate division that you first asked the trial court a stay and that the trial court unjustifiably denied your request. If you do not get a stay and you do not pay your fine or complete another part of your punishment by the date ordered by the court, a warrant may be issued for your arrest or a civil collections process may be started against you, which could result in a civil penalty being added to your fine.
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of rule 8.853 at any courthouse or county law library or online at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/rules.) The date the trial court makes its judgment is normally the date the trial court issues its order saying what your punishment is (sentences you). This deadline for filing the notice of appeal cannot be extended. If your notice of appeal is late, the appellate division will not be able to consider your appeal.
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How do I file my notice of appeal?

To file the notice of appeal in a misdemeanor case, you must bring or mail the original notice of appeal to the clerk of the trial court that made the judgment or issued the order you are appealing. It is a good idea to bring or mail an extra copy to the clerk and ask the clerk to stamp it to show that the original has been filed. There is no fee for filing the notice of appeal in a misdemeanor case. You can ask the clerk of that court if there are any other requirements for filing your notice of appeal. After you file your notice of appeal, the clerk will send a copy of your notice of appeal to the office of the prosecuting attorney (for example, the district attorney, county counsel, city attorney, or state Attorney General).
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What do I need to do after I file my appeal?

You must tell the trial court whether you want a record of what was said in the trial court (this is called a record of the "oral proceedings") sent to the appellate division and, if so, what form of that record you want to use. You may use Notice Regarding Record of Oral Proceedings (Misdemeanor) (form CR-134) for this notice. (You can get form CR-134 at any courthouse or county law library or online at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms.) You must file this notice either: (1) within 20 days after you file your notice of appeal, or, if it is later (2) within 10 days after the court decides whether to appoint a lawyer to represent you (if you ask the court to appoint a lawyer within 20 days after you file your notice of appeal).
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If I file a notice of appeal, do I still have to go to jail or complete other parts of my punishment?

Filing the notice of appeal does NOT automatically postpone your punishment, such as serving time in jail, paying fines, or probation conditions. If you have been sentenced to jail in a misdemeanor case, you have a right to be released either with or without bail while your appeal is waiting to be decided, but you must ask the court to set bail or release you. If the trial court has not set bail or released you after your notice of appeal has been filed, you must ask the trial court to set bail or release you. If the trial court denies your release or sets the bail amount higher than you think it should be, you can apply to the appellate division for release or for lower bail.

In what cases does the appellate division need a record of what was said in the trial court?

You do not have to send the appellate division a record of what was said in the trial court. But if you want to raise any issue in your appeal that would require the appellate division to consider what was said in the trial court, the appellate division will need a record of these oral proceedings. For example, if you are claiming that there was not substantial evidence supporting the judgment, order, or other decision you are appealing, the appellate division will need a record of the oral

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reporter made a record of your case before you choose this option. Cost: Ordinarily, the appellant must pay for preparing a reporter's transcript. The court reporter will provide the clerk of the trial court with an estimate of the cost of preparing the transcript and the clerk will notify you of this estimate. If you want the reporter to prepare a transcript, you must deposit this estimated amount with the clerk within 10 days after the clerk sends you the estimate. If, however, you are indigent (you cannot afford to pay the cost of a reporter's transcript), you may be able to get a free transcript. If you were represented by the public defender or another court-appointed lawyer in the trial court, you are automatically considered indigent. If you were not represented by a court-appointed lawyer in the trial court, you can complete and file Defendant's Financial Statement on Eligibility for Appointment of Counsel and Reimbursement and Record on Appeal at Public Expense (form MC-210), to show that you are indigent. You can get form MC-210 at any courthouse or county law library or online at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms. The court will review this form to decide whether you are indigent. If you are indigent, a court reporter made a record of your case, and you show that you need a transcript, the court must provide you with a free transcript. Whether you need a transcript depends on the issues you are raising on appeal. If the issues you are raising on appeal include that there was not substantial evidence supporting the judgment, order, or other decision you are appealing or that there was misconduct in your case that harmed you, that is generally enough to show that you need a transcript. If you ask for a reporter's transcript, the court may ask you what issues you are raising on appeal and may decide that a statement on appeal or a transcript of only some of the oral proceedings will be a good enough record to consider the issues you are raising.

proceedings. Since the appellate division judges were not there for the proceedings in the trial court, an official record of these oral proceedings must be prepared and sent to the appellate division for its review. Depending on what form of the record you choose to use, you will be responsible for paying to have the official record of the oral proceedings prepared (unless you are indigent) or for preparing an initial draft of this record yourself. If you do not take care of these responsibilities, a record of the oral proceedings in the trial court will not be prepared and sent to the appellate division. If the appellate division does not receive this record, it will not be able to consider what was said in the trial court in deciding whether a legal error was made.
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What are the different forms of the record?

There are three ways a record of the oral proceedings in the trial court can be prepared and provided to the appellate division in a misdemeanor case: a. If a court reporter was there during the trial court proceedings, the reporter can prepare a record called a "reporter's transcript." If the proceedings were officially electronically recorded, the trial court can have a transcript prepared from that recording; or if the court has a local rule permitting this and you and the respondent (the prosecuting agency) agree ("stipulate") to this, you can use the official electronic recording itself as the record, instead of a transcript. You can use a statement on appeal.

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Read below for more information about these options. a. Reporter's transcript When available: In some misdemeanor cases, a court reporter is there in the trial court and makes a record of the oral proceedings. If a court reporter made a record of your case, you can ask to have the court reporter prepare a transcript of those oral proceedings, called a "reporter's transcript." You should check with the trial court to see if a court

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www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms. The court will review this form to decide whether you are indigent. If you are indigent, an official electronic recording of your case was made, and you show that you need a transcript, the court must provide you with a free transcript. Whether you need a transcript depends on the issues you are raising on appeal. If the issues you are raising on appeal include that there was not substantial evidence supporting the judgment, order, or other decision you are appealing or that there was misconduct in your case that harmed you, that is generally enough to show that you need a transcript. If you ask for a transcript, the court may ask you what issues you are raising on appeal and may decide that a statement on appeal or a transcript of only some of the oral proceedings will be a good enough record to consider the issues you are raising. Completion and delivery: Once you deposit the estimated cost of the transcript or the official electronic recording with the clerk or show the court you are indigent and need a transcript, the clerk will have the transcript or copy of the recording prepared. When the transcript is completed or the copy of the official electronic recording is prepared, the clerk will send the transcript or recording to the appellate division. c. Statement on appeal Description: A statement on appeal is a summary of the trial court proceedings approved by the trial court judge who conducted those proceedings (the term "judge" includes commissioners and temporary judges). When available: If the trial court proceedings were not recorded either by a court reporter or by official electronic recording equipment, or if you do not want to use either of these forms of the record, you can choose ("elect") to use a statement on appeal as the record of the oral proceedings in the trial court (please note that it may take more of your time to prepare a statement on appeal than to use either a reporter's transcript or electronic recording, if they are available).

Completion and delivery: Once you deposit the estimated cost of the transcript or show the court you are indigent and need a transcript, the clerk will notify the reporter to prepare the transcript. When the reporter completes the transcript, the clerk will send the reporter's transcript to the appellate division. b. Official electronic recording or transcript from an official recording When available: In some misdemeanor cases, the trial court proceedings are officially recorded on approved electronic recording equipment. If your case was officially recorded, you can ask to have a transcript prepared from that official electronic recording. You should check with the trial court to see if your case was officially electronically recorded before you choose this option. If the court has a local rule for the appellate division permitting this and all the parties agree ("stipulate"), a copy of the official electronic recording itself can be used as the record of the oral proceedings instead of preparing a transcript. You should check with the trial court to see if your case was officially electronically recorded and check to make sure there is a local rule permitting the use of the recording itself before choosing this option. If you choose this option, you must attach a copy of your agreement with the other parties (called a "stipulation") to your notice regarding the oral proceedings. Cost: Ordinarily, the appellant must pay for preparing a transcript or making a copy of the official electronic recording. If, however, you are indigent (you cannot afford to pay the cost of the transcript or recording), you may be able to get a free transcript or recording. If you were represented by the public defender or another court-appointed attorney in the trial court, you are automatically considered indigent. If you were not represented by a court-appointed lawyer in the trial court, you can complete and file Defendant's Financial Statement on Eligibility for Appointment of Counsel and Reimbursement and Record on Appeal at Public Expense (form MC-210) to show that you are indigent. You can get form MC-210 at any courthouse or county law library or online at

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proposed statement to the clerk when you file your original and ask the clerk to stamp this copy to show that the original has been filed. You can get more information about how to serve court papers and proof of service from What Is Proof of Service? (form APP-109-INFO) and on the California Courts Online Self-Help Center at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp/lowcost/getready .htm#serving. Review and modifications: The prosecuting attorney and any other party have 10 days from the date you serve your proposed statement to serve and file proposed changes (called "amendments") to this statement. The trial court judge then reviews both your proposed statement and any proposed amendments and makes any corrections or modifications to the statement needed to make sure that the statement provides a complete and accurate summary of the trial court proceedings. Completion and certification: If the judge makes any corrections or modifications to the proposed statement, the corrected or modified statement will be sent to you, the prosecuting attorney, and any other party for your review. If you disagree with anything in the judge's statement, you will have 10 days from the date the statement is sent you to serve and file objections to the statement. The judge then reviews any objections, makes any additional corrections to the statement, and certifies the statement as a complete and accurate summary of the trial court proceedings. Sending the statement to appellate division: Once the trial court judge certifies the statement on appeal, the trial court clerk will send the statement to the appellate division along with the clerk's transcript.
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Contents: A statement on appeal must include a summary of the oral proceedings that the appellant believes necessary for the appeal and a summary of the trial court's decision. It must also include a statement of the points the appellant is raising on appeal. (See rule 8.869 of the California Rules of Court for more information about what must be included in a statement on appeal and the procedures for preparing a statement. You can get this rule at any courthouse or county law library or online at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/rules.) Preparing a proposed statement: If you choose to use a statement on appeal, you must prepare a proposed statement. If you are not represented by a lawyer, you must use Proposed Statement on Appeal (Misdemeanor) (form CR-135) to prepare your proposed statement. You can get form CR-135 at any courthouse or county law library or online at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms. Serving and filing a proposed statement: You must serve and file your proposed statement in the trial court within 20 days after you file your notice regarding the record of the oral proceedings. "Serve and file" means that you must:
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Have somebody over 18 years old who is not a party to the case--so not you--mail or deliver ("serve") a copy of the proposed statement to the prosecuting attorney and any other party in the way required by law. Make a record that the proposed statement has been served. This record is called a "proof of service." Proof of Service (Appellate Division) (form APP-109) can be used to make this record. The proof of service must show who served the proposed statement, who was served with the proposed statement, how the proposed statement was served (by mail or in person), and the date the proposed statement was served. File the original proposed statement and the proof of service with the trial court. You should make a copy of the proposed statement you are planning to file for your own records before you file it with the court. It is a good idea to bring or mail an extra copy of the

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Is there any other part of the record that needs to be sent to the appellate division?

Yes. There are two other parts of the official record that need to be sent to the appellate division:
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Documents filed in the trial court: The trial court clerk is responsible for preparing a record of the
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serving, and filing briefs in misdemeanor appeals, including requirements for the format and length of those briefs. You can get copies of these rules at any courthouse or county law library or online at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/rules. Contents: If you are the appellant (the party who is appealing), your brief, called the "appellant's opening brief," must clearly explain what you believe are the legal errors made in the trial court. Your brief must refer to the exact places in the clerk's transcript and the reporter's transcript (or other record of the oral proceedings) that support your argument. Remember that an appeal is not a new trial. The appellate division will not consider new evidence, such as the testimony of new witnesses or new exhibits, so do not include any new evidence in your brief. Serving and filing: You must serve and file your brief in the appellate division by the deadline the court set in the notice it sent you, which is usually 30 days after the record is filed in the appellate division. "Serve and file" means that you must:
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written documents filed in your case, called a "clerk's transcript," and sending this to the appellate division. (The documents the clerk must include in this transcript are listed in rule 8.861 of the California Rules of Court. You can get a copy of this rule at any courthouse or county law library or online at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/rules.)
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Exhibits submitted during trial: Exhibits, such as photographs, that were admitted in evidence, refused, or lodged (temporarily placed with the court) in the trial court are considered part of the record on appeal. If you want the appellate division to consider such an exhibit, however, you must ask the trial court clerk to send the original exhibit to the appellate division within 10 days after the last respondent's brief is filed in the appellate division. (See rule 8.870 of the California Rules of Court for more information about this procedure. You can get a copy of this rule at any courthouse or county law library or online at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/rules.) Sometimes, the trial court returns an exhibit to a party at the end of the trial. If the trial court returned an exhibit to you or another party and you or the other party ask for the exhibit to be sent to the appellate division, the party who has the exhibit must deliver that exhibit to the appellate division as soon as possible.
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Have somebody over 18 years old who is not a party to the case--so not you--mail or deliver ("serve") the brief to the respondent (the prosecuting agency) and any other party in the way required by law. Make a record that the brief has been served. This record is called a "proof of service." Proof of Service (Appellate Division) (form APP-109) can be used to make this record. The proof of service must show who served the brief, who was served with the brief, how the brief was served (by mail or in person), and the date the brief was served. File the original brief and the proof of service with the appellate division. You should make a copy of the brief you are planning to file for your own records before you file it with the court. It is a good idea to bring or mail an extra copy of the brief to the clerk when you file your original and ask the clerk to stamp this copy to show that the original has been filed.

What happens after the record is prepared?

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As soon as the record of the oral proceeding is ready, the clerk of the trial court will send it to the appellate division along with the clerk's transcript. When the appellate division receives this record, it will send you a notice telling you when you must file your brief in the appellate division.
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What is a brief?

A brief is a party's written description of the facts in the case, the law that applies, and the party's argument about the issues being appealed. If you are represented by a lawyer in your appeal, your lawyer will prepare your brief. If you are not represented by a lawyer in your appeal, you will have to prepare your brief yourself. You should read rules 8.880­8.891 of the California Rules of Court, which set out the requirements for preparing,

You can get more information about how to serve court papers and proof of service from What Is Proof of Service? (form APP-109-INFO) and at www.courtinfo .ca.gov/selfhelp/lowcost/getready.htm#serving.

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If you do not file your brief by the deadline set by the appellate division, the court may dismiss your appeal.
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What happens after oral argument?

What happens after I file my brief?

Within 30 days after you serve and file your brief, the respondent (the prosecuting agency) may, but is not required to, respond by serving and filing a respondent's brief. If the respondent does not file a brief, the appellant does not automatically win the appeal. The court will decide the appeal on the record, the appellant's brief, and any oral argument by the appellant. If the respondent serves and files a brief, within 20 days after the respondent's brief was served, you may, but are not required to, serve and file another brief replying to the respondent's brief. This is called a "reply brief."
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After the oral argument is held (or the date it was scheduled passes if all the parties waive oral argument), the judges of the appellate division will make a decision about your appeal. The appellate division has 90 days after the date scheduled for oral argument to decide the appeal. The clerk of the court will mail you a notice of that decision.
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What should I do if I want to give up my appeal?

What happens after all the briefs have been filed?

Once all the briefs have been served and filed or the time to serve and file them has passed, the court will notify you of the date for oral argument in your case.
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If you decide you do not want to continue with your appeal, you must file a written document with the appellate division notifying it that you are giving up (this is called "abandoning") your appeal. You can use Abandonment of Appeal (Misdemeanor) (form CR-137) to file this notice in a misdemeanor case. You can get form CR-137 at any courthouse or county law library or online at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms. If you decide not to continue your appeal and it is dismissed, you will (with only very rare exceptions) permanently give up the chance to raise any objections to your conviction, sentence, or other matter that you could have raised on the appeal. If you were released from custody with or without bail or your sentence or any probation conditions were stayed during the appeal, you may be required to start serving your sentence or complying with your probation conditions immediately after your appeal is dismissed.

What is oral argument?

"Oral argument" is the parties' chance to explain their arguments to the appellate division judges in person. You do not have to participate in oral argument if you do not want to; you can notify the appellate division that you want to "waive" oral argument. If all parties waive oral argument, the judges will decide your appeal based on the briefs and the record that were submitted. But if one party waives oral argument and another party or parties does not, the appellate division will hold oral argument with the party or parties who did not waive it. If you choose to participate in oral argument, you will have up to 10 minutes for your argument, unless the court orders otherwise. Remember that the judges will already have read the briefs, so you do not need to read your brief to the judges. It is more helpful to tell the judges what you think is most important in your appeal or ask the judges if they have any questions you could answer.

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