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Appeals Division

The Appeals Division is responsible for litigation in state courts involving both appeals and post-conviction matters. The core function of the Division is responding to appeals by convicted defendants. The Division also prosecutes appeals on behalf of the Office from adverse rulings of the Court of Appeals and the circuit and district courts.

The Appeals Division supports other divisions of the Office by answering novel and complex legal questions and advising assistant prosecutors regarding how the law affects their cases. Further, the Division provides continuing legal educational opportunities for the staff.
Frequently Asked Questions
When will I know if a defendant's conviction has been upheld by the appellate courts?
There is no set time for the appellate process to run its course. Generally, it takes between one and two years for the Court of Appeals to rule on an appeal. If a defendant loses in the Court of Appeals and appeals his conviction to the Supreme Court, it usually takes between six months and one year for the Court to decide the appeal. Only a small percentage of convictions upheld by the Court of Appeals are overturned by the Supreme Court.

How do victims learn if a defendant is being released from prison or has violated probation?

Register as a victim with the Michigan Department of Corrections by calling the Department of Corrections at 1-877-866-5401 or by visiting its website. http://www.michigan.gov/corrections/0,4551,7-119-1384---,00.html

May a defendant continue to challenge his conviction after it is affirmed by the Court of Appeals?

Yes, a defendant may appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court. Once those appeals are concluded, he may challenge his conviction in the federal district court. He may also file a motion in the trial court raising issues not raised in his original appeal. This motion is called a motion for relief from judgment.

Do prosecutors answer motions for relief from judgment?

Only when directed to by the trial judge. By court rule, a judge must review the motion and decide whether a response is needed. If the judge desires a response, she directs the prosecutor to file an answer to the motion. The judge must give the prosecutor at least 56 days in which to file the answer.

In what courts do Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office appellate prosecutors handle cases?

District courts located in Wayne County, the Wayne County Circuit Court, the Michigan Court of Appeals, the Michigan Supreme Court, and the United States Supreme Court. The Michigan Attorney General’s Office handles federal court cases filed by Wayne County defendants challenging their state-court convictions.

May the prosecutor appeal a judge’s ruling?

Generally, yes. One exception is when a defendant’s constitutional right not to be placed in jeopardy twice would bar additional proceedings in the trial court.

What types of rulings do prosecutors appeal?

Trial judges’ rulings dismissing cases before trial, admitting or excluding evidence, and granting new trials, and trial judges’ sentencing decisions. Prosecutors also appeal appellate court decisions reversing convictions.