What forms do you need to file a criminal appeal in Alabama? A Google search on this question will lead to a lot of appellate lawyer websites, but a list of which forms to file to start the appellate process is hard to find online. We are fixing that problem by providing information about the forms to our readers.
To start a criminal appeal in Alabama, a defendant needs to file the following three documents:
- Notice of Appeal. In criminal cases, there is not a standardized fill-in-the-blanks form for submitting written Notice of Appeal. Lawyers or laymen will need to prepare their own form in the style of a standard criminal court motion (with case caption at the top, signatures, certificate of service, etc.). The Notice of Appeal is filed with the Circuit Clerk’s office in the county where the conviction occurred, and it is a notification that the defendant is appealing his or her conviction to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals (the first step in appealing a felony conviction). This document needs to directly state that the defendant gives Notice of Appeal of the conviction and sentence imposed, and that the defendant requests a reasonable appeal bond and a stay of execution of the sentence pending appeal. The Notice of Appeal should also include the date of conviction, the date of sentencing, what the defendant was convicted of doing, and the sentence that was imposed. The appendix to the Alabama Rules of Appellate Procedure contains an example that can be adapted to fit the circumstances of your case.
- Reporter’s Transcript Order – Form ARAP-1C. The purpose of filing the Reporter’s Transcript Order is to identify exactly what items you want the court reporter to include in the trial transcript. If there were certain pretrial hearings that were transcribed and would be relevant to the appeal such as a hearing on a motion to suppress evidence, then a request for that hearing transcript needs to be listed by date on the form. Also, make sure to contact the court reporter for an estimate on the cost of the transcript because you will need to pay for the transcript in advance. The Reporter’s Transcript Order form can be downloaded by clicking here: ARAP-1C Reporters Transcript Order – Criminal
- Court of Criminal Appeals Docketing Statement – Form ARAP-26. This is a two-page form that provides a significant amount of information about the case to the appellate court. Fill this out carefully, and make sure to list any post-judgment motions because those affect your deadlines in getting the appeal filed. You will also need to give a brief summary of the facts of the case, as well as list the issues you anticipate raising on appeal. However, the list of issues presented here is not binding on you when you write the actual brief. The Court of Criminal Appeals Docketing Statement can be downloaded here: ARAP-26 Criminal Appeals Docketing Statement.
Those three forms are all that need to be filed to start the process of appealing a felony criminal conviction in Alabama. Note that unless you have been declared indigent by the trial court, your appeal forms must be accompanied by a $200.0o filing fee. Also be aware that as of the date of this post, the originals of these forms still need to be hand-filed with the circuit clerk’s office rather than electronically.
Please understand that this is not everything that must be done to appeal a conviction. These forms are merely the start of the process. They are provided here as a resource for lawyers as well as to let pro se litigants have access to the relevant legal forms. The most important document that will be prepared in your appeal is the Brief of Appellant, which must strictly the follow the Alabama Rules of Appellate Procedure.
To learn more about whether to hire an appellate lawyer to work on your appeal, please read our articles on Should Trial Lawyers Handle Their Own Appeals and Mistakes Trial Lawyers Make with Appeals in Alabama. For laymen handling their own appeals or for attorneys who do not have access to sufficient legal research resources, we suggest you look at your free legal research options through Google Scholar. If you would like to discuss retaining our firm to handle an appeal for you or your client, please fill out our Contact Form with information about your case or call us at (800) 737-3702.
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