When mistakes are made at the trial court level, sometimes this can lead to an improper verdict or decision. Fortunately, our judicial system provides individuals with the opportunity to appeal certain rulings or decisions believed to be wrongly decided. But what happens if the appeals court gets it wrong? Can an appellate court’s decision be appealed? In this blog, we look at when an individual can appeal an appellate court’s decision, as well as some general considerations to keep in mind about the appellate process.
As you may know, the Indiana judicial system is split into two primary levels: the trial courts and appellate courts. The appellate courts consist of the Court of Appeals of Indiana and the Indiana Supreme Court. And as is the case in most states, the Indiana Supreme Court is the highest judicial authority in the state of Indiana. When an individual begins the appeal process, an individual is appealing an order or ruling made by a trial court judge. As a general rule, an individual who is appealing a trial court ruling or order, will first go to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals will then decide your case. If the Court of Appeals rules against you, you have an option to seek what is known as transfer to the Indiana Supreme Court.
Unlike an appeal to the Court of Appeals, the general rule is that an individual is not entitled to have their case heard by the Indiana Supreme Court. Instead, in the vast majority of cases, the Supreme Court has the discretion to decide whether they will hear your case. To expand, the Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure provide that the “Supreme Court shall have discretionary jurisdiction over cases in which it grants Transfer under Rule 56 or 57 or Review under Rule 63.”1 If your matter is one in which the Supreme Court’s review is discretionary (which is the vast majority), you must convince the Court to accept transfer of your case. This is done through what is known as a Petition to Transfer. In deciding whether to accept a case for transfer, the Supreme Court has set out specific grounds that it considers when making a decision. Some such grounds for transfer include: conflict in the Court of Appeals; undecided questions of law; and significant departure from law or practice. Thus, if your case is one that would fall under the discretionary review, you may want to consider seeking transfer if you believe you have appropriate grounds for same.
It is important to note that the above information is general in nature, and know that there are exceptions to almost every rule. Appeals are complex matters, often times turning on the specific facts of each case. This area of practice is extremely technical, and obtaining skilled counsel is often key to navigating the complex waters of appeals. This blog post was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who handle all types of appeals, be it civil or criminal, throughout Indiana. This blog is intended for general educational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice or a solicitation for services. It is an advertisement.