What is an Appeal?

Mistakes happen during the pre-trial and trial process. The judge may make an erroneous ruling or the prosecutor may act improperly. You suffer the consequences of these mistakes. Luckily, there is a remedy to pursue. Anybody may appeal the outcome of his/her case to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. However, legal representation is strongly advised, as the Minnesota legislature enacted nearly 100 pages of rules that apply to all appeals. Failing to follow any rule may result in an immediate dismissal.

  • Appealing to the Minnesota Court of Appeals

    In order to file an appeal, the appealing party (a.k.a.: appellant) must:
    1. File a notice of appeal with the clerk of appellate courts;
    2. Serve each adverse party (aka: respondent) with said notice of appeal;
    3. Serve the trial court where the case was originally decided with said notice of appeal;
    4. File proof of service with the clerk of appellate courts showing service of the adverse party and trial court;
    5. File a copy of the judgment or order you are appealing with the clerk of appellate courts;
    6. File a statement of the case with the clerk of appellate courts; and
    7. Pay a $550 filing fee.

  • How To Argue an Appeal

    1. After filing all of the appropriate documents with the clerk of appellate courts, the adverse party, and the trial court, the appellant may file a brief with the Minnesota Court of Appeals. This brief is the basis of your appeal. The brief should contain all of your arguments and should contain citations to the trial court transcript, orders, and communications. The respondent then has thirty (30) days to file a response brief.

    2. After each party submits a brief, the Minnesota Court of Appeals schedules oral arguments. Only attorneys may appear and argue before the court of appeals. The court of appeals has sixty (60) days after oral arguments to issue its opinion.

    3. The court of appeals has three options.

    First, it may affirm the trial court’s ruling or judgment. This means the appellant loses.

    Second, the court of appeals may reverse the trial court’s ruling or judgment. This means the appellant wins.

    Third, the court of appeals may remand the case back to the trial court. This means the parties must go back to the trial court and re-litigate the issue(s) appealed.

  • Appealing to the Minnesota Supreme Court

    1. If the appellant or respondent is dissatisfied with the Minnesota Court of Appeals’ decision, then that party may petition the Minnesota Supreme Court for review of the case. An appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court is discretionary. This means a party is not entitled to a review by the Minnesota Supreme Court.

    2.Instead, the supreme court chooses the cases it reviews. When supreme court agrees to review an appeal, it issues a writ of certiorari. This means the parties must file more briefs and argue the appeal before the Minnesota Supreme Court. The same rules apply to appeals in the supreme court as the court of appeals.

  • Appealing to the United States Supreme Court

    1. If the appellant or respondent is dissatisfied with the Minnesota Supreme Court’s decision, then that party may petition the United States Supreme Court for review of the case. Again, an appeal to the United States Supreme Court is discretionary.

    2. It is extremely rare for the United States Supreme Court to grant a writ of certiorari. In fact, the United States Supreme Court receives over 10,000 petitions for review, and it grants less than 100 of them.

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