What Is A Discretionary Appeal

What Is a Discretionary Appeal?

Discretionary appeals refer to a type of appeal in which an appellate court has the power to determine whether an appeal will be reviewed by the court. These appeals offer appellate courts, which have very busy schedules, an option to decide which issues are heard. As a result of discretionary appeals, appellate courts are able to determine important issues involved with cases with the lowest costs possible. The opposite of discretionary reviews are mandatory reviews in which appellate courts are required to consider all appeals. In a large number of cases, discretionary appeals are only available to the state’s supreme court, while appeals courts are bound to hear all appeals.

The Advantages and Disadvantages to Discretionary Appeal

The advantage to discretionary reviews is that they enable appellate courts to focus their limited resources on creating a consistent body of law and make sure that important laws are applied in a consistent fashion. Another advantage is that discretionary appeals allow parties to concentrate their resources on persuading lower courts to get matters right the first time.

The primary disadvantage to discretionary appeals is that they reduce the ability of individuals to obtain reviews of incorrect decisions of lower courts. Another negative side to allowing discretionary appeals at appellate levels is that they encourage parties to exploit every technical error that might occur. In contrast to discretionary appeals are “as of right” appeals, which are guaranteed by either an underlying constitutional right or legal principal. “As of right” appeals require a court to listen to a person’s appeal.

How Appeals Works

An appellate court will examine the record of evidence that was presented in trial court in addition to the law applied by the trial court to make a determination about whether the decision in question was lawful. In many cases, appellate courts are deferential to lower court’s findings of fact unless the results are clearly erroneous. If an appellate court finds that there was no defect in a ruling, the court will affirm a judgment. If an appellate court does find any defect in the lower court’s decision, the appellate court might modify the ruling of the lower court. In other situations, the appellate court might send the case back to the lower court for further proceedings so that the defect can be remedied. In some other cases, an appellate court will review a lower court decisions “de novo” or completely, which examines the lower court’s findings of fact. Appellate courts ultimately have several options. The court can affirm a decision or agree with a decision, reverse a lower court’s decision, or send back a case to a lower court. Appellate courts also have the option to review some findings but to reverse or remand others.

Obtain the Assistance of a Seasoned Appellate Attorney

The appeal process involves a complex areas of laws. If you have questions about the discretionary appeal process, do not hesitate to contact an experienced lawyer at Federal Criminal Law Center who can help navigate the appellate process.