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A direct appeal whether following a conviction or an appeal of a denial or dismissal of a post-conviction petition is not a second trial and is vastly different than any proceeding in a trial court. A trial court is the venue where evidence is presented, witnesses testify, and factual findings are made. In contrast, a court of review whether an appellate court or a supreme court, does not hear new evidence, it does not make factual findings, and it does not hear the testimony of any witnesses. Instead, a reviewing court only considers the evidence that was presented at the trial, which is known as the appellate record consisting of the report of proceedings and the common law record.
Most appeals are litigated solely based upon the appellate briefs that each party files with the reviewing court. The party filing the appeal is known as an appellant who is entitled to file an opening brief and reply brief after the party defending the appeal, the appellee, files his responsive brief. The appellate court can call the case for oral argument, which is vastly different than any argument made at trial.
Federal Appeal or an Illinois State Appeal
Federal cases are always heard in a federal circuit court of appeals and Illinois cases always begin in state appellate courts. The federal court of appeals is divided into 13 circuits consisting of 179 justices appointed for life by the President of the United States. These justices review the federal trial courts, which are known as district courts. Illinois falls under the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals located at the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago, which is made up of 11 justices. The Seventh Circuit hears cases that arise out of district courts in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana.
Unlike the federal system, the Illinois appellate courts are a unified court system divided into five districts covering a specific geographic area.
The First District of the Illinois Court of Appeals is located in Chicago and it hears cases that arise solely out of Cook County. The 1st District consists of six divisions comprised of four justices each. Like all Illinois judiciary the appellate court justices are elected.
The Second District Court of Appeals is located in Elgin and hears cases from the counties of Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Du Page, Jo Daviess, Kane, Kendall, Lake, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson, and Winnebago. The 2nd District has nine justices.
The Third District Appellate Court is located in Ottawa and hears appeals from the counties of Bureau, Fulton, Grundy, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Iroquois, Kankakee, Knox, LaSalle, Marshall, McDonough, Mercer, Peoria, Putnam, Rock Island, Stark, Tazewell, Warren, Whiteside, and Will. The 3rd District has seven justices.
The Fourth District Court of Appeals located in Springfield listens to appeals from Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Cass, Champaign, Clark, Coles, Cumberland, DeWitt, Douglas, Edgar, Ford, Greene, Jersey, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Mason, McLean, Menard, Morgan, Moultrie, Piatt, Pike, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Vermillion, and Woodford. The 4th District also has seven justices.
The Fifth District Court of Appeals is located in Mt. Vernon and hears cases arising out of Alexander, Bond, Christian, Clay, Clinton, Crawford, Edwards, Effingham, Fayette, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Massac, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Richland, St. Clair, Saline, Shelby, Union, Wabash, Washington, Wayne, White, and Williamson. The 5th District like the 3rd and 4th Districts has seven justices.
The difference between the purposes of the reviewing courts whether federal or state is the same – remedy prejudicial trial errors. However, the procedural rules governing appeals is different whether appealing to a federal court or an Illinois court.
Once the appeal perfection is completed granting jurisdiction to the reviewing court and the record on appeal is filed, the true work begins – preparation of the appellate brief.
The appellate brief is the single most important part of the appellate process whether appealing in federal or state court. The person filing the appeal starts process by submitting the opening brief that must contain certain mandatory sections and it must properly present all the arguments and issues on appeal supported by legal authority and pinpoint citation to the record.
The party defending the trial court then files his or her brief responding to the arguments and issues raised by the appellant in the opening brief. The appellee’s response essentially argues why the trial court’s decision was correctly decided. Finally, because the appellant has the burden of proof, he or she gets to file a reply brief to the appellee’s response.
The creation of an appellate brief is an arduous task that most criminal defense attorneys do not do. At Jaleel Law, we are different because we are zealous trial attorneys and reasoned appellate lawyers capable of handling a case at trial and on appeal. From beginning to end you can rely on Jaleel Law.
Why Are We The Best?
Our mission is to make you feel like you are our most important client. After all you deserve nothing less.
A dynamic result occurs when honesty and integrity is combined with skill and experience.
At all times we will treat you how we would want to be treated and we will tell you everything we would want to know if our roles were reversed.
Chicago Appeals Attorney
Why Choose Us
You are our number one priority and our goal is to make you feel that everyday.
Former prosecutor in Cook County one of the largest prosecutorial offices in the world.
We will always talk to you and we will never talk at you.
Relentless advocate who is not afraid to fight the government.
We will always strive to be the advocate you can trust.
What Client’s Say
I can’t say enough great things about Omar Jaleel. I hired Omar to help a family member, who suffers from addition, ordered to a rehab facility for 15 months instead of being sentenced to jail. It took some time but he was dedicated and made it happen. A very difficult task in an overcrowded judicial system. Thank you for everything Omar.
Excellent attorney. Accountable. Always shows on time. Strives for customer needs and wants. You feel like you are really backed during the entire process.
Outstanding legal representation. Omer’s experience and expertise was truly an asset that payed dividends and prevented a disastrous outcome. I would highly recommend him to my friends and families without any hesitation.