ALC is a Coeur d'Alene Based Law Firm, Handling Probate, Family Law, Bankruptcy, Personal Injury and Civil Litigation Matters


Family Law Attorney in Coeur d’Alene Specializing In Appeals

The decisions of most federal or state courts or agencies are available for review by appeals courts. These include almost all kinds of civil cases. In an appeal, the procedures of the court are reviewed for errors of law. The appeals court can only reverse a decision if the appeals court finds an error of law that contributed to the court’s original decision.

The appeals court has a few parallels with trial courts, but it is also different in many ways. While cases (evidence, testimony, documents, arguments, et cetera) are presented at trial, in appeals, the application of the law is what is reviewed. There is no jury in an appeal. No witnesses are presented, and, in most cases, no new evidence is introduced. Appeals courts generally accept the facts as they were presented at trial unless the evidence points to another conclusion of fact than what the trial court found.

Appeals are heard by a number of judges at the same time. The exact number of judges depends on the jurisdiction, but it can be from three judges to dozens. In most cases, the appeal is heard by a panel of three judges.

The argument in appeals court is made by the losing party, and is that the judge in the original trial incorrectly applied the law to the case. To this end, the attorneys for both parties file what is known as an “appellate brief,” with each side stating its position within the laws and statutes of the state. The appeals court is mostly concerned with the record of the occurrences in the trial court. The record will contain everything as it pertained to the trial, including the original pleadings (the original complaint and answer), any motions prior to the trial, the trial’s transcript, any exhibits, motions after the trial, and any other recorded information.

If you lose your appeal, you do have the option of taking the case for further appeal to the state’s supreme court or to the U.S. Supreme Court. However, it should be noted that, because these courts are often deluged with requests for reviews, the decision to review them is discretionary to the court in question. Because of that, very few cases go to the state supreme courts, and even fewer go to the U.S. Supreme Court. Furthermore, state supreme courts generally only concern themselves with questions of law that are not yet settled, and the U.S. Supreme Court is only allowed to review cases that pertain to federal law or to the U.S. constitution, and cases that question state law are out of the U.S. Supreme Court’s jurisdiction. Finally, since a case has already lost an appeal and been reviewed, it is less likely that a higher court will hear the case again. If you need any additional information on appeals, contact our office in Kootenai county and speak to our family law attorney.

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