The Appellate Division of the Dallas County Criminal District Attorney’s Office represents the State of Texas in all appeals from misdemeanor and felony convictions in Dallas County. The Appellate Division also handles appeals by the State in situations where the trial court has quashed at least a portion of a charging instrument or has decided at a pretrial hearing to suppress certain portions of the State’s evidence.
Additionally, the Appellate Division is responsible for handling the appeals of cases in which the State has successfully petitioned a trial court to terminate the rights of a parent or parents to their child or children based on abuse of the child or children. Finally, members of the Appellate Division also respond to requests for information under public records law, requests for post-conviction DNA testing, applications for writs of habeas corpus, requests for expunctions of criminal records, and questions from attorneys in the Trial Division regarding substantive and procedural law.
The appeals of criminal cases and of termination cases are heard by the fourteen lower courts of appeals, one of which is located in Dallas County. While further appeals of criminal cases are heard by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, further appeals of termination cases are heard by the Texas Supreme Court.
After an appellant files an appellate brief asserting that error occurred in the trial, the case is assigned to one of the Appellate Division’s attorneys. The attorney in question reviews the appellant’s brief and the record from the trial before writing and filing a brief that responds to the arguments made by the appellant.
The Appellate Division attorney frequently appears before the appellate court to present oral argument in response to the oral arguments of the appellant.
After the appellate court issues a written opinion deciding the case, either party may seek further review. When the appellant seeks further review in either the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals or the Texas Supreme Court, the attorney from the Appellate Division frequently files a written argument in response to that filed by the appellant. In certain limited circumstances, an attorney from the Appellate Division may even file a written argument with the Supreme Court of the United States.