Iowa Appellate Lawyers: How to Appeal Your Iowa Conviction


Criminal appeals can be complicated business. Choosing a lawyer with appellate experience is important. An appeal is not a retrial. There are no hearings, no juries and no new evidence. An appeal is merely an opportunity for a higher court to correct any legal errors which may have occurred in the trial court. Iowa has two courts of appeals:

The Iowa Court of Appeals is an intermediate appellate court. This means every decision of the Iowa Court of Appeals is reviewable by the Iowa Supreme Court.


All appeals originate in the Iowa Supreme Court. To appeal an Iowa conviction you must file a notice of appeal with the Iowa Supreme Court no more than 30 days after sentencing. After this notice is filed, a certificate, stating among other things the issues presented for appeal, must be filed. The Iowa Supreme Court then sets a briefing schedule. The party appealing submits the first appellate brief. Then, the non-appealing party files their brief. Finally, the appealing party may file a rebuttal brief. Appellate briefs are subject to strict formatting, length and content requirements. The briefs are based on the “record” (transcripts and evidence from the trial court) and any caselaw or other authorities cited in support of a party’s argument.


Appellate work is totally different from trial work. It requires a keen knowledge of existing caselaw and an ability to discern error from nothing but paper transcripts. It is tedious and time consuming. Appeals are often a client’s last line of defense so a good appellate lawyer is seriously important. At Stowers & Sarcone, PLC we pride ourselves on performing  high quality appellate work. We often achieve successful appellate outcomes, though each case is unique and results are not guaranteed. You can view summaries of some of our most successful appeals here.  You can also watch video of Nick and Dean at the Iowa Supreme Court by clicking on our names in this sentence.

If you or a loved one need an appellate lawyer call Stowers & Sarcone, PLC now! 515.224.7446.

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