An Appeals Process

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Appeals Process
August 23, 2012

An appeal is the process in which a appellant is looking for a review and possibly a reversal of a lower court’s decision. An appeal can be filed by either side of the case and if granted, the appellate court is the next step. There are some cases that automatically get an appeal. Those cases would be a death penalty case or life in prison. There are three types of appeals. The direct appeal, also known as an appeal of right, happens when the penalty for the errors made at trial were so big that the appellate court is mandated to review the case. The discretionary appeal is filed when there is a legal ground to show that specific errors were made in a case where the laws were not applied to the case properly. Interlocutory appeals are filed when a judge’s decision hinders the progress of a case being tried and to wait until the end of the trial would hurt the case if allowed to go until the end. The appeals timeline is very important. If an appeal is not filed in a timely manner, the courts may deny the appeal altogether. There are several steps to the appeals process. The first step in an appeal is to file a formal notice of appeal with the court. At this point, the appellant is able to request the trial transcripts. Attorneys from both sides file a brief which outlines the facts, arguments, and case law that relate to the mistakes made in the first trial. A panel of three judges, sometimes more, will review the briefs. At this stage, there are no witnesses and only the attorneys speak with the judges and answer any questions they may have while reviewing the briefs. The panel of judges then issues a written decision along with the reasons for their decision. Legal uniformity is kept when the Appellate court supports the lower court’s decision, however when certain errors occur, further action may become necessary. Harmless errors have no impact on the case but reversible errors call for new legal...
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