An appeal is an opportunity to have a panel of three appellate judges look over the rulings by the trial court judge to see if a mistake was made. Unfortunately it is not a retrial. We don’t get to show new evidence or present our side to this panel of three judges. To succeed on appeal, we need to show that error or errors were made during your trial court process entitling you to reversal.
STEP ONE: Filing of the notice of appeal – 30 days Indiana law requires the filing of a notice of appeal within 30 days from the date of judgment. Failure to file this document on time could result in dismissal of the appeal.
STEP TWO: The clerk of the court will ensure all the documents filed in your case are in order.
STEP THREE: The court reporter will type up a transcript of proceedings which consists of all things said in the courtroom during your case. The court reporter must finish the transcript within 45 days of the filing of the notice of appeal. The Court of Appeals can, and often does, allow the court reporter additional time if requested.
STEP FOUR: After transcripts are filed, your appellate attorney will review the transcripts and court filings in your case, research the law and write up your arguments. No new arguments can be introduced that were not first raised in the trial court. Counsel has 30 days to complete this task.
STEP FIVE: The opposing counsel files its brief responding to the arguments made by the first attorney. Counsel has 30 days to file this brief.
STEP SIX: A final reply brief can be filed within 15 days.
STEP SEVEN: A randomly selected panel of three judges from the Court of Appeals reviews the case and issues a decision. Last year's average time for issuing opinions was about 1.2 months. (This is just an average. Your case could take more time or it could take less).
Generally anywhere from six months to a year.
It depends on the case. Last year, the Court of Appeals reversed 12.9% of criminal cases it heard. The rate of reversal for civil cases was higher at 37.7%.
All hope is not lost. A petition to transfer can be filed asking the Indiana Supreme Court to accept your case.
The Indiana Supreme Court has to accept certain cases such as death penalty cases. But in most cases, the five Supreme Court justices get to vote to decide if they will hear a case.
Sometimes. Most cases are decided without argument, but the Court can, and does, hold oral arguments in cases presenting unusual or confusing areas of the law.
There are several costs associated with appeals.
The filing fee in the Indiana Court of Appeals is $250. To file a petition to transfer in the Indiana Supreme Court is $125. Court reporters earn between $3-$5 per page for preparing the transcript and exhibits. Typical transcript fees range from $250-$1000, but can go higher if the proceeding was lengthy.
- $500 to review your judgment and give you an idea of appealable merit
- Responsive briefs start at $3000. (This is where you won at the trial court level and the other side is appealing.)
- Appeals starting at $5000.00. Competitive hourly rates are $300/hr for the first forty hours and $250/hr thereafter.