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Moulton & Long PLLC

Attorneys At Law

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After a decision is rendered in a civil or criminal law trial by a trial

judge or jury, the party who loses has the right to have the decision

reviewed by a higher court. Appellate Law (also known as appeals

process or appellate procedure) consists of the rules and practices

by which higher courts review lower court judgments. Appellate law

is different than other forms of  litigation in the respect that there is

no discovery, and the appellate record is limited to what was already

presented to the trial court. An appeal is presented to a multi-judge

appellate panel and is decided almost entirely on the written briefs,

including those from amicus curiae (Friend of the Court) groups. 

Appellate law deals mainly with what judgments are appealable, how appeals are brought before the court, what will be required for a reversal of the lower court (e.g., a showing of "abuse of discretion," "clear error," etc.), and what procedures each party must follow. Appellate law also involves such issues as posting and challenging appellate bonds, writs of habeas corpus (Habeas Corpus Act), writs of execution, writs of prohibition, writs of mandamus, writs of certiorari, and other forms of discretionary relief, pursuit of further relief on remand, post-verdict motions, and other issues. 

There are a lot of decisions made during the course of the trial. For example, if the judge denies a motion to dismiss, the proceedings will continue and the order denying the motion is considered an interim (interlocutory) order. Because these are not final judgments, they are not appealable. The final decision (also known as a final disposition, final judgment, or final order) concludes the case as far as that court is concerned. Appealable judgments are commonly limited to the lower court's final decision. But, there are some exceptions including: instances of plain or fundamental error by the trial court, questions of subject-matter jurisdiction of the trial court, or constitutional questions. 

An appeal is the process by which the higher court reviews the decision of the lower trial court. The right to appeal an adverse legal decision is granted by the United States Constitution and the Kentucky Constitution. The appeals system provides a check on the power of judges and juries, granting the higher court the authority to overturn what it considers erroneous or unconstitutional
judgments or judgments it otherwise deems inappropriate. Anyone who has had an adverse court decision made against him or her is the party with the right to appeal. This applies to government agencies, corporations and other business entities, as well. The appealing party is called the appellant. The opposing party that agrees with the outcome of the trial and argues during the appeal that the judge's or jury's decision should be left alone is the appellee.