If you are about to go to trial or you are even considering filing a lawsuit, there are many aspects of the legal system that you should understand. Among those is the appeals process. Not only should you be familiar with the term, but you should fully grasp what it could mean to you in the future. Imagine, after a long, hard fought battle, you finally get the judgment that you deserve, only to find that the defendant isn’t done fighting.
The court of appeals can grant a second trial to a party that gives good reason why the first decision was in some way biased or unfounded. The biggest step to understanding appeals is mastering the terminology.
Appellant. This is the party of the case that files the appeal with the courts.
Court of Appeals. This is the court in charge of determining whether or not a follow-up case is justifiable. The finding here will be based on the facts of the initial case. There will be no witnesses called, nor any further evidence accepted.
Brief. This, which is the legal argument of the appellant, is generally the only further information acknowledged at this stage. However, there is the opportunity for the other party of the case to submit a brief as well.
Writ of Certiorari. When the appeals court feels that there is reason for another trial to be held, in the vast majority of situations, the Court of Appeals will make the final judgment upon hearing verbal arguments or the case will be reheard in the trial courts (the same level that it was at initially, but with a new judge and jury).
However, in some situations, when the case has already been heard in a federal court or in the highest state court, the appellant may chose to request that the case be heard by the US Supreme Court. When this occurs, it is referred to as Writ of Certiorari.
Not many trials are heard by the Supreme Court each year. The judgment made in these cases will impact the masses (not just the parties of the case) because it will have some level of legal importance; will involve the interpretation of the law or of the constitution.