In all criminal convictions (sentencing) and civil judgments (final orders), the non-prevailing litigant has an automatic right to appeal. Most appeals go to the Indiana Court of Appeals. With a criminal conviction at the time of sentencing, a defendant who believes he has been wrongfully convicted or received an excess sentence should most always appeal. This blog explores the two key reasons for seeking such an appeal, even in a case such as a revocation of probation. First, failure to seek an appeal may well mean a conviction of an innocent person (on some or all counts stands) attaching a criminal ...
July 14, 2016Adam Hayes
The concerns about domestic violence in many Western countries has led to detailed studies and new laws about this often unreported crime. Most states in the United States have specific statutes for criminal domestic battery where there are certain intimate relationships involved. In a recent blog post, the seriousness the United States has placed on this issues was discussed because of the SCOTUS case affirming that a misdemeanor conviction of domestic violence could cause a life time loss of the core civil right to keep and bear arms (the other core civil liberties are the right to hold elected office, sit ...
July 12, 2016Adam Hayes
As a general rule, the final order of Indiana trial courts has the right to appeal. Most are taken to the Indiana Court of Appeals. A few appeals proceed directly to the Indiana Supreme Court. In this blog post, three types of matters that cannot normally be taken up on appeal are discussed as this creates significant confusion for some litigants. The first are interlocutory orders. During the trial process a judge may make dozens or hundreds of orders to move the trial along. Normally, these are not appealable because they are interlocutory (or not final) in nature. However, a trial ...
July 5, 2016Adam Hayes
There are many legal considerations in taking an appeal from a trial court’s final order to the Indiana Court of Appeals. In this blog post, three of the most basic considerations for appeal are considered to illustrate the obvious—but not often thought of—components of an appeal. The first is the time to prepare an appeal. On appeal to the Indiana Court of Appeals, this Court considers the written word for word account of the witness testimony. In addition, it considers exhibits. This requires the proceeding to be typed out - witness by witness. Thus, it takes about three months for this to ...
May 19, 2016Adam Hayes
In Indiana, when a trial court issues its order (a final order), it is possible that the consequences are or perceived to be so detrimental that the litigant wishes to stay (stop) the order from being enforced during an appeal. This is not automatic. This blog post explores the two avenues to obtain a stay of a final judgment. Where the case is primarily one that boils down to money, the litigant (who did not prevail at trial), may, in accordance with trial rules or appellate rules, post a sum of money during the appeal. In domestic cases, a trial court ...
April 28, 2016Adam Hayes
The Indiana Court of Appeals stand open to all litigants to bring appeals of most all final orders (and some interlocutory orders) from Indiana’s trial courts. This is a now a constitutional right (in the late 1800s this Court was created to assist the Indiana Supreme Court with an overflow of cases and later became a permanent court). While all such cases may be appealed, a general disagreement with the impartial decision of fact by a judge and/or jury isn’t necessarily a great appeal, and may have a “lack of appeal” in the sense of reversal. The are many issues that ...
February 16, 2016Adam Hayes
As a general rule, there is a strong presumption in American law that a judge or jury properly weighed the evidence and decided a case. A fair amount of attention has been focused in the recent media on actions within court rooms that may have swayed a verdict. One is an attorney who appeared to yawn1 at a closing argument as if to dismiss it. Generally, the first line of attack is to have counsel determine if this is harmless error—meaning it did not matter. If this is not the case, it may be that due process of law was not ...
February 11, 2016Adam Hayes
Indiana’s appellate court’s are adapting with the times and requirements for open access to courts as guaranteed by the Indiana Constitution. Appeals to the Indiana Court of Appeals, Indiana’s primary intermediate court are made uniform to expedite the appellate process and ensure uniformity in review on-line and in paper format by the Clerk issuing a “Notice of Defect” for briefs that other filings that do not closely follow the Appellate rules. In this blog post, common defects are discussed and what they mean in terms of the appeal and corrective action. As a threshold matter, the Indiana Court of Appeals exists ...
February 10, 2016Adam Hayes
In Indiana, there are four key steps to take in appealing a decision of an Indiana judge or jury verdict. The first is to determine if there is a final order. In most civil trials, the appealable order is the final order disposing of all of the issues. In criminal cases, this is the date of the sentencing. The rules set forth by the Indiana Court of Appeals and Supreme Court are strict and require a certain action to be taken within thirty days of a final appealable order. Missing a date can preclude an appeal. The second step is to ...
November 18, 2015Adam Hayes
The “argument” section of an appellant’s brief is the life-blood of every appeal. This blog explores some of the key aspects of sound argument drafting. Taking the complex facts of life and applying the law is a daily challenge for lawyers. However, this task becomes more difficult when it involves an appeal and controlling standard of review. The standard of review may limit what facts and laws can be argued as set forth in the Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure. This limits how the higher court reviews any potential errors made by a trial court. The first part of the argument is ...
July 15, 2015Adam Hayes