Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. provides helpful links to official state and federal websites, along with a select few others, for areas in which the firm’s attorneys practice. Brief commentary is provided to orient the sites to their use.
These are provided for Readers so that they may educate themselves on a given legal topic and be more engaged legal consumers. However, these links are not controlled, maintained or regulated by the Firm. For this reason, the Firm is not responsible for such content or Readers’ use thereof.
Appeals are rule-driven and time-sensitive. An appeal might routinely involve several bodies of primary and secondary law.
Primary law encompasses statutes and the cases that apply and develop the statutes.
Secondary law involves all other sources of law and includes administrative-agency rules and various rules of the Indiana Supreme Court (federal law may also apply). Links to certain bodies of this primary and secondary law are thus summarized and/or identified and provided as it relates to appeals.
In a small percentage of cases, a state or federal constitutional right will be implicated and form the basis for an appellate issue. For this reason, consistent with this Site’s educational aims and objectives, links to the Indiana Constitution and United States Constitution are provided.
Indiana Constitution: www.in.gov/legislative/ic/code/const
United States Constitution: www.archives.gov
There are thirty-six (36) substantive topical provisions of the Indiana Code, although some have been repealed and are no longer good law. These are the statutes adopted by the Indiana General Assembly. Each is referred to as a “title.” A common and representative example is Title 9, which addresses and covers motor vehicles. A link to the State’s posting of the current Indiana Code is thus provided:
In the typical appeal, it is handled by the Indiana Court of Appeals. This court issues two (2) types of decisions: “Memorandum” and “For Publication.” “Memorandum” decisions are routine appeals whose decision does not involve any unique issue or development of the law. They cannot be relied upon as authority. The decisions of importance and those that Readers typically should consider are “For Publication” decisions.
All decisions of the Indiana Supreme Court are published and authoritative. In addition, in both of these appellate courts, the decisions are in written format.
The Court of Appeals’ “For Publication” opinions and those of the Indiana Supreme Court are readily available and frequently apply the statutory law to specific facts. They are invaluable tools to understanding the controlling legal issue and should be searched and reviewed when a User wants to more fully understand a topic.
The State’s website does not contain the official written opinions, as those are maintained by West (Thompson/Reuters). Nonetheless, the “unofficial” versions are available free of charge in a usable format at the State’s website. This is sufficient for general educational purposes:
In most lawmaking roles, the General Assembly is too small to fully implement its statutory provisions and intent, or lacks the technical expertise to do so. For this reason, it often creates administrative agencies to do this work and delegates the necessary authority to the agency.
These administrative agencies engage in activities ranging from adopting rules to effectuate the General Assembly’s direction to conducting hearings for rule violations. In some circumstances, the controlling provision of the Indiana Administrative Code may be an issue on appeal. The link to Indiana’s entire administrative code is set forth:
There are a substantial number of judicial rules that may come into play in an appeal. The most common are set forth and described in the following commentary with a link to the State’s materials.
Rules of Appellate Procedure
All civil and criminal appeals to the Indiana Court of Appeals or the Indiana Supreme Court are governed by the Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure. These Rules set forth all the necessary details, broadly from when these Courts have jurisdiction to the micro administrative functions, such as the color for brief covers (the are color coordinated) and filing fees.
These Rules are structured in a chronological fashion, tracking when an appeal may be taken (jurisdiction) to transfer to the Indiana Supreme Court. A litigant involved with an appeal who desires to educate himself or herself about the appeals process should start by accessing the link to these Rules and study them (reference Indiana Rules of Court):
Rule of Trial Procedure
Indiana’s trial rules govern the procedure, and to some extent the substance, of proceedings in Indiana’s circuit and superior courts. Frequently, they must be referenced on appeal, such as with a summary judgment proceeding.
Where the Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure leave off (such as with stays on appeal first denied in the trial court under the trial rules), the appellate rules pick up in the transition of any case from a trial court to the appellate. These Rules are available at the same web address as the Rules of Appellate Procedure (reference Indiana Rules of Court):