What is an Appeal?

FAQs: What is an appeal?

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FAQs About Michigan Criminal Appeals

What is an Appeal?

An appeal is a request to a supervisory court that is usually composed of a panel of judges, to change the legal ruling of a lower court. The process of exercising the right to submit a request for review of a decision made by another court is referred to as an "appeal" or "to take an appeal."

Appeals are made in state and federal courts, and may end up going all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court, or even the United States Supreme Court.

In Michigan, appeals generally fall into two main categories:

Federal Appeals

A litigant who loses in a federal court of appeals, or in the highest court of a state, may file a petition for a "writ of certiorari," which is a document asking the Supreme Court to review the case. The Supreme Court, however, does not have to grant review. The Court typically will agree to hear a case only when it involves an unusually important legal principle, or when two or more federal appellate courts have interpreted a law differently. There are also a small number of special circumstances in which the Supreme Court is required by law to hear an appeal. When the Supreme Court hears a case, the parties are required to file written briefs and the court may hear oral argument.(4)

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