Am I Entitled To An Appeal?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015 | 10:07 pm

In my previous two articles I discussed the fundamental nature of an appeal and how the process works. This time I will discuss other aspects of the appellate process.

If you file a timely notice of appeal you have a right to appeal. The appellate court has the obligation to consider each and every timely filed appeal and to render a written opinion. But what if the appellate court sides with the trial court and does not correct the error — is that the end of the process?

Once an unfavorable decision is entered by the appellate court and you have exhausted your motions before that court, you have the option to ask the State Supreme Court to consider the case. Unlike the appellate court, there is no right to appeal to the State Supreme Court. To have the State Supreme Court consider an appellate court’s decision, it must be petitioned. If the state Supreme Court grants the petition then they will hear the matter and issue a written opinion.

The chances of the State Supreme Court granting a petition to hear a case is extremely small. This is because their purpose is not to review every individual appellate court decision but rather to act as an overseer of the appellate court and to resolve many social issues in the state. California has six appellate districts. Each of these districts hear hundreds of appeals annually creating the possibility that the same legal issue may be decided differently in different districts. It falls to the State Supreme Court to resolve these differences so that the law is uniform throughout the state. Another important function of the State Supreme Court is to interpret the State Constitution setting social policy such as the recognition of same sex marriages.

The appellate system is designed to assure to the greatest extent possible the fair and uniform application of the laws in the State of California.

Law Offices of Kearney Baker, 2 North Lake Avenue, Suite 1000, Pasadena, (626) 844-7300 / (866) 859-1507 (Toll Free) or visit

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