Navigating appeals can be complex, and even trial attorneys can make mistakes navigating the process. That’s why you should choose the experienced attorneys at Hawgood Hawgood & Moran, LLP for your appeal. We understand the ins and outs of appellate jurisdiction because we have handled dozens of appeals of all types and levels of complexity. We're ready to argue appeals in California, the District of Columbia, New York, Maryland, Virginia, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Call us at (301) 439-0394.
Starting an Appeal
An appeal is started by filing a “Notice of Appeal” with the trial court. Generally, this is done at the close of a case when the losing party is dissatisfied with their judgment. The filing of a notice of appeal is an important part of the appeal because strict time lines govern when an appeal must be started. The general rule is 30 days, but if you’re even a day late you will lose your appeal, so you should choose the experienced attorneys at Hawgood Hawgood & Moran for your appeal to protect your rights.
After the notice of appeal is filed, the appeals court will set a schedule for the parties to file briefs with the court. Briefs are special legal documents that explain to the appeals court what the trial court did wrong (if you lost) or right (if you won). There is no part of an appeal more important than your side’s opening brief regardless of whether you won below or lost. Experienced appellate counsel at Hawgood Hawgood & Moran can review your trial court record and write a brief for the appeals court that gets results you need.
After both sides of the appeal file their briefs, and after the Appellant (losing party at trial) files an optional reply brief, the appeals court will set oral arguments. In Maryland, for example, oral arguments at the Court of Special Appeals are 20 minutes per side. Oral argument is an opportunity for the judges on your appeals panel to ask questions. It is crucial that you hire an experienced attorney to navigate this process. The attorneys at Hawgood Hawgood & Moran have experience arguing cases all over the country.
The appeals court will issue a written opinion sometime after oral arguments, typically between 4 to 6 months. The decision will describe if the appellant wins or loses and why. For most people this is the last stop in a case.
Writ of Certiorari
While most cases end after one appeal, there is generally at least one more appeal left to a state supreme court, or the United States Supreme Court. These high courts, or courts of last resort, only hear cases on a discretionary basis. This means they choose their cases.
To get a court of last resort to hear your case, you need to file a petition for a writ of certiorari. A petition for a writ of certiorari tells the high court not just what the lower courts got wrong, but why your case is important as a matter of policy for the public as a whole. Writs such as these are issued very rarely, so it is extremely important to have attorneys who have the skill, and dedication in drafting your petition. The attorneys at Hawgood Hawgood & Moran have successfully petitioned the Maryland Court of Appeals for such a writ.
Moran, LLP attorney, the confusion will clear up before you know it.