In American law, the beauty of its legal system is the appeals process. This is where a party unhappy with a particular decision whether after trial or a ruling on a motion in state or federal court can petition that decision to be reviewed by a higher court.
This offer of a neutral procedure for alleged judicial error correction as well as clarifying and interpreting law that might otherwise be deemed vague or capricious is uniquely special. It is all part of giving a litigant due process and a fair trial which are the fundamental components of what is called justice.
What is the Appeal Process in the United States?
The appellate process can be both a simple yet, extremely complex process for both civil and criminal law. It also varies by state and district jurisdictions. This is why you need trusted and experienced lawyers to handle all your appellate needs to earn you the best possible outcome.
Despite the fact most courts permit appeals at initial stages of litigation, most appeals come from final orders and judgments from lower courts and usually by the losing party. Jurisprudence mandates that appellate courts review questions of law de novo. This means as if looking at the case brand new.
The process of appealing starts when a disgruntled party files a petition for review or petition for certiorari depending on the court they want to hear their case. Appeals are offered to a judge, or a panel of judges to hear. Before making any formal oral argument, parties will submit written legal briefs in which the parties present their legal arguments on why the lower decision is incorrect as a matter of law.
Then the opposing side will file their own response briefs. These briefs require expert research and legal analysis which is why it is vital you hire qualified attorneys with years of experience researching and writing effective briefs so you win your appeal.
After submitting all the briefs, exhibits and full record, the parties should be given the chance to present an oral argument to a judge or panel of judges. It is during oral arguments, that judges will ask specific and challenging questions to the attorneys testing their arguments and legal theories.
The judge or judges will then deliberate for days or months before posting their decision. If the ruling is not favorable, that decision can be appealed to the higher court which is most likely the Supreme Court of each state or the United States.
Do Appellate Courts Conduct a New Trial?
Appellate courts do not conduct a new trial with new evidence. Rather, appellate courts will use the record entered into by the trial court that the bench or the jury used to convict or acquit or to award or not award damages, etc. That is, unless a clear error of law or procedure occurred during the course of the fact-finding process.
As you can see, the appeals process is a wonderful chance at a second life for your case. This is why you must call us today if you are planning on appealing an adverse ruling.