Court of Criminal Appeals

About the Court 

After a trial court has decided a criminal case, the State or the defendant may appeal to a higher court.

The appeals of all cases in which the death penalty has been assessed come directly to the Court of Criminal Appeals from the trial courts. The appeals of all other criminal cases go to one of the fourteen Courts of Appeals in Texas, and their decisions may be reviewed by the Court of Criminal Appeals.

See About Texas Courts for more information about the Texas Judiciary, which includes the Courts of Appeals and other parts of Texas' judicial system. There you will also find links to a pamphlet on the Texas Judicial System, in multiple formats.

In the 2016 fiscal year, the Court of Criminal Appeals received 4 appeals in death-penalty cases. The Courts of Appeals received 4,454 appeals in other criminal cases, and in 1325 of those appeals the Court of Criminal Appeals was asked to grant further review. The Court granted review in 96 of them. After deciding each appeal, the Court delivers a written opinion that explains the reason for its decision.

The Court also has sole authority to grant the writ of habeas corpus to a person who has been convicted of a felony (which is a crime that is punishable by death or by imprisonment in the Department of Criminal Justice). In the 2016 fiscal year, the Court received 4,632 habeas-corpus petitions and 30 death penalty habeas-corpus petitions..

The Court of Criminal Appeals typically disposes of more matters each year than any other appellate court in the country.