When a matter is ripe for appeal, there first must be a determination of which Court has jurisdiction. In many cases, the Court of Appeals has jurisdiction, and the briefs, appendix, and related filings will be reviewed by the Court of Appeals. This is generally true for final orders. In some cases, however, the jurisdiction goes straight to the Indiana Supreme Court.
The Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over all appeals from Final Judgments of Circuit, Superior, Probate, and County Courts (if the Supreme Court does not have jurisdiction). Additionally, the Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over interlocutory (before a final order) appeals and appeals from agency decisions, generally1.
The Indiana Supreme Court’s jurisdiction can be either mandatory (required) or discretionary. The Indiana Supreme Court has mandatory and exclusive jurisdiction over the following:
(a) Criminal Appeals in which a sentence of death or life imprisonment without parole is imposed under Ind.Code § 35-50-2-9 and Criminal Appeals in post conviction relief cases in which the sentence was death.
(b) Appeals of Final Judgments declaring a state or federal statute unconstitutional in whole or in part.
(c) Appeals involving waiver of parental consent to abortion under Rule 62.
(d) Appeals involving mandate of funds under Trial Rule 60.5(B) and Rule 61.2
Therefore, if a case involves a matter in (a)-(d) above, the Indiana Supreme Court will have exclusive jurisdiction of the case. In other words, it will not first or exclusively be heard by the Court of Appeals.
Additionally, the Indiana Supreme Court has discretionary jurisdiction over cases for which Transfer is granted. This means that the case has been decided and an Opinion issued by the Court of Appeals, and a Petition to Transfer to the Supreme Court has been filed and accepted. Not all cases for which a Petition to Transfer are accepted by the Supreme Court. If the case is not accepted by the Supreme Court on Transfer, the case is certified back to the Trial Court.
We hope that this blog post has been helpful in exploring appellate jurisdiction and when cases go directly to the Supreme Court in Indiana. This blog post is not intended as legal advice. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. practices throughout the state of Indiana and in the appellate arena. This blog post was written by attorney, Jessica Keyes.