Notice of Appeal- Timeliness

Unless otherwise indicated, all indented material is copied directly from the court’s opinion.

Decisions of the Tennessee Supreme Court

Decisions of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals

State v. Williams, No. W2021-01071-CCA-R3-CD, p. 9 (Tenn. Ct. Crim. App. Dec. 16, 2022). 

A notice of appeal must be “filed with the clerk of the appellate court within 30 days after the date of entry of the judgment appealed from.” Tenn. R. App. P. 4(a). If a timely motion for new trial is filed in the trial court by the defendant, “the time for appeal for all parties shall run from entry of the order denying a new trial[.]” Tenn. R. App. P. 4(c). “A motion for a new trial shall be in writing or, if made orally in open court, be reduced to writing, within [30] days of the date the order of sentence is entered.” Tenn. R. Crim. P. 33(b). For Rule 33 purposes relative to the timely filing of a motion for new trial, “[t]he ‘file-stamp’ date provides evidence of when the order of sentence was entered by the clerk,” and “[t]herefore, the effective date for entry of a judgment or order of sentence is the date of its filing with the court clerk after being signed by the judge.” State v. Stephens, 264 S.W.3d 719, 729 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2007), abrogated on other grounds as stated in State v. Randall T. Beaty, No. M2014-00130-CCA-R3-CD, 2016 WL 3752968, at *20 (Tenn. Crim. App. July 8, 2016).

State v. Bullock, No. E2021-00661-CCA-R3-CD, p. 5 (Tenn. Ct. Crim. App. July 29, 2022). 

Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a) provides that “in all criminal cases the ‘notice of appeal’ document is not jurisdictional and the timely filing of such document may be waived in the interest of justice.” A defendant has “the responsibility to properly perfect his appeal or to demonstrate that the ‘interests of justice’ merit waiver of an untimely filed notice of appeal.” State v. Steven C. James, No. E2021-00559-CCA- R3-CD, 2022 WL 633540, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Mar. 4, 2022), no perm. app. filed (citing State v. Carl T. Jones, No. M2011-00878-CCA-R3-CD, 2011 WL 5573579, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Nov. 15, 2011)). In determining whether waiver of the notice requirement is in the interest of justice, this court will examine the nature of the issues presented for review, the reasons for and the length of the delay in seeking relief, and other relevant factors. State v. Rockwell, 280 S.W.3d 212, 214 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2007). “Waiver is not automatic and should only occur when ‘the interest of justice’ mandates waiver. If this court were to summarily grant a waiver whenever confronted with untimely notices, the thirty-day requirements of Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a) would be rendered a legal fiction.” Id. (citing Michelle Pierre Hill v. State, No. 01C01-9506-CC-00175, 1996 WL 63950, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Feb. 13, 1996)).


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