After a criminal conviction, you might be wondering where to turn. If you did not get a fair trial or if something else happened that subverted the justice system, there is a possibility that you could find recourse through the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.
Unfortunately, you would not be alone if the court system failed you. There are a variety of mistakes, omissions and even malicious actions that take place regularly and negatively affect the outcome of trials. Appeals are set up precisely for this reason: to have other courts review the decisions and the details of a case.
As explained on the official website, the Tennessee legislature founded the Court of Criminal Appeals in 1967. Since then, it has heard cases about misdemeanors, felonies and post-conviction relief. The court often refers cases, such as those involving capital punishment, to the Tennessee Supreme Court.
The format would be slightly different in this higher court then it was in your criminal trial. Rather than viewing evidence and listening to testimony, the judges read arguments written by attorneys. Attorneys may also present oral arguments in some cases.
Due to the relatively constrained schedule of the appeals court — there are twelve judges that sit on panels of three to hear cases — you would probably want to present a concise, relevant argument explaining why your case needed special attention. This initial step is one of the most important, as it could determine whether your appeal would be heard at all.
Not every conviction goes to appeal, and some cases may have better chances of a higher court overturning the decision than others. Therefore, please do not use this as legal advice. It is only meant as background information.