Starting an Appeal: After a Plea
The superior court must receive the notice of appeal within 60 days after sentencing. The superior court is the same court where the defendant is sentenced. If you direct the defendant’s attorney to file a notice of appeal, he or she normally does so. To attack the plea, you need to make a request for a certificate of probable cause on the back of the form.
If you wish to file a notice of appeal, use this form.
The defendant’s (or if the notice is prepared by the attorney, the attorney’s) name and address belong in the top left hand corner.
Below the top box, put the defendant’s name where it says “DEFENDANT:” and then put in the defendant’s date of birth.
Write the case number in the box for CASE NUMBER(S).
In item 1, write the defendant’s name and the date of the sentencing hearing.
In item 2, If the defendant pled guilty or no contest, or admitted a violation of probation, then fill in the boxes under heading a. Always mark the box that the appeal is based on the sentence or other matters occurring after the plea (or admission) which do not affect the validity of the plea (or admission) (box (1)). If you do not mark this box and the judge never grants a certificate of probable cause, there will be no appeal. If the defendant wishes to also challenge the denial of a suppression motion, mark box (2). If the defendant wishes to also challenge the validity of the plea, mark box (3) and complete the request for a certificate of probable cause on page two (see below).
On the other hand, if the appeal is from a jury trial or court trial or from a contested violation of probation hearing, go to item 2b. Mark box (1) if there was a trial. Mark box (2) if there were a contested violation of probation hearing.
In item 3, request appointed counsel on appeal. Indicate whether the defendant hired an attorney in the trial court.
In Item 4, indicate the address where the defendant can be reached.
Print the date and your name and sign your name at the arrow (▶).
On page two is the request for a certificate of probable cause. In the boxes on the top, write the defendant’s name and the case number. In the lined portion of the form, the defendant or trial counsel must state why it is believed the plea was illegal. The argument will be the same as that in the motion to withdraw the plea or in other relevant motions that were made in the superior court. Print the date and the your name and sign at the arrow (▶). This is a statement under penalty of perjury, so you must be truthful.
The defendant cannot contest the denial of the motion to withdraw the plea without the superior court issuing a certificate of probable cause. Without a certificate of probable cause, many aspects of the sentence cannot be challenged that were part of the plea bargain or when there is a waiver of appelate rights. The judge must grant the certificate of probable cause within 20 days after the notice of appeal is filed. (California Rules of Court, Rule 8.304(b)(2).) It is a good idea to have someone call the superior court after the notice of appeal was filed to make sure that the application has been forwarded to the judge.