Appellate courts subject the action of the ?rst court to a second look, examining not a raw dispute as it is being presented but, rather, a controversy that has already been packaged and decided in a trial court proceeding.
Whereas decisions of trial court judges are binding only on that judge, decisions of appellate court judges are binding on all judges within the jurisdiction.
One of the few aspects of the U.S. judicial process about which there is a consensus is that every loser in a trial court should have a right to appeal to a higher court.
As reviewing bodies, appellate courts oversee the work of the lower courts, ensuring that the law was cor- rectly interpreted and applied.
Intermediate courts of appeals hear appeals from U.S. district courts and most appeals from state courts of general jurisdiction.
Appellate Court Procedures The details of appellate court procedures vary among the nation’s 51 legal systems.
‘ PartV Appellate Review Steps of Criminal Procedure: Appeal and Postconviction Remedies Appeal Mandatory Discretionary Notice of appeal Appellate court record Briefing the case Oral argument Written opinion Disposition Affirmed Remanded Reversed Law on the Books Legal challenge to a decision by a lower court.
The appellate court may aHirm the lower-court judgment, the court may modify the lowervcornt rul- ing by changing it in part but not totally reversing it, or the court may reverse the previ- ous decision with no further court action required A disposition of reversed and remanded means the decision of the lower court is overturned and the case is sent back to the lower court for fur- ther procedures, which may range from holding a hearing to conducting a new trial.
The Business of the Appellate Courts A diverse array of matters is brought to appellate courts for review.
The business of appellate courts differs in important ways from the cases heard in the trial courts.
In short, appellate court cases are unrepresentative of trial court cases.
If the appellate court reverses and remands the case to the lower court for a new trial, half of the defendants are convicted a second time.
Warren Court decisions expanding habeas corpus relief were steadily cut back by the Burger Court, which luled that if state courts provide a fair hearing, federal courts cannot consider Fourth Amendment search-and-seizure questions in habeas corpus proceedings.
A state court of last resort decision that involves a constitutional challenge is Chapter 13 The Appellate Process 389 reviewable by the U.S. Supreme Court, and, obviously, decisions of the U.S. circuit courts of appeals are reviewable by the U.S. Supreme Court.
‘ Explaining Decision Making in Appellate Courts Today Piitchett’s pioneering work led to a variety of ways to study decision making by appellate courts, but today political scientists generally consider four broad categories of explanations in trying to understzuid judicial behavior: legal, attitudinal, institutional, and strategic.
In appellate courts, decisions are made by a group rather than by an individual, As members of collegial bodies, appellate court judges interact to produce a group product.
Institutional Differences Among State Supreme Courts
Although one may describe the typical federal court, there is no typical state supreme court.
The state’s highest court ?nds itself relegated to dealing with a succession of relatively minor disputes, devoting its energies to error correction rather than to more time-consuming efforts to shape state law, By contrast, in the states that have created intermediate courts of appeals, the lower appellate courts are primarily concerned with error correction.
1 Institutional Differences Among Courts of Appeals Unlike the Supreme Court, where there are just nine justices who always meet in the same location, the 13 circuit courts of appeals are scattered across the country and the jrrstices serve on rotating three-judge panels.
In a wide-ranging analysis of dissenting behavior on the U.S. courts of appeals, Hettinger, Lindquist, and Martinek compare the attitudinal and strategic models as to how well they help us explain dissenting behavior by appeals court judges From the pioneering work of Pritchett forward, dissents have been a major focus of appellate court studies, because they are unique to appellate judicial bodies.
Benesh ?nds support for the legal model, with clear evidence that precedent is important in appellate court decision making, but also finds evidence for the attitudinal and strategic mod- els In the end, the principal-agent theory, though not perfect, works to help understand appellate court judges as acting on attitudes, as cognizant of the situation around them, and as constrained by the law as it has been articulated by the U.S. Supreme Court.