The Appeal Process (from California Superior Court)

The California State Court Appellate Process:

  1. Notice of Appeal.  An appeal starts with the filing of a notice of appeal.  Usually this notice must be filed within 60 days of the entry of judgment being appealed.
  2. Designating the Record.  The petitioner (the party bringing the appeal) requests that the Superior Court prepares the trial transcript and clerk transcript for appeal. 
  3. Review of the Record.  The petitioner’s attorney will read the record looking for appealable errors by the trial court.
  4. Opening Brief.  The petitioner’s attorney will draft and file an opening brief laying out the facts established at trial and arguing the legal basis to vacate the judgment based on trial errors.
  5. Respondent’s Brief.  The respondent’s attorney (party defending the appeal) will draft and file a brief stating why the judgment should not be vacated.
  6. Reply Brief.  The petitioner’s attorney may draft and file a reply addressing any issues raised in the respondent’s brief.
  7. Oral Argument.  Counsel for both parties appear, in person, before the appellate court to argue for their respective positions.
  8. Opinion.  The appellate court will decide whether to affirm or reverse the trial court decision.  The decision comes in the form of a written opinion.
  9. Supreme Court.  The party who loses the appeal may choose to petition the Supreme Court to hear the matter.  The Supreme Court is not required to (and usually does not decide to) hear the matter.
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