Common Florida Appellate Lawyer Terminology To Know: Appeals Attorneys in Florida

Appellate Lawyers in Florida

Are you planning to file an appeal shortly? Brownstone Law can appeal any criminal appeal.  You’ve probably already noticed that the appellate process isn’t like going to trial. Moreover, there’s lots of legal terminology one must understand. It can be challenging to make sense of the appeal process if you don’t understand how things work. This guide introduces some of the most important terms used in appellate courts; use it to get a clearer picture of the entire process.

  • Appellate Court

Appellate courts review the decisions of trial courts. Here in Florida, there is the Florida Supreme Court and five other district courts of appeal. An appellant will file an appeal in one of the courts of appeal. The Supreme Court, as its name implies, is the highest court, and therefore it only handles certain types of appeals.

Appellant & Appellee

The appellant is the individual who is appealing the trial court’s ruling. The appellee is the party who’s responding to the appeal. The appellee defends the trial court’s decision and is against the appeal.

Appellate Brief 

There are three major filings and just one hearing in an appeal. No new evidence is permitted in the appellate court. Here are the major steps:

  • The appellant hires appeal lawyers in Florida to file an initial brief. This brief argues against the trial court’s decision and states why it should be overturned. The initial brief contains an argument section and a statement of the case’s facts.
  • Next, the appellee files a brief arguing why the trial’s court decision should be upheld.
  • The final step is where the appellant’s criminal appeals attorney rebuts the appellee’s brief with a short reply.

The appellate court considers only these three briefs, the hearing transcripts, and the appeal record while making the decision. There are no new hearings and no new evidence is introduced.

Appellate Judicial Clerk

The judicial clerk is an attorney who works for the appellate judge. In Florida, each appellate judge has two clerks. These attorneys are also referred to as staff attorneys.

Appellate Judge

The appellate judge presides over the appellate court in Florida and considers the briefs submitted by the appellant and appellee. They do not consider any evidence beyond what was presented in the trial court.

Appellate Panel

Here in Florida, each court of appeals has around a dozen judges. All appeals are assigned to a panel made up of three judges, wherein one judge is the lead judge. The appeal goes to the lead judge’s office. The judge’s appellate judicial clerk reads the briefs, researches the issues, and presents a legal memorandum to the judge. Depending on the lead judge’s preferences, the clerk might suggest whether the appeal should be accepted or not. It is important to hire an appellate lawyer in Florida for your case. All three judges on the panel receive the legal memorandum, and they discuss the case before making a ruling.

Appellate Outcome

Every appeal has two likely outcomes: reversal or affirmance. If it results in affirmance, it means the appellate court agrees with the trial court’s decision and no errors were made during the trial. The vast majority of appeals result in affirmance. If the appellate court finds that the trial court has erred in its ruling, then the appellate court can overturn the trial court’s decision. This is known as a reversal.

Above is fundamental terminology that can help you understand the appeal process better. If you’re looking to file an appeal in Florida, reach out to our team of expert criminal appeals lawyers. They can provide you with expert guidance so you know how to handle the appeals process.

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