Appeals

Overview

After a trial court hears evidence and enters a judgment, it is sometimes necessary to have a higher court review the judgment of the trial court to determine whether the trial court made an error. Whether you are the person appealing the court’s decision, called the Appellant, or the person who “won” in the lower court, the Appellee, there are important time constraints and deadlines that need to be met timely in order to preserve your rights.

If you don’t, you could forfeit your right to appeal or to submit a legal argument to the reviewing court.  Either way, knowing your options and deadlines will help you make an informed decision.

At our offices, we are knowledgeable and experienced in handling a number of post-trial issues for appeal including Adoption, Appeals, Child in Need of Services, Civil Litigation, Criminal Law, Guardianships, Juvenile Delinquency, Domestic Relations Mediation and Family law including:  Divorce, Paternity, Custody, Child Support, and Visitation.  Contact our offices today if you want to discuss appealing a decision of a lower court in any county in Indiana.

 

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The Appeals process involves giving notice of intent to appeal to all parties and the lower court who issued the decision.  Once a notice of intent to appeal is filed with the reviewing court, the Clerk of the Courts assembles the courts “record” which is then transmitted to the attorney.  Simultaneously, the court reporter also transcribes the record of any court hearings that are requested which may take up to ninety (90) days.  Once the record and transcripts are ready, the appealing party has thirty (30) days to complete the required documents to submit.  This includes writing an appellate “Brief.” A brief is on side’s written account of the facts of the case, legal arguments, and request for relief.  After the appealing party submits their brief to the court, the opposing side gets to have thirty (30) days to file their responsive brief.  The appealing party has the last “bite at the apple” and has an additional fifteen (15) days to file their reply to issues raised by a responsive brief.  In all, an appeal can take nearly six (6) months to fully brief before the Court of Appeals even gets to start reviewing the matter.

Prior to the full briefing being complete either party can request oral arguments in their cases.  Oral arguments are spoken arguments made before an assigned panel of judges.  Each side presents their oral argument to the Court.  Note that a written appeal must be filed in order for oral arguments to be granted. The decision of the reviewing court is based upon both written briefs and oral argument when requested. While oral arguments are relatively rare, they can be extremely effective in many situations.  

In relatively rare situations an Interlocutory appeal is allowed for the court of appeals determination of a particular aspect of a case rather than waiting for full disposition of a case at trial.  In these cases, it is necessary to determine whether the interlocutory appeal permissible under the rules or whether the trial court must grant permission for you to file your appeal immediately.

A number of things can happen after an appeal is concluded.  First, the court of appeals can “affirm” the decision of the lower court.  Second, the case could be reversed with a remand for the case to return to the lower court for further decision making.  Alternatively, in either case, the losing party on appeal may file a number of Motions that could affect the finality of a decision.

Applying to a Higher Court for a Reversal of the Decision of a Lower Court

Judges are human and all humans make mistakes.  The questions for the court of appeals are 1) is there a mistake of law or fact and 2) is the mistake one so grave that it requires a reversal of the decision, what is termed “reversible error.” 

Appeals can be extremely costly and having an experienced attorney review your case and provide an analysis of the issues, the law, and likelihood of success can greatly reduce your costs.

Why Choose Us

 

We provide a written assessment of the issues and applicable law and our opinion as to the potential success of an appeal.  Because we do everything on-line. This enables us to keep our costs low, which is good for you as our lower costs mean lower fees.