The Appellate Process
FORGET EVERYTHING YOU JUST WENT THROUGH IN THE SUPERIOR COURT!
Isn’t that a shocking statement? You just spent a ton of money, went through a lot of aggravation, and spent a lot of your personal time in your case.
Now I am supposed to forget it? YES!
The days of your attorney going to court on motions, pre trial conferences, and case management conferences are all over. Appellate courts don’t have these procedural requirements.
The days of your answering written interrogatories, producing documents, and going to depositions are over. Appellate courts don’t have these procedural requirements.
The days of your spending hours/days/weeks sitting in a court room while you, your opponent and witnesses testify are over. Appellate courts don’t have these procedural requirements.
And the expenses that go with all of these trial court requirements are also behind you.
Courts of Appeal only look at what was before the Trial Court. This consists of (1) the written documents the trial attorneys asked the Judge to read and (2) the reporter’s transcript containing what the parties discussed with the Judge and what the parties and witnesses said under oath in testimony. Courts of Appeal (almost) never look at any new witness testimony, new documents nor anything else. This is because the Court of Appeal wants to know if the Trial Judge made a mistake; and a Trial Judge can only make a mistake if he/she failed to properly consider something the attorneys asked him/her to consider.
Step One: After filing a few routine procedural documents and the Clerk’s Transcript and Reporter’s Transcript, the first big step is the Appellant filing an opening brief. This is the Appellant’s argument explaining how the Trial Judge deprived the Appellant of a fair trial. This “brief” can be up to 14,000 words long.