As a general rule, every litigant from an Indiana trial court has the right to appeal a decision to the Indiana Court of Appeals (in a few exceptions, the appeal may proceed directly to the Indiana Supreme Court). This Court decides its cases in a timely fashion and handles thousands of appeals each year, along with related matters.
Some cases are stronger for appeal than are others and this blog post explores the better cases for appeal. The weakest case is worth noting at the outset, which are disputes about facts. The Court of Appeals heavily relies on the trial court judges who observes litigants to weigh out and to decide and dispute facts. Reversal may occur where a review of the factual record leaves the Court with a firm conviction a mistake has been made.
There are four strong cases for appeal or where appeal is necessary for other reasons.
The first is criminal in nature. The failure to appeal the conviction or judgment limits future challenges on the judgment. For this reason, many felony convictions are appealed as to the sufficiency of the evidence for conviction beyond a reasonable doubt or the nature of the sentence. The balance relate to civil cases, but may also arise in criminal matters.
The second is in cases where the final judgment applies to the wrong law. The law is complex and conflicted at times and sometimes an error occurs that necessitates reversal. Complex financial matters, such as pension or retirement valuations are such an example. These are solid cases for appeal. This is perhaps the most common type of reversal of a trial court decision on appeal.
The third is a case that involves an unanswered question of law. Between statutes and the caselaw (the published decisions of the Court of Appeals and all decision of the Supreme Court), ambiguities exist with the unique nature of each case courts receive. In these cases, there may not be a specific decision to guide a trial court and the Court of Appeals also addresses these cases with frequency, which are sometimes referred to as cases of first impression.
The fourth and final case is one that challenges the constitutional aspect of a final decision. This may be as the law is applied to a given case presented or that a statute is unconstitutional because it violates a constitutional protection. An example would be a blanket order that a party cannot talk about his or her case with anyone. Constitutional matters that succeed on appeal are fewer, but what ensures the Country remains free and the courts operate to provide equal justice.
This blog post was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who handle appeals in all Indiana courts, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. This blog post is for general educational purposes only and is not intended as specific legal advice or a solicitation for services. It is best thought of as an advertisement.