The appeal process is a legal mechanism that is essential to understand for those who believe a trial court made a legal error during the process of the trial, which then fundamentally changed the outcome of the case. A distinction should be made: an appeal can only be made if a legal error occurred, not because the individual appealing simply did not like the trial’s verdict. The party that files the appeal is referred to as the appellant and the other party named as the respondent.
The appellant can bring their case to the first appellant court if they believe an error occurred following a final judgment by the trial court. A notice of appeals must be filed within the specific legal timeframe following the delivering of said judgment. For the appeal, a certificate of probable cause can be written by the appellant that provides arguments that constitutional or jurisdictional grounds led to an unfair trial. Another possible reason for an appeal is proving that the trial attorney did not fully act in accordance with their duties. If improper advice was given or the trial attorney failed to act properly, then an appeal can be sought by an appeals attorney.
There are many reasons why an appellant will appeal a case. It is important that the advice of an experienced attorney is sought as there are strict deadlines and document requirements that must be met. Furthermore, there are specific appeals courts based on the case. Different rules govern federal and state crimes and, as such, there are different courts of appeals. When a court of appeal reaches a decision, the appellant can choose to have that decision reviewed, up until the Supreme Court. The decision reached by the Supreme Court is final and cannot be appealed.