Many times within a sentencing, an offender is given a certain time to file an appeal within. If they don’t appeal a verdict or decision within 30-days for example, they must wait until the ‘next go-around’ so to speak. Many times a certain amount of time must be served before an appeal can be filed. This can be easily demonstrated in the process an inmate within a prison files an appeal. If he or she serves four-years of a 15-year sentence and files an appeal and follows the appropriate steps to do so, they can still experience the misfortune of having their appeal turned down.
If that happens, they are often made to wait another year before they can file another appeal. The decisions from these appeals can be returned fairly quickly or they can take anywhere from a day or two, to a week or more. In the case of a parole board hearing an inmate’s appeal, they often render a decision the same day and within an hour or two from the end of the hearing at the longest.
To relate a story, a very close friend of ours is serving time in a correctional facility in the state of Colorado, a sentence and a decision put him there that I firmly disbelieve.
He has served six-years of a ten-year sentence and went before the parole board last November. His original sentence is Sexual Misconduct with a Minor. Again, this is a charge that I firmly disbelieve in relation to this specific person, but nonetheless he is serving it. His parole got denied and he filed an appeal, due to the fact that accusations were made regarding his conduct before arrest that weren’t related in the least bit to his original charge. An appeal was filed to contest the parole board’s decision and the accusations made by malicious involvement from former family members.
The appeal was shot down and he was told to continue on with his sentence and he would be eligible for parole again in November of 2013. We pray that this one goes better! Appeals can be lengthy and can be costly, but they serve a purpose. It should not be an easy process that these offenders go through in order to be let out. The best and most effective way for improvements to be made in the appeals process is to vary the cost of such procedures. If an offender is Page: 3 esirous to file an appeal, the cost of said appeal should vary depending on the severity of the crime committed. If it was a first-time offense and a non-violent offense that put the offender behind bars, the cost of their appeal should not match that of an appeal from someone who was convicted of a brutal, violent and bloody murder of multiple victims where no remorse was shown at all. Offenders don’t pay these costs themselves, but rather the money to pay for such filings is shelled out by their families.
In many cases, these families are suffering enough by having their loved one behind bars in the first place. The family shouldn’t have to suffer a financial drain as well as an emotional drain just because their relative decided to go hog-wild with a machete or some other equally violent crime. When an appeal is filed appropriately, it can also make the process much easier. Another often forgotten fact is that if an appeal is not filed appropriately and proper steps followed, it can often be turned down before it even gets seen by the right people.
I feel that part of the process that shows an offender is serious about their appeal, should be to follow every step and every measure laid out before them. If the paperwork telling them how to file instructs them to quack like a duck while wearing yellow and pink polka dotted pants at a Dixie Chicks concert, all while wearing a sign that says ‘I love purple unicorns’ then they should follow that exact process. If they leave out a step, they were not serious enough and need to go back to the drawing board!