When you are unhappy with the decision you received in a lower court, you may file what’s called an appeal. Appeals may be taken from District Court to Circuit Court, from Circuit Court to the Kentucky Court of Appeals, and in very limited circumstances, directly from Circuit Court to the Kentucky Supreme Court.
Q: What can you appeal?
A: An aggrieved party may appeal judicial errors. The decisions of lower court judges are reviewed by higher courts for an abuse of discretion. In other words, was the decision of the lower court judge arbitrary, unreasonable, unfair, or unsupported by sound legal principles? Decisions will not be reversed unless they are “clearly erroneous.” Did the judge fail to admit evidence or did he or she admit evidence when it should have been excluded? Did the judge give instructions to the jury supported by the facts? Did the judge misinterpret law and fail to apply the law correctly to the facts of the case which would have yielded a different result? What can’t be appealed are facts of a given case. The purpose of an appeal is not to “re-try” facts. Great deference is given to lower courts with respect to facts, because in our legal system lower courts are the trier of facts.
Q: What is the appeal process?
When appealing the decision of a Circuit Court judge, the Appellant has thirty (30) days from the entry date of the final judgment in which to file a Notice of Appeal in the circuit court record. After a Notice of Appeal is filed, video recordings, pleadings, documents and other evidence in the record must be designated so the circuit court clerk knows what to send to the Kentucky Court of Appeals for review. After the circuit court clerk designates the record, the Appellant has sixty (60) days in which to file a brief. After the Appellant’s brief is filed the Appeal is perfected. The Appellant’s brief can be no longer than twenty-five (25) pages. The Appellee has sixty (60) days from the date the Appellant’s brief is filed in which to file a brief and like the Appellant’s brief, can be no longer than twenty (25) pages. Next, the Appellant has fifteen (15) days from that date in which to file a reply brief. Once the reply brief has been filed the Clerk of the Court of Appeals will submit the case to fourteen duly elected (14) Court of Appeal judges for them to render a decision. There is no time limit prescribed for the justices to render a decision. Most appeals take anywhere from 1-2 years.
Q: How can I start an appeal?
I have handled many appeals over the years and have the knowledge, experience and writing skills necessary to get you the result you want. I would be happy to undertake representation of you in appeal. As always, initial consultations are free. Call me today at (859) 338-6017 if you would like to discuss your case and filing an appeal.