Appeal: Within fourteen (14) days from the date of sentencing, a Defendant has the opportunity to file a “Notice of Appeal.” Along with this, a “Designation of Record” is filed, specifying all the necessary documents and court reporter transcripts required for the appeal. The higher court then establishes a “Briefing Schedule” that outlines the deadlines for filing the “Appellant’s Brief.” The State can respond with a “Respondent Brief,” and the Defendant is given a chance to present a “Reply Brief” as the final argument. The judge can either rule based on the submitted documents or schedule an “Oral Argument” where the defense attorney and prosecutor present their case. Following the arguments, the judge will issue a ruling. If the Defendant is unsatisfied with the ruling, they can further appeal to a higher court, potentially reaching the United States Supreme Court for a final and definitive decision (as in the case of Gore v. Bush during the 2000 presidential election).
Post Conviction Relief Petition (PCR): In cases where a Defendant believes they received ineffective assistance of counsel, particularly in public defender cases, or if newly discovered evidence supports their claim of innocence, they can file a “Post Conviction Relief Petition” (PCR). According to the rules, Defendants have ninety (90) days from the date of “Sentencing” or thirty (30) days from the date of the last appeal to file a PCR. However, if new evidence emerges, a PCR can be filed at any time. These petitions are commonly filed in felony cases where individuals are serving lengthy prison sentences. However, some people may file a PCR even if they haven’t served prison time, aiming to clear their record from any negative implications.
Habeas Corpus: “Habeas Corpus,” a Latin term meaning “that you have the body,” refers to a motion frequently filed to ensure that a Defendant’s imprisonment or detention is not unlawful. It is often used to challenge the legality of an arrest or commitment. Additionally, it can be employed to review the legality of an extradition process, question the right to or amount of bail, and challenge the jurisdiction of a court that imposed a criminal sentence. Habeas Corpus is primarily utilized in the Federal Court system, while the State Court system has alternative mechanisms serving a similar purpose.