Writs & Appeals


We Can Help You Get Post Conviction Relief

Mark Fredrick is ready and available to help you seek and get post conviction relief. Do you feel that the judge or jury made an error? Do you feel there was something wrong with how the court handled the case or evidence? Contact The Law Offices of Mark Fredrick now to help you file the necessary writs and appeals for your post conviction relief.


Sometimes trial courts and juries make mistakes. This means that many cases will eventually find themselves in appellate proceedings. With no ability to cross examine witnesses or introduce any new evidence appellate lawyers have to rework the existing evidence and testimonies; then present it in a compelling manner to convince appellate justices of the validity of their client’s cause. Do you think the trial court made an error? Contact a criminal lawyer now. You may be able to get the relief you need.


Writs and appeals are filed in the State and Federal Courts for criminal and civil cases, including complex capital litigation.


What is a Writ?

A writ in Old English means a letter, often written by an attorney. However, in most modern American jurisdictions, an writ is an order from a higher court to a lower court or to a government official. Defendants may seek several types of writs from appellate judges directed at the trial court or at a lower appellate court. Many states have two levels of appellate courts—an intermediate appellate court and the state Supreme Court.


A writ is only permitted when the defendant has no other adequate remedy, such as an appeal. For example, a defendant is only allowed to lodge one appeal. If the appeal is unsuccessful, the defendant may file a writ as long as it does not simply mimic the unsuccessful appeal because a defendant can file multiple writs. If the writ simply mimics the unsuccessful appeal, it will immediately be dismissed. Examples of writs include: writ of mandamus, writ of prohibition, writ of habeas corpus, writ of error, and writ of Certiorari. There are other circumstances under which a writ may be the best option for a defendant. Check with a criminal attorney for more information.


What is a Writ of Habeas Corpus?

A writ of habeas corpus (literal meaning “produce the body”) gives jailed suspects the right to ask an appellate judge to set them free or order an end to improper jail conditions, which ensures that people will not be held for long times in prison in violation of their rights. It is a court order to a a person (prison warden) or agency (institution) holding someone in custody to deliver the imprisoned individual to the court issuing the order.


Convicted defendants can take a number of steps to challenge guilty verdicts and/or to correct violations of constitutional rights, including motions, appeals and writs. However, time is of the essence when notifying a court that a defendant may take a writ or appeal.


In appeals situations in State or Federal Courts, defendants and/or their attorneys need to file a notice of appeal immediately after either conviction. This is a brief document which alerts the trial court that the defendant will be appealing, and which alerts the court clerk to start preparing the transcripts for review by the lawyers and higher courts. If defendants do not file a notice of appeal or if they file the notice late, they may not be able to file an appeal at all.


In writ cases, the same principle applies. Immediately after a defendant thinks he or she has been wronged, and assuming that there are facts outside the record which need to be shown to the higher court, he or she needs to file the writ. There is no notice of appeal which needs to be filed in a writ situation, but time is still of the essence.


What is a Writ of Mandamus?

This writ is not actually a writ, instead it is a command. Mandamus actually is Latin for “we command,” so it is not a writ of right, but rather an extraordinary writ commanding an official to perform a ministerial act that the law recognizes as an absolute duty and not a matter for the official’s discretion; used only when all other judicial remedies fail. Examples of how a writ of mandamus may be used include: ordering the directors of a corporation to produce the books for inspection in the manner provided by law or ordering a lower court to accept a suit it has illegally refused.


What is a Writ of Prohibition?

A writ of prohibition is an order issued by a higher court commanding a lower court to cease from proceeding in some matter not within its jurisdiction or in excess of its jurisdiction.


What is a Writ of Error?

A writ of error is a writ issued out of a court of competent jurisdiction, directed to the judge of a court of record in which final judgment has been given, and commanding them, in some cases, themselves to examine the record; in others to send it to another court of appellate jurisdiction, therein named, to be examined in order that some alleged error in the proceeding may be corrected. The object of the writ of error is to review and correct an error of the law committed in the proceedings, which is not amendable, or cured at common law, or by some of the statutes of amendment or jeofail.


What is a Writ of Certiorari?

A petition for writ of Certiorari is a document the losing party files with the Supreme Court asking the Supreme Court to review the decision of a lower court. It includes a list of the parties, a statement of the facts of the case, the legal questions presented for review, and arguments as to why the Court should grant the writ. Certiorari is a Latin word meaning “to be informed of, or to be made certain in regard to”. It is also the name given to certain appellate proceedings for re-examination of actions of a trial court, or inferior appeals court. The writ of Certiorari is a decision by the Supreme Court to hear an appeal from a lower court.


What is an Appeal?

An appeal is a request to a higher (appellate) court for that court to review and change the decision of a lower court. The defendant may challenge the conviction itself or may appeal the trial court’s sentencing decision without actually challenging the underlying conviction.

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