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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 33424
Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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On what grounds can I appeal a district court decision to an

Customer Question

On what grounds can I appeal a district court decision to an Appellate Court. I know I just can't appeal a case to the appellate court because I didn't like the decision I got.
JA: Since laws vary from place to place, what state is this in?
Customer: Massachusetts. I was told that there about 4 grounds on which I can make an appeal, but I don't remember what they are.
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: No - I go to Court next week at the district Court level but I want to make sure I word my arguments so that they are appealable to the District Court.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: any body there?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 10 months ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today.

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 10 months ago.

Actually, you can appeal a case on any grounds that you want, including that you feel the verdict was incorrect. It doesn't mean you will win the appeal, nothing will ever guarantee that, but you can appeal for any reason.

There are certainly more than four reasons you can appeal and I'm not sure what you were told that could be limited to four reasons.

Massachusetts has a good website describing the appellate process at

If your question has been answered then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work. Of course, please feel free to ask any follow up questions in this thread. I want to be sure that all of your questions are answered.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Dwayne,I'm not adverse to talking to you by phone. But i want to make sure you have knowledge in this area of law, i.e. appealing district court decisions to Appellate Courts. I received a minor traffic citation in a local town once again. Everytime this happens it goes on my record for 6 years, and I pay an additional $200 every year on my insurance. I did some research on the town and I discovered what I believe is an arguable case. That is that the town issues traffic citation more as a means of generating revenue that in enforcing safety laws. They make a fortune and I believe that the burden of this unfair practice falls more on residents of lower income than on the more affluent. When the Justice department investigated the Furgeson police department they found police officers were handing out a disproportionate number of traffic citations to people of color and deemed it unfair and legally prevailed on Department to stop it. I think the same reasoning should apply to lower income people because in both cases it's discrimitory and unfair. I'm going before the district court early next week - is the something you think you can help me with in terms of crafting my argument so I could appeal it to the Appellate Court in case I loose?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Dwayne are you still there?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 10 months ago.

I don't do phone calls but, regardless, I'm extremely familiar with appeals and have been involved in them in a number of states, up to the state Supreme Courts.

Unfortunately, while I can answer questions for you and provide information, the experts here aren't allowed to help you craft arguments, provide wording or arguments or documents, etc. I can opt out and see if another expert can assist you with the specific area you mention, although since it is appears to be something that is against the website rules I don't think they would be able to. I could be wrong though because all of us interpret things differently.

Would you like or me to opt out or are there specific questions with which I could assist?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Dwayne,I don't want you to provide arguments or documents. Can you answer me this question though,. Can I make an appeal on the "de nevo" standard, i.e. that the way the law is being used is unconstitutional and biased?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 10 months ago.

That's not what de novo means but you can make an argument that the law is unconstitutional and biased either on its face or in how it is being applied. Either of those are valid reasons for an appeal and, if the court agrees, for a reversal.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Ah Hah! So I can make an argument that the law is unconstitutional on the grounds of how it is being applied. Thank you for that information. But If that is not called a "de nevo argument" - what would I call it or what is it called?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 10 months ago.

De novo means "start from the beginning" and essentially it is where you appeal a case from one court to the next and they do't consider what the other court did and you get a whole new trial. It never works like that in a real appeal, just when you do something like appeal a ticket from one trial court to a slightly higher trial court.

The type of appeal this one is will really just be an appeal. There is no specific name (that I can think of) that applies. You are asking the court to "reverse and render" but that isn't really what it is called, that's just the relief you are asking for. I don't think it really has a special name.