During an appeal, the process begins by the appealing party (appellant) filing his or her notice of appeal. This form includes information about the lower court proceeding including the appellant’s information, the date and title of the Order, and the days of the hearing so a transcript can be prepared.
The clock is then tolling with each side having the opportunity to submit their written arguments/briefs/responses and replies. When all of the information has finally been presented to the Court of Appeals, the Court is then able to review all of this information, make a ruling, and issue an opinion.
The opinion dissects the issues on appeal and how the judges came to their conclusion. There may or may not be a dissent, if one of the judges disagreed with the others. The Court will also state whether some or all of the issues are affirmed or remanded. If affirmed, the decisions of the trial court are upheld. If remanded, the issue(s) are sent back to the trial court to somehow be redetermined (recalculated, retried, reheard).
But, what happens if the Court of Appeals affirms all the issues? There is more than one option in this situation. One option is to file a Petition for Rehearing with the Court of Appeals. The second option is to file a Petition to Transfer to the Indiana Supreme Court.
A Petition for Rehearing may be filed for any of the following outcomes in the Court of Appeals: 1) a published opinion 2) a not-for-publication memorandum decision 3) an order dismissing an appeal and 4) an order declining to authorize the filing of a successive petition for post-conviction relief1.
A Petition for Rehearing must be filed not later than thirty (30) days after the decision2. Upon receipt of the Petition for Rehearing, the Court of Appeals can decide whether or not to rehear the decision. If they choose not to, the party can then Petition to Transfer the Court of Appeals opinion to the Indiana Supreme Court.
If the case is reheard, the judges will reevaluate the case and review the decision. This may or may not lead to a different decision. Rehearing’s are less common than appeals, and can clarify or modify a decision. An example of this process can be found in a recent Court of Appeals decision, Schwartz v. Heeter, where the Court of Appeals granted rehearing to clarify the holding3.
The Appellate process is a complex and time-sensitive process. Understanding the steps can help the appellant create a plan for the party. It is wise to seek the aid of an attorney if you have decided to appeal a decision or Petition for Rehearing.
We hope that this blog has been informative about the Rehearing process. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. practices throughout the state of Indiana. This blog post was written by attorney, Jessica Keyes.