As a general component of human nature, almost every litigant who has lost a case in a trial court believes the trial court incorrectly decided the matter. No one wants to be “wrong,” but Indiana’s trial court are charged with being open to litigants to freely administer justice and decide cases. Every case has an appeal of right to the Indiana Court of Appeals, if not the Indiana Supreme Court.
Nevertheless, most trial court decisions are not appealed. Presumably, this is because the losing party concedes the point. However, there are three times when a case should be appealed. The first is where the litigant will not be able to move on with his or her life in the absence of another court reviewing the decision—and hopefully reversing it. These cases are driven by facts and law, but are rooted in emotion. Child custody cases are perfect examples. Many parents or third parties cannot go on with life without knowing they did all they could do . . . .
The second type of case, and legally speaking, one better for appeal and reversal is where an appellant claims the trial court made an error or law. An error of law could be a trial court applying the wrong law, legal standard, or one that has been changed by subsequent case or statutory law. Indiana’s Court of Appeals and Supreme Court do not given any deference to a trial court’s determination of the law. These cases are thus reviewed de novo (with deference to the trial court’s determination).
The third case is criminal, typically felonies. In order to challenge a conviction or sentence, an appeal is required. Moreover, to seek remedies after appeal and later in time, such as post-conviction relief, an appeal is a pre-requisite. In addition, any criminal conviction may be asked to be taken by the United States Supreme Court. If granted, this is called a Grant of Certiorari. Without exhausting appeals, post-conviction relief may be barred.
We hope you find this information useful in understanding the Indiana appellate process. This blog post is written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. and is for general educational purposes only. It is not legal advice, or solicitation for legal services. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys handle civil and criminal appeals from all Indiana state trial court, Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, or United States Supreme Court.