Monday, April 7, 2014

What is an appeal?

At the conclusion of any family law trial, the trial judge court will make a ruling. If the ruling is considered a final ruling, either party may file an appeal. An appeal does not mean that you get to try your case over with a different judge; rather an appeal involves taking your case to an entirely different court, who will review the trial judge’s ruling. The appellate will determine if the trial judge made a mistake, and if so, it will reverse the ruling. If the appellate court does not believe an error was made, it will affirm the ruling. A ruling by the appellate court can then be reviewed by the Supreme Court, but only if the Supreme Court permits the matter to be reviewed.

The procedure for an appeal involves asking the clerk of the court to prepare the trial court record and then submitting a written argument to the appellate court outlining all of challenges to the ruling.  The trial court record includes: the court file with all pleadings and trial court orders, all of the exhibits submitted at the trial and the transcript of the testimony at the trial. The written argument, known as a “brief,” summarizes the facts of the case and presents legal arguments supporting a reversal of the trial judge.

Once the appeal is filed, the appellate court assigns the case to a panel of three appellate judges who will review the case and determine if the trial court acted properly and consistent with the law. Sometimes the appellate court will request “oral arguments.” If an oral argument is ordered, the attorneys appear at the appellate court and argue the case before the panel of judges.

Preparing an appeal is very involved. The procedures are complicated and the rules differ greatly from those rules in the trial court. An attorney who comfortably navigates daily in the trial court may not necessarily be the right person to handle your appeal. Advocacy in the appellate court is dramatically different than in the trial court, and requires different skills than are required to present a case to at trial judge.

The Peskind Law Firm has extensive experience handling appeals throughout the state. Steven N. Peskind has successfully appealed court decisions both in the appellate court and the State Supreme Court. Mr. Peskind and his team understand how to effectively present the case to the appellate court to maximize chances of success. Whether the case involves appealing a trial court ruling, or defending an appeal, the Peskind Law Firm can help. Contact Mr. Peskind at or call the office at 630-444-0701.

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