Roanoke Appeals Attorney
Whenever a lawsuit is decided in court, one side is almost always disappointed with the outcome. This is where the appeals process comes into play. In most litigation, the losing party is generally entitled to at least one appeal before a higher court.
An appeal, however, is not simply a replay of the original trial. The appeals process involves its own set of special rules and requirements. That is why it is important to work with a qualified Roanoke appeals attorney throughout the process. At MichieHamlett, our attorneys assist clients with a wide range of federal and Virginia state appeals.
How Do Appeals Work in Virginia?
Virginia recently expanded the jurisdiction of its intermediate appellate court, the Court of Appeals, so that it now hears most criminal and civil appeals “by right.” This means that the aggrieved party in the trial court has the right to appeal without seeking permission first. There are still a few types of cases where a direct appeal is taken by the Supreme Court of Virginia, but for most litigants, the Court of Appeals is where their appeal will be heard. In the federal court system, direct appeals from a district court are taken by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond.
As previously noted, the purpose of an appeal is not to re-try the case. The Court of Appeals (or Fourth Circuit) will not hear additional evidence beyond what was introduced at trial. Rather, the role of an appeals court is to review the conduct of the trial–and the trial judge–for legal errors that may have impacted a party’s constitutional or legal rights. Put a different weight, the appeals court will not re-weigh the facts but it will make sure the lower court correctly applied the law to those facts.
If either party is ultimately dissatisfied with the decision of the Virginia Court of Appeals or the Fourth Circuit, they may seek further review with the Supreme Court of Virginia or the Supreme Court of the United States, respectively. But in most cases, those appeals are considered discretionary, which means it is necessary to ask the higher court for permission to appeal. Only a small number of appeals are granted on discretionary review each year, and those usually involve cases raising an important question of law or one where the lower courts have reached different conclusions.
Contact MichieHamlett Attorneys at Law Today
Appeals are one area of law where it pays to work with an experienced attorney. By its very nature, the appellate process requires a substantial amount of legal research and writing, as the purpose is to persuade a body of appellate judges with respect to a correct interpretation of the law. This is not something that a litigant can or should attempt on their own.
So if you are involved in litigation and things have not gone the way you hoped, it is in your best interest to speak with a Roanoke appeals attorney as soon as possible. Contact MichieHamlett today to schedule a consultation.