What Are the Three Types of Appeals in Georgia?
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If you have grounds for an appeal and decide to file one, you must determine which appellate court has jurisdiction over your case and what type of appeal you seek. Read on as we answer some questions regarding these three types of appeals.
What Is a Direct Appeal?
If a final judgment has been issued against you, you can file a direct appeal to argue that the decision resulted from an error by the lower court.
With a direct appeal, you essentially request the appellate court to:
Concur that errors were made, and
Order the lower court to offer you a “do-over.”
Direct appeals are typically filed “as a matter of right,” the first time, but subsequent appeals are generally discretionary.
Generally, a notice of direct appeal must be submitted to the trial court clerk within thirty days after the issuance of the final ruling.
How Many Appellate Courts Are There in Georgia?
There are two appellate-level courts in the Georgia court system. They are the Georgia Court of Appeals and the Georgia Supreme Court.
The Georgia Court of Appeals serves as Georgia’s intermediate appellate court. It was founded in 1906 and currently has fifteen judges serving in five classes.
The Georgia Court of Appeals has appellate authority to review all criminal and civil cases from all trial courts, such as the magistrate and other state courts. However, the Georgia Court of Appeals does not have jurisdiction over constitutional queries, homicide, and habeas corpus cases.
For cases like this, the Georgia Supreme Court has initial appellate jurisdiction. The Georgia Court of Appeals can also refer law-related questions to the Supreme Court in such cases.
If you file an appeal, the appellate court will evaluate the trial court’s record to determine if a legal error altered the case’s outcome. Usually, the side appealing (the appellant) may seek the appellate court to determine if the following types of legal errors were made:
This error is a mistake in legal or court procedures that causes significant injury to the appellant. Prejudicial errors might include a judge’s mistaken interpretation of the law, improper jury instructions, and mistakes or misbehavior by the attorneys or the jury.
No Substantial Evidence
The appellant may seek the appellate court to evaluate if there was a lack of substantial evidence to support the trial court’s decision. Also, such judgment must have caused substantial injury to the appellant.
An appellate court is not a place for new trials. As such, the presiding judge in a court of appeals will not consider new shreds of evidence. Instead, the court will consider the facts and evidence presented at the lower court to see if any mistakes require correction.
The appeals procedure can last up to one year. However, some appeals may be expedited based on the nature of the lower court’s final judgment.
After all the proceedings have concluded, the appellate court will decide whether to reverse or affirm the lower court’s decision. It could also order a new trial if necessary.