Every day, trial courts issue tens of thousands of orders. Most of these orders are “interlocutory” in nature and are made to help the case progress. It is only when an order disposes of all of the issues that it is a final order. There is generally an automatic right to appeal Indiana Court of Appeals. Appealing a final order is the topic of this blog post.
Failure to appeal a “final” order will result in dismissal of the appeal. For instance, in a criminal case, a conviction is not a final order until the sentencing occurs. Thus, an appeal filed on the conviction would be a defective appeal that would likely get dismissed.
In a criminal case, moreover, the Court of Appeals of Indiana has special powers to review sentences and revise them in light of the nature of the offense and the character of the offender.1 Further, a defendant may appeal just the defendant’s sentence.2
In civil litigation, particularly divorce, it is sometimes difficult to determine when an order is a “final order” for purposes of appeal. For instance, the court may issue what appears to be a final order, but instructs the parties to agree to a parenting coordinator or report to the court they cannot agree.
These types of orders may leave ambiguity as to whether the order is final. If it is, there are thirty (30) days to appeal. If not a final order, the appeal is premature. In these cases, extreme care is necessary and a number of tools may be applied by appellate attorneys, such as filing a Notice of Appeal as a cautionary measure. In addition, an instruction may be sought from the trial court.
As another example, in a civil case where there is an entry of a judgment based on a motion requesting it but does not award damages. If a part of the dispute, this is not a final judgment for appeal. The key point of this blog is understanding that appeals are very technical in nature and rule-driven.3 Failure to follows the rules may result in an appeal being premature or untimely and forfeit the right to appeal.
With an appeal, you should choose wisely and seek skilled appellate counsel. This is a very narrow and complex practice area. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. advocates handle appeals throughout the State to the Indiana Court of Appeals and Indiana Supreme Court, as well as the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and United States Supreme Court. This blog post is written by Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys and it not legal advice or a solicitation for services. It is an advertisement.