In general, you have an automatic right to appeal any criminal conviction that you receive from a Louisiana judge or jury. As explained by Columbia University, when you appeal, you ask a higher court, usually the Court of Appeals for the jurisdiction in which you received your conviction, to review your case and revise, change, set aside or reverse your conviction.
If your conviction resulted in the imposition of the death penalty, however, you can appeal directly to the Louisiana Supreme Court.
To begin most appeals processes, you must file a motion for appeal in the court that convicted you within 30 days after it issues its final judgment. At the same time, you must also request that the court reporter or other official prepare a written transcript of those parts of your trial necessary to your appeal.
Your record on appeal includes all the pleadings, evidence, exhibits, orders, judgments and transcripts applicable to the issues you will raise on appeal. Keep in mind that your attorney must raise these issues during your trial so as to preserve them for appeal. In other words, he or she must object to any actions by the court that prejudice you at the time they happen. Examples of such objectionable actions could include the following:
- Failure to grant one or more of your trial motions
- Failure to exclude certain evidence
- Admission of certain other evidence
- Failure to prevent certain witnesses from testifying
Keep in mind that unless the court grants you indigent status, you will need to pay not only your appellate filing fee but also the costs associated with obtaining a transcript of the relevant parts of your trial.