Indiana provides parties involved in legal disputes, whether it be criminal or civil in nature, with the opportunity to appeal the outcome of the case, albeit, with some exceptions. While the right to appeal is a cherished tradition, it can also cause headaches due to the extremely technical nature of the appellate practice. This can leave many with a multitude of questions and concerns surrounding the process of appellate law. One such question we have recently received from clients, and prospective clients, is the meaning of intra court of appeal. In this blog, we look to provide a general overview of the appellate process in Indiana, and the meaning of intra court of appeal.
As you may know, the Indiana judicial system is split into two primary levels: the trial courts and appellate courts. The appellate courts consist of the Court of Appeals of Indiana and the Indiana Supreme Court. And as is the case in most states, the Indiana Supreme Court is the highest judicial authority in the state of Indiana. When an individual begins the appeal process, an individual is appealing an order or ruling made by a trial court judge. As a general rule, an individual who is appealing a trial court ruling or order, will first go to the Court of Appeals. When you appeal to the Court of Appeals, a panel of three judges will be responsible for deciding your case. If the Court of Appeals rules against you, you have two options, seek a rehearing with the Court of Appeals or seek what is known as a transfer to the Indiana Supreme Court.
A Petition for Rehearing with the Court of Appeals affords the reviewing court the opportunity to correct its own omissions or errors. A party has thirty (30) days to seek rehearing in the Court of Appeals, but a rehearing is generally only granted to correct a manifest and material error and/or omission in the determination of an appeal. The second option you can take if the Court of Appeals rules against you is to seek a Petition to Transfer to the Indiana Supreme Court. Unlike an appeal to the Court of Appeals, the general rule is that an individual is not entitled to have their case heard by the Indiana Supreme Court. Instead, in the vast majority of cases, the Supreme Court has the discretion to decide whether they will hear your case. In deciding whether to accept a case for transfer, the Supreme Court has set out specific grounds that it considers when making a decision. Some such grounds for transfer include: conflict in the Court of Appeals; undecided questions of law; and significant departure from law or practice.
With an understanding of the appellate process in Indiana, we can now turn to the meaning of intra court appeal. Intra court appeal means internal or same court of appeal, but in front of a different bench. While the term intra court appeal is not used in Indiana, it is similar to what is known as a Rehearing in Indiana. For example, a rehearing is asking the same court, i.e., the Court of Appeals, to re-rule on a decision recently decided by that very court. Thus, a rehearing is essentially intra court appeals because it is in front of the same court, but it is being decided by a different panel of judges.
It is important to note that the above information is general in nature, and know that there are exceptions to almost every rule. Appeals are complex matters, often turning on the specific facts of each case. This area of practice is extremely technical, and obtaining skilled counsel is often key to navigating the complex waters of appeals. This blog post was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who handle all types of appeals, be it civil or criminal, throughout Indiana. This blog is intended for general educational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice or a solicitation for services. It is an advertisement.