Have you been involved in a civil or a criminal lawsuit? Are you unhappy with the final decision? If you do not agree with the decision of the jury, you have the right to appeal to the higher court. Every year, there are numerous cases sent for appeals from lower courts to all the thirteen United States Court of Appeals. A handful of these cases have been instrumental in making amends to the existing law. Also, many cases are famous for ending up at a different verdict favoring the defendant. You can say an appeal is a beacon of hope for the wrongfully convicted and the innocent defendants.
The appellant and the appellee
While the party who appeals is called the appellant, the party defending the lower court’s decision is called the appellee. Once the case is sent for review to the higher court, you will need an appeals lawyer or an appeals attorney to defend your case. Similarly, the winning party also will hire an appeals lawyer to represent them in court.
The appellate process
Unlike the scenario in the lower courts, there is no courtroom drama. The appeals court will only review the records and the final statement of the trial, which means, you cannot present new pieces of evidence or facts before the court. Your attorney will go through the transcripts of the hearings of your case, and the documents you have presented to the lower court. After analyzing these, they will make a written brief of the findings and what they could do best to change the verdict in your favor. During the appeal, each side is given fifteen minutes to present their case, which is called an ‘oral argument’. The jurists may ask questions if required. The final decision will be based on the oral argument, explaining which party has won the case and why.
Hiring an experienced appeals lawyer
Whether you’re wrongfully convicted of a crime or you’re involved in a shareholder dispute, it is highly important to hire an experienced appeals attorney to present your appeal. When you’re looking for a dependable appellate law firm, look for their reputation and credentials. Make sure you look for litigators who specially handle appeals, as they will have the necessary skill-sets required for appeals. You should be able to tell them if the trial judge had made mistakes that could be rectified on appeal. There are numerous reliable attorneys who have handled successful appeals. Ask for referrals or browse the web to find reliable law firms. Checking testimonials of prospective attorneys will be a good idea.
Time taken for the appellate process
As an appellant, you need to determine to which court you need to appeal. Your appeal can go through two levels of appellate courts – one of the thirteen appellate courts and the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, the entire process can take months, as the attorneys take a lot of time to research to make the appeal a winning one.