Just because a judge has said a case is over doesn’t mean it really is. As much as we want to think that judges are experts on the law and always get it right, that’s simply not the case. In reality, judges are human beings elected to office by voters who know little or nothing about the law, and they are as fallible as everyone else. Plus, the law is not timeless; statutes are amended and legal precedents are made and overturned every day, creating gray areas over which reasonable people can disagree. All of this means, simply, that judges make mistakes: they dismiss cases that should not be dismissed, make erroneous rulings, and enter judgments that should not be entered. For this reason, our courts have developed a process under which parties can appeal the decision of a trial judge to a higher court.
An appeal is not as simple as a “do over”, and there are strict requirements for when, how, and why you can appeal a decision. Most appeals must be filed within three or four weeks of the decision (and sometimes sooner!). And, there is an important distinction between a case in a trial court and an appeal: the trial court weighs evidence and judges facts, while the appeals court deals almost exclusively with questions of law. This means that it is absolutely essential to be represented by an attorney in the appellate courts, regardless of whether you or the other side is appealing your case.
At Shelton Legal Services, we represent clients in both criminal and civil appeals, and we get results. More importantly, we do so while looking out for your bottom line; while some firms tell every potential client that his/her case is great (at least, until the retainer is paid), we recognize that not every decision can (or should) be appealed, and we'll give you an honest assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your appeal up-front. In this way, we help you pick your battles wisely, saving you time, money, and frustration.
If you have a case that you think should be reviewed—or if the other side has filed an appeal—contact us. We'll be happy to make sure you’ve got someone on your side.