An appeal is a legal proceeding that happens after a final judgment is
made in the District Court. It is available to either party
- the losing party may appeal in an attempt to overturn the trial
court's decision and the prevailing party may appeal in an attempt to
gain more relief than the court awarded. Appellate practice is
notably different than trial practice. In many instances, it is a
good idea to retain new counsel to handle the appeal, as the first step
of an appeal is a critical review of the existing record.
Appeals are limited to the record as it exists. Generally,
speaking, neither party is permitted to introduce new evidence into the
record that was not considered during the trial. The reason for
this rule flows directly from the dual role of the trial court - to
determine the facts by evaluating the credibility of the evidence and
apply those facts to the law. The appellate court gives deference
to the trial court as far as factual issues are concerned, but reserves
the application of law to itself.
Therefore, representation in this area begins with the timely filing of
a filing of a petition in error. The appellate attorney then
conducts a thorough review of the record - which requires the review of
all transcripts, depositions and all evidence that have been introduced
at the trial court. A brief is prepared and submitted to the
appellate court. All issues to be considered must be raised in
this brief or they are waived. The appellate court then considers
the briefs of all parties and determines if oral argument is required.
If so, oral argument is scheduled before the appellate court. The
appellate court then enters its decision.
Before hiring an attorney, it is important to know if the attorney has
had any success in the area. A quick search of
OSCN reveals Mr. Dunn's experience with the appellate courts.
Mr. Dunn has been to the appellate courts on numerous occasions, winning
seven cases outright and having four published opinions, resulting in a
pronouncement of law that can be used iby other attorneys in other
cases. In fact, other attorneys seek out Mr. Dunn to assist them with their
cases on appeal. As a result of this record, John Dunn was awarded the 2013 OCDLA Thurgood Marshall Award for his outstanding
When a client was arrested for Actual Physical Control while sitting in
the passenger seat of a running motor vehicle. The law at the time
permitted the revocation of the client's driver's license. While
the criminal charge was dismissed, the Department of public Safety
continued to pursue the client's driver's license. The Department
was successful at both the administrative court and the district court
John Dunn's firm successfully appealed a District Court's decision to
take away his client's driver's license.
John Dunn and associate Stephanie Bush successfully convinced the Court
of Civil Appeals that the crime of "Actual Physical Control" requires
some intent to drive.
In Tulsa County, the district court dismissed a case before District
Court Arraignment, finding that the witness that provided the evidence
necessary for the examining magistrate was not credible. The State
appealed, arguing that credibility is an issue for the jury. The
attorney for the defendant asked for help.
John Dunn and MJ Denman successfully convinced the Oklahoma Court of
Criminal Appeals that the State is required to establish the reliability
of the evidence it offers at preliminary hearing in order to bind the
Defendant over to district court.
John Dunn made law by successfully arguing that the Oklahoma Sex
Offender Registration was so punitive that it could not be applied
retroactively without violating the ex post facto clause of the
Oklahoma constitution. This opinion makes Oklahoma one of the
few states that has found their law to be punitive. Since this
opinion was released, it has been cited by other courts of the United
States as a basis for limiting the unconstitutional application of these
kinds of punitive statutes nationwide.
Mr. Dunn has additionally prepared a
"question and answer" page about this opinion and some
subsequent decisions expanding on the Supreme Court's decision.
John Dunn successfully represented a client that had been defaulted by
the District Court for failure to timely answer a Petition.
John Dunn successfully argued that his client had not received the
notice required by law and that as a result, they were entitled to be
heard. Mr. Dunn will now get the opportunity to represent his
client in litigation that they were previously denied.
John Dunn championed the cause of a single mother who had changed her
mind about giving her child up for adoption. The prospective
adoptive parents pursued a guardianship in an effort to keep custody of
the child - despite the fact that they were not qualified to be
guardians under Oklahoma Law. John Dunn and his associate Brian
Melton rode to the rescue and took the matter to the Oklahoma Supreme
The Court ordered that the out of state guardians be removed and awarded
Natural mother her attorney fees.
Contact John Dunn to discuss your appellate case