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Appellate Questions

The word ‘appellate’ is an adjective for the word ‘appeal’ in the context of law. Appellate refers to something that can be legally appealed to in a higher court. These higher courts -- commonly known as court of appeals or appellate court in the United States -- review cases decided by lower or trial courts. When a losing party is dissatisfied with a decision made by a trial court, they may usually file an appeal to appellate court for reconsidering the lower court’s decision. Many times when a person is facing a court appearance of any kind, legal questions could arise. Below are frequent asked questions about the appellate process that have been answered by the Experts.

Are transcripts considered evidence in the court of law? Can spoliation of evidence be applied to appellate cases?

Transcripts are not evidence. Evidence consists of objects, documents and so on that are presented in court by or through witnesses at trials, depositions, hearings and so forth. Transcripts are only records of legal proceedings prepared by court reporters. However, until a particular case has finally reached its conclusion, evidence should be preserved and held in court. A case would usually reach its conclusion if it has been appealed, until the appellate courts have rendered a decision or if the time for filing an appeal has passed, after a trial. However, in some jurisdictions spoliation of evidence could represent a Tort action.

Is it usual that an appellate judge can demand a plaintiff to attend hearing? Does a plaintiff have to be present at an appellate hearing?

An appellate judge could order a plaintiff to attend hearing in a court. It is unlikely a plaintiff would be present at an appellate hearing. However, such cases do happen. The plaintiff has the right to be present at an appellate hearing if they want to go and watch. However, a plaintiff has nothing to do at a hearing except for observing.

I want to fire my attorney. Can I fire him if the appellate hearing is today? Will it be too late to fire him?

In a case like this, you could fire your attorney if you want. However, if the hearing is today, it is most likely that the court would not release him from the case.

I want to file for further appeal to the Federal Level since I have entirely used up the Appellate Process in Massachusetts. Where do I file an appeal?

In a situation like this, if you want to make a direct appeal from a state court decision on grounds for securing federal review, you would visit http://www.mad.uscourts.gov/ for seeking legal redress. However, if you want to appeal a decision from a federal court, you could visit http://www.ca1.uscourts.gov/ for more information.

How is an appellate lawyer different from a trial lawyer?

An appellate lawyer is different from a trial lawyer. There are particular areas in law that lawyers choose to specialize in. An appellate lawyer reviews cases that are filed in court on appeal. Their work is to put together legitimate arguments for complex legal cases for the appeals court. Appellate lawyers are usually very good at research. However, a trial lawyer deals with cases that are involved in initial civil litigation in front of a judge or jury. They are good at compiling facts of a case to establish grounds for a legal argument.

In Illinois is there a way to seal an appellate court case to safe guard a person’s private details of the case if the information could put a person’s life at risk?

A case like this is unlikely to happen on appeal. However, in this situation, a person would have to file a motion to seal the record at Illinois Appellate court. She/he should give reason to the court for sealing the record that her/his life would be in danger, if the record is not sealed.

The specific appellate procedures and the right to file an appeal can greatly vary from country to country and even from state to state depending on the type of case and the court’s rules and regulations, where the case was filed. If you need clarification about your specific situation with respect to appellate laws or the appellate process, you may ask a legal expert to evaluate your case details and provide legal insights.
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