The Appeals Process in Indiana generally (there are a few exceptions) begins when a trial court issues a final order. A litigant, whether criminal or civil, has only thirty (30) days to file an appeal.
There may be up to three (3) dates on the final order, and knowing which date is the controlling date is important. There is the date the judge signs the order, the date the order is file stamped, and the date the court enters the order into their system (on the Chronological Case Summary, or CCS). These dates can be the same or different. The date the court enters the order into their system is the date that starts the clock on filing an appeal.
The first step in the appeals process is a Notice of Appeal, it is a form notifying the trial court judge, and trial court counsels for both sides (you may elect a different attorney to handle your appeal, in fact, this is common), the clerk of the court, and the court reporter that you intend to appeal the order.
Once the Notice of Appeal is filed, the clerk of the trial court has 30 days to prepare a clerk’s record and the court reporter has 90 days to prepare a transcript of evidence from the hearing. A clerk record is just a listing of all dates when motions, or orders were filed, or when hearings took place. A transcript is the word for word text of what was said at a hearing, as well as copies of all documentary evidence that was placed on the record.
Once the Transcript is completed, the Appellant (the person who is appealing) has 30 days to write a brief outlining the background of the case and the legal argument. Once the Appellant files his or her brief, the Appellee (opposing side) has 30 days to write a brief in response and raising an argument to the contrary. Thereafter the Appellant gets the last word and has 15 days to write a Reply Brief.
Once all briefing is complete, the court assigns the case to a random three judge panel that takes the matter under advisement and issues an opinion.
We hope that this blog post has been helpful in describing the appeals process. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. practices throughout the state of Indiana. This blog post was written by attorney, Lori Schmeltzer.