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“I’m Taking My Case To The Supreme Court?”

Six Reasons The Indiana Supreme Court Might Take Your Case

We have all had a moment in time in our personal life or heard on television, someone state they are taking their case to the Supreme Court. That may or may not be a remedy available to them. Under Indiana law and the Indiana Supreme Court’s Rule of Appellate Procedure, there are six specific considerations the Indiana Supreme Court gives to every case.

The general consideration is where to appeal it are direct and a matter or right. This means the case does not go to the Indiana Court of Appeals first as most do. Only a very few cases allow for direct appeal. The first are criminal appeals where the sentence is life imprisonment without parole or a death sentence. In addition, trial court decisions that find a state or federal statute is unconstitutional go to the Indiana Supreme Court, as well as a waiver of parental consent to abortion, and mandate of funds.1

In the rest of cases from the trial court (the majority of appealable orders), the case is first appealed to the Indiana court of appeals. If a litigant is not satisfied with the decision of the Indiana Court of Appeals, he or she may file a Petition to Transfer requesting the Indiana Supreme Court consider taking the case on transfer (from the Court of Appeals) for one or more of six reasons:2

These cases are obvious ones. The first type of discretionary appeal is where the decision sought to be appealed is in conflict with other Indiana Court of Appeals decisions. The second is where the case to be appealed is in conflict with the decision of the Indiana Supreme Court itself. These are somewhat common considerations.

The third, but far less common consideration, is the Court of Appeals’ decision conflicts with a federal appellate decision. This is somewhat complex and may involve a federal statute or state law. Typically, federal law is supreme to state law under the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution.

With our system of English Common law as a default, statutory law, and caselaw, sometimes undecided or grey areas arise with these. If this is the case, an undecided question of law may be presented to the Indiana Supreme Court. These are more common with the complexity of our post-modern society where in any given case, common law, statutes, cases, and administrative rules and regulation may apply, along with their federal counter parts.

The fifth and sixth areas of consideration will probably gather more steam as our Society changes so rapidly in the computer and information (instantaneous) era. A precedent (case) that is somewhat outdated because of changes in our society may be such a case, with one of the recent issues being decided in a narrow context by the Indiana Supreme Court is third party custody, as more and more children are being reared by third parties. Finally, where a law or custom or practice is standard, even if not reduced to a written rule or case or statute, a trial court decision and/or one by the Court of Appeals that radically departs from this may be considered by the Supreme Court.

In most all cases, if your case is considered by the Indiana Supreme Court or they deny it, there is a right to seek Certorari to the United States Supreme Court, generally on constitutional grounds.

We hope you find this information useful in understanding the Indiana appellate process. This blog post is written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. and is for general educational purposes only. It is not legal advice, or solicitation for legal services. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys handle civil and criminal appeals from all Indiana state trial court.

  1. Ind.RuleAppellate Procedure 4(A).
  2. Ind.Rule Appellate Procedure 57(H).

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Dixon & Moseley, P.C., is a law firm located in Indianapolis, Indiana. We serve clients in six core practice areas: family lawappellate practicefirearms lawgeneral practicepersonal injury and criminal law.

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