Have you had an experience in court that left you feeling like the judge simply didn’t hear your side of things?
If so, then you know how frustrating it can be to lose even when you feel like you did everything right.
It doesn’t help that many people don’t know what their options are or how to approach the appeals process.
This article will show you step-by-step how to file an appeal in court and give your case the best possible chance of success.
It’s not always easy to predict what a judge is going to decide when it comes down to whether or not they will grant your case.
Even if you have a clear conscience, there’s no guarantee that the law will see it that way. So, what do you do when you’re denied justice? Well, you can file an appeal in court and get the outcome that you desire.
First, find out where your last trial took place so that you know which circuit court of appeals to go to for filing paperwork for your next hearing.
The courts are set up by geographical location rather than alphabetically or by state because this allows for fewer cases being assigned to any single judge during their tenure on the bench.
Step 1 – Determine if You Have a Basis for Appeal
Determining if your case has a basis for an appeal is as simple as understanding your legal rights.
An experienced attorney will be able to help guide you through this process, but for those who want a general idea of what it entails, here are some things to consider:
-Did the original decision violate any laws? -Was there inadequate evidence?
-Was there bias or corrupt practice on behalf of the judge?
Step 2 – Understand the Appellate Process
The appellate process is a 2-step process. The first step is called the briefing process.
This stage allows both parties (the appellant and respondent) to submit briefs, which are legal arguments based on evidence, for consideration by the appellate judges.
Briefs provide background information about how the lower court made its decision as well as how it should be overruled or affirmed.
The second stage of this process is oral argument where attorneys for each side make their case before a panel of 3 appellate judges.
Step 3 – Perfect Your Record on Appeal
If you have a legal issue that has been decided on by a judge or jury, but your decision does not seem fair, there is a way for you to have your case looked at again.
In order for this process to work well for you, it will be important for you to make sure your record on appeal is perfect. You can do this by taking care of any issues before you go back to the appeals court.
For example, if someone was present with you during the trial who did not have authorization to act as your lawyer and gave advice about how to answer questions, then those answers should be stricken from the trial transcript because they are irrelevant when considering whether or not your record on appeal should be reopened.
Step 4 – File Your Notice of Appeal
Within 30 days of receiving notice of the decision, a party may file a Notice of Appeal.
This is done by completing a Notice of Appeal form that is available on your county courthouse website or from your Clerk’s office.
The Notice of Appeal form must be filed with the Clerk’s office where it was filed previously, with copies provided to all parties.
If a filing fee is required, this should also be submitted at this time.
A Request for Transcript can also be completed at this time if necessary. Once complete, mail the completed Notice of Appeal and any related fees to:
Step 5 – Brief the Court
Appellate courts are typically courts of review, meaning they only hear cases that have been appealed from lower courts.
The appellate court reviews the evidence, applies a higher standard of review than the lower court, and decides if there is enough justification to overturn a lower court decision.
If so, it will affirm (uphold) or reverse (overturn) the lower court decision. Once you’ve filed your brief with the Court of Appeals, wait for their response.
Once the Court of Appeals has made its decision on your case, it will issue an opinion either affirming or reversing the lower court’s decision.
It’s important that when writing your brief for consideration by a Court of Appeals judge, use clear language that provides a cogent argument as to why erred
Step 6 – Prepare for and Attend Oral Argument
The oral argument is the final stage in a case before it is decided. The person who lost (the appellant) will go first, followed by the person who won (the appellee).
The judge will let each party speak for about five minutes, with each side given a total of 15 minutes.
After both sides have had their say, the judge will make a decision.
It may take weeks or months for that decision to come out.
Step 7 – Wait for a Decision
If your trial is before a jury, the jury will deliberate. If it is before a judge, then the judge will decide on your sentence or punishment.
In either case, if there is no unanimous decision, then it goes back for a re-trial.
You can also appeal if you believe that their was misconduct on behalf of one of the sides or that one of the parties was not given enough time to present their side.
Step 8 – Implement the Court’s Decision
Once a decision has been reached, there are two options: accept it or appeal it.
Accepting a decision means that you agree with it and will abide by what the judge has ruled.
Filing an appeal means that you disagree with the ruling and want to take it up through another round of appeals until the Supreme Court makes a final decision.
If your appeals are denied, then, unfortunately, you have no other choice but to accept their ruling.
Appeals are a way to challenge a decision made by a lower court, which can overturn or change the original ruling.
Filing an appeal is not always necessary if the ruling does not have significant impact on your case.
If this is not the case, it is important to understand how appeals work, as well as what could happen if you do decide to file one.
An appellate court will hear your case again from scratch, with all of the evidence and testimony that was presented at trial.