Decisions made by trial court judges – or juries – are not the final determination of any criminal conviction. Every criminal defendant that faces a guilty verdict has the right to appeal that decision to a reviewing court. Here in Texas, there are two levels of appellate courts: the Courts of Appeal, which are the regional reviewing courts, and the Court of Criminal Appeals, which is the highest state appellate court for criminal matters (the Texas Supreme Court hears only civil cases). Criminal appeals can be taken to the federal courts, as well.

Federal civil rights violations, as well as other federal law infringements, can be reviewed by federal appellate courts, making their way through the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (which covers all of Texas, as well as Louisiana and Mississippi) to the United States Supreme Court.



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