The Appellate Division is responsible for handling all criminal appeals involving felonies decided in the Ashtabula County Courts of Common Pleas. A criminal defendant has 30 days from the date of the trial court’s sentence to appeal the ruling to the 11th District Court of Appeals.
The 11th District Court of Appeals is located in Warren, Ohio. It handles appeals from Ashtabula, Lake, Geauga, Trumbull and Portage Counties.
Once briefs (documents explaining a legal argument) are filed, cases are generally set for oral argument. A panel of three Judges hears argument from each side. The Court can only consider evidence that was presented at the trial Court. No new testimony is given. In the event a case is reversed, it is remanded back to the trial Court for rehearing and/or re-sentencing.
If the defendant’s appeal is not successful, he or she can ask the Ohio Supreme Court to hear the case. The Ohio Supreme Court only hears cases involving substantial constitutional questions, death penalty cases, or those cases involving matters of great public interest.
In most appellate cases, the Ashtabula County Prosecutor’s Office defends the trial court’s decision. On occasion, the Prosecutor appeals rulings by the trial court that are adverse to the position of the State of Ohio.
The Appeals Division also handles appeals involving civil cases and child support enforcement cases, however the majority of cases handled by the division are as a result of criminal cases.