Winning an Appeal

The United States Courts of Appeals, are also referred to as Circuit Courts, are the first step in any case that is being appealed. A case that is appealed is a case where the final verdict is being challenged by either the plaintiff or the defendant of the original case. The individual who file for an appeal is the appellant and the opposing party is the appellee. The Circuit Court of Appeals decides whether they will hear the case, refuse to hear the case, or return it to the lower Court or District Court to be reheard or for retrial. The appellate Court can throw out all or any part of a verdict by a lower court.

Appeals Case Statistics

According to the U.S. Court of Appeals judicial case load profile, in 2007 there were 58,410 new Appeals filled in the U.S. added to the overflow cases of previous years, the total was 62,846 cases waiting to be heard. Out of those 31,717 were terminated on merits alone and 28, 755 were terminated on procedural applications, meaning roughly 96% of appeals cases were not fully heard.

Courts of Appeal

In the U.S. there are thirteen Circuit Courts of Appeals including eleven regional Circuit Courts, the Circuit Court of Washington D.C., and the Federal Circuit Court. They represent geographical areas of the U.S. as follows:

  • The Federal Circuit Court in Washington D.C serves the Federal Government
  • The D.C. Circuit Court in Washington D.C. serves the District of Columbia
  • The 1st Circuit Court in Boston serves Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Puerto Rico
  • The 2nd Circuit Court in New York serves New York, Connecticut, and Vermont
  • The 3rd Circuit Court in Philadelphia serves Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and the U.S. Virgin Islands
  • The 4th Circuit Court in Richmond serves Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia
  • The 5th Circuit Court in New Orleans serves Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas
  • The 6th Circuit Court in Cincinnati serves Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, and Tennessee
  • The 7th Circuit Court in Chicago serves Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin
  • The 8th Circuit Court in St. Louis serves Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota
  • The 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco serves California, Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands
  • The 10th Circuit Court in Denver serves Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming
  • The 11th Circuit Court in Atlanta serves Georgia, Alabama, and Florida

There are also independent Courts of appeal like the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, but such Courts are limited to cases within their specific jurisdictions or designations. The Federal Circuit of Appeals has nationwide jurisdiction over certain cases of appeal according to the subject matter, specialized trial Courts, U.S. Court of International Trade, U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and Appeals from District Courts in certain matters.

Appellate Courts are very tolerant of minor procedural mistakes when it comes to the preparation of appellate record and briefs as long as they do not interfere with the Court's ability to render a justifiable verdict or hinder judgment on the merits of a particular case.

If you are interested in appealing your case, talk to a lawyer who can help.