Case Appeals—What an Appeal Is and What It Means


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If you are unhappy with a decision handed down by a court, you have the right to request that a higher court review the lower court’s decision.

What many people do not understand about an appeal is that nothing new in the way of facts or evidence can be added to the record.

An appeal is not a trial and requires an attorney who is highly experienced at research and writing. An appeals lawyer will present the facts and the law to the appeals court via a legal brief which tells the appeals court what errors the trial court made and why the decision should be reversed.

Your First Step—Speaking to a Mississippi Appeals Attorney

If you want to appeal a decision you are unhappy with, you will first meet with an appeals attorney who will decide whether the decision is, in fact, an appealable one. The appeals attorney will go over the hearing transcripts, and all the documents which were presented to the court in order to determine whether the trial judge made a mistake which is potentially appealable. Remember, your appeals attorney is limited to what is already on record, rather than your assessment of what your first attorney did wrong. You could also require an appeals attorney if you won the case, but the losing party is filing an appeal, requiring your appeals attorney to defend the original decision.

Information About Your Appeal

There is no jury in an appeal, no witnesses, and, generally speaking, no other forms of evidence. An appeal is not heard by a single judge, rather by several at once—the exact number will depend on the jurisdiction. An appeal is considered a much more “scholarly” proceeding than a trial; in a trial situation, your attorney must be a skilled litigator and an active strategist who makes motions and objections, calls witnesses and cross-examines witnesses. In an appeal, there may be a short oral argument on the part of the attorney, however the bulk of the case is built in the brief, before the appeal is heard. In short, your appeal will turn on the record (pleadings, pre-trial motions, trial transcripts, exhibits, post-trial motions, and any discussions with the judge).

The Process of Appeal in the State of Mississippi

Your attorney will first file your appeal in the prescribed manner. If two or more people are appealing a single judgement, a joint notice of appeal may be filed. The Notice of Appeal will specify the persons making the appeal as well as the party against whom the appeal is filed. The Notice of Appeal must designate the judgment or order being appealed. A notice of the filing of the Notice of Appeal will be served to counsel of record for each party via mail, and a copy of the Notice of Appeal will be transmitted to the Supreme Court with appropriate fees.

The Mississippi Court of Appeals hears appeals from trial court across the state; the cases are assigned by Mississippi’s Supreme Court. While the Supreme Court may review decisions handed down by the Court of Appeals, the decision of the Court of Appeals will stand if the Supreme Court declines to review the case. There are ten judges who serve on the Mississippi Court of Appeals, and the terms—eight years—are staggered. Appeals are a legal specialty; if you believe you have a potential appeal, contact a very skilled, very experienced appeals attorney in the state. Your attorney will have a significant background in writing legal briefs for appeals, and will probably be able to give you at least some indication of the potential success of your appeal.

Contact Our Jackson Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you have been arrested and charged with a crime in Jackson, Hattiesburg, Meridian, or anywhere in the State of Mississippi, the best thing you can do is to contact an experienced Mississippi criminal defense attorney who will protect your rights to a fair trial and safeguard your future.

At Coxwell & Associates, PLLC, our attorneys believe that everyone is innocent until proven guilty and we work tirelessly to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process. Contact Coxwell & Associates today at 1-601-948-1600 or 1-877-231-1600.

Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.

Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.

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