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Court of Appeals Opinions: When Are They Final?

When an order or judgment is taken up on appeal, there are several deadlines to be noted. For example, when the notice of appeal must be filed, when the transcript is due, and when the briefs are due. But what happens after the briefs are done and the Court of Appeals issues its Opinion?

If the Court of Appeals affirms the trial court, this means that the findings being appealed from the trial court are upheld by the Court of Appeals. If the case is reversed, this means that the trial court is essentially overruled by the Court of Appeals. If the case is remanded, the Court of Appeals sends the matter back to the trial court for more or clarified findings. A matter can be affirmed, reversed, or remanded in part, meaning a portion is affirmed, reversed, or remanded.

If the Court of Appeals reverses a decision, when does that go into effect? For example, if relocation with a child is granted under the trial court’s findings and the Court of Appeals determines that this grant of relocation is contrary to law and reversed, what happens next?

The Clerk of the Court of Appeals certifies opinions back to the trial court to make them a part of the trial court’s record and a controlling order. Indiana Rule of Appellate Procedure 65 (E) provides that the Clerk shall certify the Opinion “only after the time for all Petitions for Rehearing, Transfer, or Review has expired, unless all the parties request earlier certification”1.

Therefore, the Appellate process continues until the entire process is completed or the deadline has passed to file. Until this time period to file these petitions has run, the trial court order remains in effect until the Court of Appeals Opinion is certified back to the trial court2. All parties can request that an Opinion be certified earlier if they are in agreement and do so.

Once the time has elapsed for a Petition for Rehearing or Transfer to be filed, the Court of Appeals Clerk will certify the Opinion to the trial court. Once that is done, the Court of Appeals Opinion is a part of the trial court’s record. The findings of the Court of Appeals then control.

Understanding the time frame for Appellate Opinions can help determine a plan for appellate and trial court matters moving forward. We hope that this blog post has been helpful in exploring the effects of a Court of Appeals Opinion. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. practices throughout the state of Indiana. This blog post was written by attorney, Jessica Keyes.

  2. Unless a party seeks a stay of that trial court order and it is granted under Appellate Rule 39, and the prior order of the court remains in place until the Appellate process is completed.

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