A question litigants often have when they receive an unfavorable trial court order is whether they can appeal or challenge it. Within a trial court, a Motion to Reconsider or Motion to Correct Errors may remedy the situation. However, if that is not the case depending on a number of factual and legal variables, you may want to consider an appeal. Appeals may be taken to the Indiana Court of Appeals or Indiana Supreme Court.1
This blog explores the three major types of appeals. The first two are taken to the Indiana Court of Appeals. This is Indiana's intermediate (middle) court and the first level of appellate court, except some decision administrative agencies. Typically, the appeal taken to the Indiana Court of Appeals is one that disposes of all or some of the legal issues—decides them.
A “final order” as it is known is appealable as a matter or right to the Indiana Court of Appeals in most cases. These are appeals as a matter of right to afford due process under the Indiana and United States Constitutions. This applies to criminal and civil final orders. Again, a “final order” is one that ends the case on some or all of the matters.
In every case, there are many orders made by trial courts along the way to keep the matter moving toward a “final order.” In a small percentage of these cases, the legal implications of the order are so significant that an appeal may be taken as a matter or right at that time, such as the payment of money. In other cases, such as suppression of evidence, a trial court may “certify” the interlocutory order for appeal. The Court of Appeals still has to accept it. These are relatively rare cases.
In certain matters of great importance such where a trial court declares a statute unconstitutional, or in criminal cases where the defendant is sentenced to death or life imprisonment without parole, the case is directly appealed to the Indiana Supreme Court, meaning it skips the Court of Appeals.
In all other cases, a litigant (known on appeal as an appellant or appellee) may petition the Indiana Supreme Court to take the case in what is called a Petition for Transfer. It is the discretion of the Supreme Court whether to accept these cases. Normally, these involve cases where a litigant’s case has application to other similar cases or policy considerations.
If you have an adverse order, you may want to consider an appeal with your attorney. Appeals are governed by strict rules and may be forfeited if not timely. 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.