Dismissal of Criminal Appeals

by Rick Wetzel on December 17, 2010

I frequently hear from prospective clients telling me they were improperly denied an appeal from their criminal conviction.  Many complain that although they were told by their trial lawyer or the judge that they could appeal, their appeal was never considered because it was dismissed by the appellate court.  

30% Dismissal Rate 

Over 11,000 new appeals were filed in Texas appellate courts in 2010.  More than half of those were appeals from criminal law matters.  The latest report from the Office of Court Administration indicates that almost 30% of all appeals were dismissed.  This means the litigants never had their claims considered and the appeals were rejected for procedural reasons.  

Most Common Reasons 

A variety of events can lead to a dismissal of a criminal appeal.  The most common are the notice of appeal was not timely filed or the trial judge has not certified the defendant has the right to appeal.  In plea bargain cases, a criminal appeal can be taken from any written motion filed and denied before the plea of guilty.  


Remedies are available for those who have been wrongfully denied a criminal appeal.  The most common remedy is a state writ of habeas corpus seeking an out of time criminal appeal.  If successful, those remedies can get the appellate process back on track and in some cases restart other important deadlines for seeking relief in federal court. 

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