A question that usually comes up from clients is, “I want an appeal, what do I do?” Here is the scenario: You went to court and things didn’t go the way you planned; now you want to appeal the judgment. One of the most important issues you can do when considering an appeal in any case is to actually identify exactly what you want to appeal. For example, you cannot appeal a jury’s guilty verdict. You can appeal the Judge’s admission of evidence during the trial, arguments made by the prosecutor during closing arguments or other legal issues during the trial, which may have led to the verdict.
Appeals are governed by the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure. A notice of appeal must be filed with the clerk of the court where the order is sought to be reviewed was issued. One very important aspect to an appeal is filing for it in a timely manner. According to Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure rule 9.020(h), a notice of appeal must be filed within thirty (30) days from the date the order that is being appealed was filed. This simply to put the parties on notice that an appeal is being filed, while the State Attorney’s Office prosecutes crimes at the trial level, the Attorney General’s Office handles appellate matters on behalf of the State of Florida.
Once your appeal is filed with the clerk, the appellate process begins. You will receive a schedule and the appellant (person filing the appeal) will file an appellate brief, the appellee (person wishing to uphold the lower court’s decision) will then file an answer. The appellant will then file another brief called the response brief. In front of a panel of 3 judges, oral arguments will take place. Oral arguments last 15 minutes and give the parties an opportunity to argue their points to the judges. The parties will argue legal arguments, not facts.
For further information, you can visit the official page for the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedures by clicking the link.