One question we often receive from clients and prospective clients is “how many cases are overturned on appeal?” Unfortunately, the answer to that question depends on the type of case you are appealing. Indiana provides parties involved in legal disputes, whether it be criminal or civil in nature, with the opportunity to appeal the outcome of the case, albeit, with some exceptions. While the right to appeal is a cherished tradition, it can also cause headaches due to the extremely technical nature of the appellate process. This can leave many with a multitude of questions and concerns, which is normal, but some of those concerns may be able to be relieved by having a better understanding of the appellate process. In this blog, we look at how many cases are overturned on appeal and the benefits you may receive from hiring an appellate lawyer.
In 2020, the Indiana Court of Appeals heard a total of 916 criminal appeals.1 Of these 916 criminal appeals, approximately 831 were “affirmed” on appeal and approximately 85 were “reversed” on appeal.2 In other words, of the 916 criminal appeals submitted to the Indiana Court of Appeals in 2020, approximately nine percent (9%) were overturned on appeal. On the other hand, in 2020, civil appeals had a much higher rate of being overturned on appeal compared to criminal appeals. Specifically, in 2020, the Court of Appeals heard a total of 522 civil appeals.3 of these 522 civil appeals, approximately 361 were “affirmed” on appeal and approximately 161 were “reversed” on appeal.4 Thus, of the 522 civil appeals submitted to the Indiana Court of Appeals in 2020, approximately thirty-one perfect (31%) were overturned on appeal.
One of the benefits to hiring appellate counsel is that appellate attorneys understand what appellate judges care about and how to best emphasize the record on appeal, thereby increasing your chances of successfully overturning a decision on appeal. Both trial attorneys and appellate attorneys want justice. However, the rules and procedures surrounding appeals and trial court cases can vary greatly. This leads to trial attorneys and appellate attorneys developing different skill sets. When it comes to an appeal, an appellate attorney will understand exactly what can and cannot be used in your appeal, and the best way to use the record to your advantage. The drafting of appellate briefs and preparing for oral arguments at the appellate level are unique skills that do not always overlap with the skills of a trial attorney.
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 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.