For many of those convicted of criminal charges in Jacksonville, their convictions do not signal the end of their legal proceedings. Rather, they simply represent a small step in what can be a much larger process. Many may view appeals cases to simply be a way for offenders to abuse loopholes in the legal system, and thus a waste of resources. However, in cases were a defendant has not had his or her rights respected (or has been wrongfully convicted), the appeals process offers relief from such injustices.
To begin the pursuit of seeking such relief, one must file a petition with the court that he or she believes should have jurisdiction of his or her case. According to the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure, such a petition must contain the following elements:
- The reason for invoking the jurisdiction of that particular court
- The nature of relief being sought
- The facts supporting one's claim for relief
- An argument in support of the petition complete with appropriate citations of authority supporting it
If the court believes that the petition does establish a preliminary basis for relief, it may direct any respondents to the petition to reply (within a certain time frame) as to why it should not be granted in this case.
How is one to know which courts may have jurisdictions over his or her case? The official site for Florida Court Clerks and Comptrollers shows that local circuit courts have jurisdiction over misdemeanors and traffic infractions, while district courts of appeals handle juvenile and felony cases. An appeal of a death penalty case must be heard by the state's Supreme Court.