Under Indiana law, most parties have the right to an automatic appeal to the Indiana Court of Appeals. Of the tens of thousands of cases filed each year, only a small percentage are appealed to the Indiana Court of Appeals. A party who has the focus and intensity to appeal, sometimes faces the prospect of an adverse result, namely the Indiana Court of Appeals affirming the trial court.
When this occurs, it is a highly stressful time and quickly reaches to the question of, “what’s next?” This blog post explores the four choices available to a party who does not prevail on appeal. The first, and most obvious, is to accept the adverse decision and that of the trial court. This means the party will have to follow the trial court’s decision, as affirmed by the Court of Appeals.
The second, which is in terms of numbers filed and those that prevail, is a petition for rehearing. With such a petition, the party asks the Indiana Court of Appeals to reconsider its decision. For the most part, the Court of Appeals judges spend a lot of time and research reaching conclusion, but this does not mean a Petition does not have a place. A good general example would lie in a case where the law has changed in the immediate past by a case or statute. This might be a good case for rehearing and one that the rule was intended to address.
The third and second most common type of appeal is seeking to have the Indiana Supreme Court accept the case on transfer. This is not a right. The Supreme Court receives a written request much like the brief in the Court of Appeals and decides if it accepts the case. Generally, the Indiana Supreme Court is not focused on error correction, but on bigger policy or constitutional considerations. If the Supreme Court takes transfer, it vacates the decision of the Court of Appeals and trial court until decided. The Supreme Court may re-decide any issue or the entire case.
Finally, in most cases, criminal and civil litigants have ninety days to seek the United States Supreme Court to accept a case on certiorari. These are generally granted in cases of great public importance or because the decision from the state court involves a fundamental constitutional right. These are exceedingly rare. However, all of this appellate process is consistent with justice and the hallmark of American justice.
Maybe one of these appellate matters meets the need in your case. If so, this blog post has met its educational purpose. This blog was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who handle trial court matters in all Indiana counties, appeals to the Indiana Court of Appeals and Indiana Supreme Court and Certoriari petitions. This blog is not a solicitation for legal services or advice for a specific legal need. It is best viewed as advertising.