Who can appeal?
In general, every defendant who is found guilty of a crime has certain appeal rights. If the defendant is found guilty by way of a guilty plea in District Court, the defendant can appeal the verdict and sentence to the Circuit Court and have his or her entire case heard again. If a defendant is found guilty by way of a guilty plea in Circuit Court, the defendant only can ask the Court of Special Appeals to review the propriety of the plea colloquy, that is, whether the defendant understood the trial rights that he or she gave up by pleading guilty, whether the defendant understood the crime to which he or she was pleading guilty, and whether the defendant voluntarily entered into the guilty plea. The defendant may also ask the Court of Appeals to review whether the sentence imposed by the trial judge was a legal sentence. The Court of Special Appeals is not required to agree to hear the defendant’s request for an appeal following a guilty plea but instead has discretion to do so.
If a defendant is found guilty in the Circuit Court by way of a judge or jury trial, he or she has an automatic right to appeal the case to the Court of Special Appeals. The defendant may ask the court to review the entire record of the case to determine whether any legal errors occurred, including those made by the trial judge, which likely affected the outcome of the case.