Minneapolis Criminal Defense Appeals

The Ohlenberg Law Office has handled numerous appeals to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Basically, a client can appeal from any final judgment of the District Court. However, appeals must be handled
correctly or they will be dismissed on procedural grounds. In order to initiate an appeal, the person must file a Notice of Appeal with the Court of Appeals telling the Court that the person wants to appeal the case. For Felony cases, the Notice of Appeal is due 90 days after the final judgment is issued, and in Misdemeanor cases, the Notice of Appeal must be filed 30 days after the final judgment. That Notice of Appeal document is jurisdictional. In civil cases, the person initiating the appeal has 60 days from the date of the issuance of the judgment in order to initiate an appeal to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. What that means is that if a person misses the deadline to file his Notice of Appeal, then they have lost their right to appeal the case.

Process of Filing an Appeal: A filing fee of $550 is due at the time the appeal is filed which is payable to the Clerk of Courts. There timelines are hard and fast and care needs to be taken to make sure that they are not missed. A brief which is a write up of the Client’s arguments to the Court of Appeals is due at a later date, and then oral argument is scheduled at the Court of Appeals where the lawyer and the opposing lawyer appear and make their arguments in front of a 3 judge panel. It should be noted that there is no NEW testimony allowed in an appeal to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. The three judge panel will look at the record from the lower court and determine if there is reversible error. If they find that there was reversible error, then they may remand the case back to the district court for a new trial and the person has a new chance to win his or her case. However, this is not guaranteed as sometimes the Court of Appeals will agree that there was error, but say that it was not material and therefore was “Harmless Error,” and they will still affirm the lower court’s decision.

Standard of Review: The standard of review is also very important as the standard of review that the Court of Appeals applies is “clearly erroneous” for questions of fact. For legal questions, the Minnesota Court of Appeals will review use a “de novo” standard which means that they will basically give a fresh look without any presumption that the lower court got it right when they review the case. In about 15-18 percent of the cases, the Court of Appeals will overturn the lower court’s decision and remand for a new trial. An appeal is a fairly long process, but it can be very worthwhile in some circumstances.

If you have an issue that you think needs to be appeal, please contact Richard Ohlenberg today to discuss your case at 952-525-2242.