The Appellate Process In A Nutshell
The following summary of appeals processes simplifies what is a detailed and tedious process for the sake of illustration. To get a fuller grasp of how your appeal may proceed, consult with John S. Koehler Request a review of your civil or criminal case in Virginia to predict how an appeal might develop.
The Steps To An Appellate Case
After your civil or criminal case has concluded with a conviction or verdict that you find unacceptable, you may initiate an appeal through a notice of appeal. Every situation is different and the process for criminal cases are different than civil cases. In a criminal case, only the defendant may appeal, while either party may appeal in a civil case. After filing a notice of appeal, the general process is as follows:
- After filing the notice of appeal, you must present a written legal brief stating why the verdict or conviction is being appealed. Despite the name, “legal brief,” these briefs are often anything but brief. An effective legal brief is often lengthy and detailed.
- After you have filed a brief, the appellee (the other party in a civil matter or the prosecutor in a criminal case) may submit a brief in response. If they do so, you as the appellant may submit a second brief in response to the opposing side’s brief.
- The appeals court may make a decision based on only the briefs presented or the court or one of the parties may request an oral argument.
- During the oral argument, an attorney from each side may present a short argument and answer questions posed by the court.
How The Case Concludes
After the oral arguments, the appellate judges will meet to discuss the case and arguments made. The appellate court will conclude the appeal in one of these ways:
- Affirming the lower court’s judgment; nothing changes
- Dismissing the appeal, such as for lack of jurisdiction
- Reversing the judgment
- Remanding the case, sending it back to a lower court for one of the following
- A new trial
- Modification of the original judgment
The First Step: Evaluating Your Case For Opportunities To Appeal
I am attorney John S. Koehler, a former clerk with the Supreme Court of Virginia. I bring ample experience and a deep understanding of the appellate process that may offer you hope after a conviction or an undesirable verdict.