Criminal Procedures


What is an appellate brief?

If the defendant appeals his or her sentence, he is called the appellant (the person who appeals). The government then becomes the appellee (the person defending the original conviction or sentence). The defendant-appellant must file a brief that explains why the lower court erred during the trial process. The government-appellee will then file a brief that rebuts the defendant’s arguments and defends the rulings of the trial court.

Note that the word “brief” in this context is a misnomer, as briefs are often many pages long. Appellate courts have strict rules on the content of briefs, which is why many trial attorneys refer appeals to appellate lawyers—those lawyers who have special expertise in the appellate process.

A convicted person can appeal the decision made in his or her case if the appelant feels adequate representation was not provided, or that the court made some sort of error (iStock).

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