Unhappy with a verdict or ruling from a Florida trial court? Perhaps, you are satisfied with the decision, but another party has filed an appeal? Whether the decision was made by a judge or a jury, any party to a case can appeal to a higher court. This applies to final judgments of divorce, personal injury judgments, criminal convictions and any other trial court decision. Hiring an appellate attorney is not a decision to take lightly, as an appeal requires a great deal of research, strategy and case development. A significant amount of time will be invested to present your case to the appellate court for review. There is much at stake. Don’t let just any attorney create a case for you. Choose the very best with Matthew and Jones, LLP.
An appeal is not an opportunity to retry your case before a new judge. Appellate courts review the decisions of trial courts with a specific legal standard, and they do not admit new evidence. Rather, the appellate court will review the trial court’s decision based upon the evidence that was presented at trial to determine if the decision was legally and factually supported. Appellate courts defer a great deal of discretion to trial courts with regard to factual determinations, but review legal standards with no deference to the trial courts. When deciding whether to file an appeal, and when identifying arguments to present to the appellate court, you will need an attorney who has experience analyzing appellate issues and who can guide you through the appellate process.
An appeal is initiated by the filing of a notice of appeal in the trial court. Typically, the deadline for filing a notice of appeal is 30 days from the date of the final judgment. At this point, the appellate attorney will begin compiling and designating an appellate record. The appellate record must be sufficient to identify the evidence offered at trial and the decisions reached by the trial court. Once the appellate record is complete, attorneys prepare legal briefs and submit them to the appellate court for consideration. The vast majority of appeals are resolved completely through the briefs. Only a minority of cases involve oral argument before the appellate court. Therefore, effective research and writing is often the determining factor of the outcome of the appeal.
The goal, if you are the appellant, is to persuade the appellate court that the trial court misapplied the law or that the trial court could not have reached the conclusion it reached without abusing its discretion to interpret the facts. If you are an appellee, and seeking to support the ruling in the trial court, the process is the same but the goal is to demonstrate that the trial court’s conclusions were supported by the law and the facts.
Matthews & Jones, LLP has a team of attorneys who collaborate to research and develop effective appellate arguments. In all, Matthews & Jones attorneys have over a century of legal experience that can be utilized for your benefit, and we are licensed to practice law in Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.
If you need assistance prosecuting or defending your rights in an appeal, we would be happy to meet with you and discuss your options. We represent clients throughout the Northwest Florida region. Contact us today at (850) 837-3662 or click HERE.
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