No two judges are the same and no two cases are identical

In life things do not always go the way one hopes or plans, and court proceedings are not any different. No two judges are the same and no two cases are identical. Depending on the day, the same judge may give completely opposite rulings despite two cases being very similar. There is no question that the judicial system, because of the human element that is at its core, reaches outcomes that are flawed, unfair, and sometimes intolerable.
So what happens when you have been the victim of an unfair case outcome? You can either live with the consequences or you can challenge the ruling by appealing the case to the next judicial level. How your appeal will work will depend on the court from which you are appealing, the status of the case, and numerous other factors.

Circuit Court

In Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court (JDR) and General District Court (GDC) cases, litigants only have 10 days to appeal the entry of a final order. All appeals from JDR and GDC go to the Circuit Court for the same jurisdiction. Additionally, all trials from JDR and GDC are done “de novo” – this is a fancy Latin phrase that means you get a new trial as though the trial in JDR or GDC never happened. In other words, you have two chances to convince a factfinder of your position whenever you are involved in a JDR or GDC appeal.
The procedure for appealing a circuit court case is completely different. The first big difference is the time for filing an appeal. Appeals from the Circuit Court are 30 days for civil and criminal appeals. In family law and criminal cases, the first stop after the Circuit Court is the Court of Appeals of Virginia. If the appealing party is not pleased with the result before the Court of Appeals, they can appeal it to the Supreme Court of Virginia. In all civil cases other than family law cases (excluding administrative law matters), the first, and usually last step, is from the Circuit Court to the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Appeals to the Supreme Court or Court of Appeals of Virginia

Unlike JDR and GDC appeals that get a new trial on appeal to Circuit Court, Circuit Court cases that are appealed to the Supreme Court of Virginia or Court of Appeals of Virginia get reviewed differently. The de novo standard used on JDR and GDC appeals does not typically apply to appeal issues. Generally speaking, the goal of the appellate courts is to review for reversible error, not just any little mistake that may have happened during the case. And in doing so, the appellate courts tend to give lots of weight and deference to the trial court’s decision.

We Can Help You Pursue an Appeal

Appellate practice is nuanced and often requires intense research and legal analysis. There are also strict procedural standards imposed by the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia. Failure to comply with the procedural requirements or lacking the necessary skill and training to research and argue applicable legal issues is an easy way for the appellate courts to dismiss your case.
If you need to appeal a case, you need to present a cogent legal argument capable of convincing the factfinder that you are right. Our attorneys at Lee Lopez Law are trained in doing just that and are prepared to assist you in putting forth the strongest arguments possible for your position. Call us or submit our online contact form today to see how we can help you with your appeal.

No two judges are the same and no two cases are identical

In life things do not always go the way one hopes or plans, and court proceedings are not any different. No two judges are the same and no two cases are identical. Depending on the day, the same judge may give completely opposite rulings despite two cases being very similar. There is no question that the judicial system, because of the human element that is at its core, reaches outcomes that are flawed, unfair, and sometimes intolerable.
So what happens when you have been the victim of an unfair case outcome? You can either live with the consequences or you can challenge the ruling by appealing the case to the next judicial level. How your appeal will work will depend on the court from which you are appealing, the status of the case, and numerous other factors.

Circuit Court

In Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court (JDR) and General District Court (GDC) cases, litigants only have 10 days to appeal the entry of a final order. All appeals from JDR and GDC go to the Circuit Court for the same jurisdiction. Additionally, all trials from JDR and GDC are done “de novo” – this is a fancy Latin phrase that means you get a new trial as though the trial in JDR or GDC never happened. In other words, you have two chances to convince a factfinder of your position whenever you are involved in a JDR or GDC appeal.
The procedure for appealing a circuit court case is completely different. The first big difference is the time for filing an appeal. Appeals from the Circuit Court are 30 days for civil and criminal appeals. In family law and criminal cases, the first stop after the Circuit Court is the Court of Appeals of Virginia. If the appealing party is not pleased with the result before the Court of Appeals, they can appeal it to the Supreme Court of Virginia. In all civil cases other than family law cases (excluding administrative law matters), the first, and usually last step, is from the Circuit Court to the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Appeals to the Supreme Court or Court of Appeals of Virginia

Unlike JDR and GDC appeals that get a new trial on appeal to Circuit Court, Circuit Court cases that are appealed to the Supreme Court of Virginia or Court of Appeals of Virginia get reviewed differently. The de novo standard used on JDR and GDC appeals does not typically apply to appeal issues. Generally speaking, the goal of the appellate courts is to review for reversible error, not just any little mistake that may have happened during the case. And in doing so, the appellate courts tend to give lots of weight and deference to the trial court’s decision.

We Can Help You Pursue an Appeal

Appellate practice is nuanced and often requires intense research and legal analysis. There are also strict procedural standards imposed by the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia. Failure to comply with the procedural requirements or lacking the necessary skill and training to research and argue applicable legal issues is an easy way for the appellate courts to dismiss your case.
If you need to appeal a case, you need to present a cogent legal argument capable of convincing the factfinder that you are right. Our attorneys at Lee Lopez Law are trained in doing just that and are prepared to assist you in putting forth the strongest arguments possible for your position. Call us or submit our online contact form today to see how we can help you with your appeal.

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Kara and Misha are always thinking about the law and how current laws and potential changes to the law may affect individuals. Check out their blog articles to learn more about various family law and criminal/traffic defense issues.

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