Appeals and Writs in Baton Rouge, LA
Important Note: Deadlines for filing appeals and writs are different depending on the actions and courts, and they tend to be short. If you’ve received a ruling you want to challenge, contact an appellate attorney now!
If you’ve already been to court and have lost your case, you might have concerns about trusting an appellate attorney to represent you fairly. As an experienced attorney practicing criminal defense, family, and juvenile law, Joseph K. Scott III, Attorney at Law will help you understand every step of the appeals process.
What’s an Appeal, and Why Would I Want One?
Courts are where people go to resolve their differences, and when someone wins, another other person loses. When the defense lawyer and the prosecution disagree about what evidence should be heard in a criminal case, the trial court rules on the evidence, and one side or the other is disappointed or feels improperly treated.
In those situations, the party who feels unfairly treated by the court can take an appeal—an application to a higher court to have the decision reviewed. Even some pretrial motions can be reviewed, a process known as “taking a writ.” When it’s the difference between a confession going before the jury or being excluded, a writ can be very important.
Appeals can always be taken at the end of a case, but can’t be taken before or in the middle of trial—that’s where writs come in. Decisions that will have a major impact on the overall outcome of a case are reviewed by writ of certiorari, whether it’s from City Court to District Court or District Court to the Court of Appeal. Not every pretrial motion will be reviewed—the Court of Appeal has to review an application for an appeal at the end of the case, but they don’t have to review every pretrial motion that comes in on a writ application.
Appellate procedure and brief writing is a different kind of practice from motions work in the trial court. Appellate Courts primarily review the law. They don’t take live testimony, so the review is limited to what was already done in the trial court. Appellate attorneys are familiar with the quirks of appellate procedure and have honed their skills in picking out the critical elements from a cold transcript, so the Courts of Appeal can see where the trial judge went wrong. Likewise, some very fine trial attorneys prefer not to handle appeals and writs, simply as a matter of personal preference.
Appeals and writs are how you get a higher court to review the decision of a lower court. The decisions of courts of limited jurisdiction, such as town and city courts, are generally reviewed by the local District Court, while District Court, Family Court, and Juvenile Courts are reviewed by the five regional Courts of Appeal throughout the state. Decisions by the Courts of Appeal can be appealed to the Louisiana Supreme Court.
Federal Courts follow a similar pattern to the state system, with the local District Courts (the Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts of Louisiana) being appealed to the Fifth Circuit (U.S.) Court of Appeals in New Orleans. The U.S. Fifth Circuit can be appealed to the United States Supreme Court.
Reliable Appellate Attorney in Baton Rouge, LA
Joseph K. Scott, III is admitted to all of the Louisiana Courts of Appeal and the U.S. Fifth Circuit (and has made special applications to the United States Supreme Court), and he is experienced in State and Federal appeals and writs. As an experienced appellate attorney, he’s familiar with the various procedures of the appellate process and can give you a careful analysis of your issue and its merit at the appellate level. As a seasoned trial attorney, Joseph K. Scott, III can review the record of your proceeding with an eye towards legal error, evidentiary problems, and procedural issues that may give you grounds to reverse or modify an adverse ruling. The deadlines are short, so call (225) 478-1128 today!