Civil & Family Appeals

If the trial court ruled in your favor and the opposing party has filed an appeal, you need a knowledgeable attorney to defend your judgment before the appellate court.  Not only are you facing the risk of reversal of the favorable trial court judgment, but if the opposing party prevails on appeal, you may have to pay the opposing party’s costs and attorney fees.  

If a ruling or verdict was entered against you by the trial court, the potential gain from a successful appeal can be tremendous.  However, an appeal can be costly and time consuming.  If you’re considering an appeal, it’s important that you have an attorney who can accurately assess the likelihood of success and advise you of the potential risks and benefits of pursuing appellate relief.  

Whether you’re defending an appeal by an opposing party or you want to appeal an adverse judgment, you need an attorney who understands the appellate process.  If you’re unhappy with the trial court’s final judgment or final order in a civil case, you have a right to appeal within a set period of time after the order or judgment.  This is known as an “appeal of right” and it is available in all civil cases, including those involving child custody determinations or the termination of parental rights.  Even when the designated time period has elapsed, you can file a motion with the appellate court requesting permission, or “leave,” to file an appeal.  In some cases, you may be able to appeal a judge’s ruling even before a final judgment if waiting for the judgment will cause you substantial harm (this is known as an “interlocutory appeal”).

Appeals are very different from trials.  Appellate courts do not take testimony or consider any new evidence.  Instead, appellate courts review the trial court record for errors.  The variety of potential errors is broad and includes:  erroneous factual findings, erroneous legal analysis, errors in the jury instructions, and errors in the admission or exclusion of evidence.  But not all errors are created equal; the appellate court will evaluate alleged errors differently depending on a number of factors, including:  the judgment or order being challenged, the type of error being asserted, the extent of the error, and whether the error was “preserved” at trial (i.e., raised by the trial attorney).  In addition, appellate courts only review those issues that are presented to them on appeal.  If your attorney fails to properly present and support an issue on appeal, you may be deemed to have waived that issue, regardless of its merit.

If you’re considering filing an appeal or are defending an appeal of a judgment in your favor, call us now.  We’ll review your case and advise you about the potential risks and benefits that you’re likely to encounter.

Criminal Appeals

If you’ve been convicted of a crime and want to challenge your conviction or sentence through an appeal, it’s crucial that your attorney knows how the appellate process works.  In Michigan, criminal defendants have a right to appeal jury or bench trial convictions within a set period of time after sentencing.  This is known as an “appeal of right.”  Even when an appeal of right is not available, you can file a motion asking the appellate court for permission to appeal (also known as “leave to appeal”).  On appeal, you can challenge the conviction itself, the sentence imposed by the trial court, or both.  

It’s important to understand that an appeal is not a new trial.  Experienced appellate attorneys understand that often, the most persuasive arguments at trial stand little to no chance of success on appeal.  Appellate courts only consider the evidence that was presented to the trial court and only review alleged errors that are raised and presented to them on appeal.  In addition, not all errors that occur in a trial court are serious enough to allow you relief on appeal.  Appellate courts evaluate errors differently depending on a number of factors, including:  the type of error alleged, the seriousness of the alleged error, whether the error affected your constitutional rights, and whether the error was “preserved” (i.e., whether your attorney raised the issue before the trial court).  To maximize your chance of success on appeal, you need an attorney who understands how these factors influence the appellate court’s review.

If you’ve been wrongly convicted or received an unfair sentence, we can evaluate your case to identify the appealable issues that are most likely to get you relief.

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Grand Rapids, MI 49504

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