The first step in the appeal process is filing the motion to modify bail at the trial level; without such a motion, there will be no oral argument, no decision, and therefore nothing to appeal. You will want to consult section 38 of the Connecticut Practice Book and make arguments based upon the enumerated factors which judges are supposed to consider when determining bail. Make sure that you serve all required parties with your motion, including the Bail Commissioner, within the timeframe required by the Practice Book; filing the motion without enough notice, or not on all the required parties, will likely result in having your argument postponed.
Arguing The Motion To Modify Bail: Preserving The Record In Order To Appeal The Denial
Keep in mind that, given the wide discretion vested in trial judges to determine bail, the motion to modify bail can often feel like a Sisyphean task. Most judges will simply give your arguments lip service; hence, it is crucial to craft particularized arguments that focus upon the enumerated factors the judges are supposed to consider. Moreover, when making your arguments it is imperative that you get the judge to specify his or her reasons for denying the motion, so that a clear record is made for appellate purposes.
When the argument is finished, and the judge has (in all likelihood) denied your requested relief, order the transcripts of the oral arguments.
Drafting and Filing The "Appeal"
Consult your Rules of Appellate Procedure and you will see that your appeal, pursuant to section 66-6, is actually a Motion for Review filed with the Appellate Court, and it should be filed within ten days of the date your motion was denied. Thankfully, your motion for review will generally piggyback on your motion to modify, adding in more thorough caselaw analysis and citing to the transcripts of the oral arguments.
Ordering The Transcripts
Again, order the transcripts immediately following the oral arguments. Your motion for review will be due to the Appellate Court within ten days, so it is unlikely that you will actually have the transcripts when you are drafting the motion for review. However, the sooner you order them, the sooner you should have them. Once you do get them, you will need to send a copy to the Appellate Court.
Waiting For A Decision
Unfortunately, you will not get a chance to argue your motion for review before the Appellate Court. Instead, you will simply have to wait for a written decision to be sent to you.
So, Why Would You Do This?
If judges have such wide discretion, you only have ten days to file, and you won't even get to argue it to the Appellate Court, why would you do this in the first place? In many cases, you won't, because it would simply be frivolous if the bail set by the judge is, under the circumstances of your case, arguably reasonable. If, for instance, your client has a history of failures to appear and he or she is charged with a serious, violent crime, and he or she has few ties to the community making him or her a flight risk, then almost no amount of bail would be considered excessive and an appeal would have little or no chance of success.
However, in cases where a judge has denied bail altogether, or where the bail set is so outrageously high in light of the case and your client that it seems to defy any logic, an appeal is not only viable, it is advisable. For one thing, the amount of work is considerably less than that required by a regular appeal. Moreover, your client just might win
Additional resources provided by the author
The Connecticut Practice Book and Judicial Libraries website are essential resources.