Appellate law is also referred to as the law of appeals in the United States and is when someone requests a formal change to an official decision. It is also referred to as the process of appeals. The process of appeals differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction because of the different laws created by each individual state. In appellate law, an appellate court is the court that hears cases on appeals from other courts. Appeals occur when someone is involved in a case at another court and isn't happy with the decision handed down by that court. They will then appeal the decision of that original case by heading to an appeals court. The person that is appealing a decision usually does so on specific grounds. Those grounds include errors of law, errors of fact, or errors of procedure (which is called due process in the United States).
The courts of appeals in the United States are referred to by many different names. Those names can be courts of appeals, superior courts, appeals courts, or supreme courts. The party that files an appeal is called the appellant. The party that has the appeal filed against them is the respondent. The respondent is allowed to file an appeal of their own, which is known as a cross-appeal. If a trial occurred at a lower level court and the judge ruled in favor of the plaintiff, making the defendant pay $10,000 to the plaintiff, the defendant can file an appeal with a higher level court. The appeal by the defendant can be cross-appealed by the plaintiff who might claim that the defendant should actually have to pay $15,000.
The right to appeal a court decision is guaranteed by statute or some underlying legal constitutional or legal principle. An appellate court cannot refuse to listen to any cases that have been filed for appeal. Appeals are allowed by either party in a tort, civil, or equity cases that were tried at lower level courts. These appeals can be taken up with a higher court within the state of the original trial or can be filed with the United States Supreme Court if there are constitutional issues. To hear a case regarding constitutional issues, four of the justices on the Supreme Court must vote in favor of hearing the appeal. One matter that cannot be acquitted is a bench or jury verdict of acquittal. Acquittals cannot be appeals because of double jeopardy. Double jeopardy states that a defendant cannot be tried twice for the same crime on the same set of facts.
There are two common forms of appeals across the world today. The direct appeal is when the appellant files an appeal with the next higher court of review. The second form of appeal in the United States court system is the collateral appeal or post-conviction petition. This is when the petitioner-appellant files the appeal in a court of first instance (usually the court that tried the case). Collateral appeals allows for the review of affidavits, depositions, and witness statements that did not come in at the time of the trial. To be relieved of their sentence following conviction, many defendants must be able to prove that the evidence presented was not available in the usually course of trial discovery. For example, an incarcerated defendant finds DNA evidence that proves the defendant's actual innocence.
To begin an appeal, a notice of appeal is required. The form is usually completed by the appellant or the appellant's lawyer. The notice of appeal might have to be filed with the court of appeal or with the court in which the appeal is taken. The deadline for an appeal is usually within days, not years. In the United States, there are two forms of appeals, a trial de novo and an appeal on the record. A trial de novo is the review of an informal procedure by a tribunal that does not provide all of the procedural attributes of a formal judicial trial. In an appeal on the record both the appellant and respondent are bound to base their arguments solely on the proceedings and body of evidence as they were presented in the lower court.