As you may know, the Indiana Supreme Court, as is the case in most states, is the highest judicial authority in the state of Indiana. However, what you may not know is the extent of the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction. In this blog, we look at three considerations in deciding whether you can or should to take your appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court.
Original and Exclusive Jurisdiction. The first consideration in deciding whether to take your case to the Indiana Supreme Court is whether your action is a matter where the Supreme Court has what is known as original and exclusive jurisdiction. The Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure set out the specific matters in which the Supreme Court has what is known as exclusive jurisdiction. In particular, pursuant to the Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure, the Supreme Court has mandatory and exclusive jurisdiction over matters involving: (1) appeals of final judgments declaring a state or federal statute unconstitutional in whole or in part; (2) appeals involving waiver of parental consent to abortion; and (3) appeals involving mandate of funds.1 There are few cases that the Supreme Court has original and exclusive jurisdiction over, but if your case does fall under one of these categories, you should seek relief in the Supreme Court, if you do not believe the trial court correctly decided the matter.
Discretionary Review. The second consideration in deciding whether to take your case to the Indiana Supreme Court is whether your action is a matter in which the Supreme Court would utilize its discretionary review. To expand, the Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure provide that the “Supreme Court shall have discretionary jurisdiction over cases in which it grants Transfer under Rule 56 or 57 or Review under Rule 63.”2 If your matter is one in which the Supreme Court’s review is discretionary, you must convince the Court to accept the transfer of your case. This is done through what is known as a Petition to Transfer. In deciding whether to accept a case for transfer, the Supreme Court has set out specific grounds that it considers when making a decision. Some such grounds for transfer include: conflict in the Court of Appeals; undecided questions of law; and significant departure from law or practice. Thus, if your case is one that would fall under the discretionary review, you may want to consider seeking transfer if you believe you have appropriate grounds for same.
Preserving the Right to Post Conviction Relief (PCR). The third consideration you must take into account in deciding whether to take your case to the Indiana Supreme Court is specifically for criminal matters. In particular, a defendant who has been criminally convicted has the right to seek what is known as Post-Conviction Relief (PCR).3 PCR can be a remedy for certain defendants who allege one of certain enumerated conditions entitling that defendant to relief.4 However, before a criminal defendant can be “eligible” to seek PCR, that defendant must have first sought all available appellate relief, which would include seeking transfer to the Supreme Court. Thus, if you are a criminal defendant, you may want to consider appealing your conviction to the Indiana Supreme Court to preserve this right to later seek PCR.
Appeals are complex matters, and this area of law is extremely technical. The above information is general in nature and know that there are exceptions to almost every rule. Obtaining skilled counsel is key to navigating the complex waters of appeals. This blog post was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who handle all types of appeals, be it civil or criminal, throughout Indiana. This blog is intended for general educational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice or a solicitation for services. It is an advertisement.