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 general grounds for dismissal of an appeal, and what happens after an appeal is dismissed.
In Indiana, there are several grounds for dismissing an appeal. For example, the Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure provide that an appeal may be dismissed for failure to ensure the record and transcript are completed or due to failure to ensure that notice of completion was provided.1 Additionally, an appeal may be dismissed for failure to substantially comply with the appellate rules. However, it is important to note that the appellate courts strongly prefer to decide a case on the merits, and therefore, typically shy away from dismissing cases on technicalities.
Aside from issues of jurisdiction, typically, matters not going to the merits must usually be raised by a motion to dismiss. A motion to dismiss can be filed by either the Appellant (the filing party) or the Appellee (the responding party). Pursuant to the rules of appellate procedure, an appellant has the ability to file a motion to seek what is known as a voluntary dismissal. Conversely, the appellate rules provide that an appellee has the ability to file a motion to seek what is known as an involuntary dismissal.
When an appeal is dismissed, the judgment of the lower court stands, and the appellate court has no authority to order the trial court to correct its judgment. Generally, when an appeal is dismissed, it is dismissed with prejudice. This means that the case is permanently dismissed and finalized. However, in some circumstances, a case may be dismissed without prejudice. The most common example is when a case is dismissed and remanded to the trial court for further proceedings. If an appeal is dismissed without prejudice, the case is not permanently dismissed and therefore can be appealed at a later time.
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, oftentimes 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.