We often see a lot of confusion when it comes to appeals and the appeals process. This is understandable, as it is an extremely technical process, requiring close attention to the rules of appellate procedure. In Indiana, the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court are limited in their ability to hear certain matters and the evidence that can be presented in each particular matter. You may be wondering then, what evidence does the Court of Appeals consider? Can it be any evidence? New evidence? In this blog, we try to answer some of these questions and provide a basic understanding of the evidence that the Court of Appeals considers in each appeal.
There are three general categories of “evidence” that the Court of Appeals considers on each appeal. First, the Court of Appeals will consider what is known as “the record on appeal.” The record on appeal consists of the clerk’s record and all proceedings that took place before the trial court, whether or not the record has been transcribed.1 While exceptions and rules apply, the record on appeal, in short, basically consists of all the testimony of witnesses from hearing(s) and filings made at the trial court level and all filings.
The next thing that is considered on appeal is the evidence presented at the trial court level. The evidence presented at the trial court level is typically done through what is known as exhibits. For example, a document introduced at trial as evidence was most likely labeled as something like “Defendant’s Exhibit 1” and the attorney had to move to “admit” the exhibit in court. If the exhibit was not admitted, or introduced at court, then that evidence will not be considered on appeal. Of course, there are exceptions, but the general rule is that only evidence that was admitted at trial can be considered by the Court of Appeals.
The final piece that is considered by the Court of Appeals are the Briefs submitted by the Parties. That is, each party receives the opportunity to present a Brief presenting their argument either opposing or supporting the lower court ruling. The Appellant (the party that is initiated the appeal) first files what is known as the Appellant’s Brief. The Appellant’s Brief must be limited to the record and evidence presented at trial. Once this is completed, the Appellee (the party not appealing) receives thirty days to submit an Appellee’s Brief. This is an optional requirement for the Appellee. If, however, the Appellee does submit a brief, the Appellant will then receive fifteen days to submit what is known as the Appellant’s Reply Brief.
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.