Which Court to Appeal to?

FAQs: Which Court to Appeal To

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FAQs About Michigan Criminal Appeals

Where do I file an appeal?

The court to file an appeal with depends on the trial court whose decision you are appealing. There are three trial courts in Michigan: circuit, district (including four municipal courts), and probate. See the organizational chart (.pdf) of the Michigan Judicial Branch.

Appealing District Court Decisions

Appeals Made to the Circuit Court

Circuit court serves as the appellate court for district court cases. District courts are the trial courts of the federal court system. Congress and the U.S. Constitution set limits on the powers and jurisdiction of district courts that are given jurisdiction to hear nearly all categories of federal cases, including both civil and criminal matters.

In Michigan, there are four district courts:

Appealing Circuit Court and Probate Court Decisions

Appeals Made to the Court of Appeals

The federal court system has 94 U.S. judicial districts that are organized into 12 regional circuits, and each has a United States court of appeals. A court of appeals hears appeals from the district courts located within its circuit, as well as appeals from decisions of federal administrative agencies. The Michigan Court of Appeals serves as the appellate court for circuit court and probate court cases.

The Michigan Court of Appeals is comprised of six judges who are elected for six-year terms. Court of Appeals hearings are held in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing and Marquette before a panel of three Court of Appeals judges. If a unanimous ruling cannot be agreed upon, the decision rests with the majority (at least two of the three judges must agree on the ruling).

The panel of judges is rotated regularly so that a variety of judicial opinions are considered. Decisions made by the Court of Appeals are considered final unless the Michigan Supreme Court grants discretionary review of the decision or certiorari (a type of writ seeking judicial review).

An appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals can be filed in any of the following four district courts:

  • First District, Cadillac Place, 3020 West Grand Boulevard, Suite 14-300, Detroit, MI 48202-6020 | PH: 313-972-5678
  • Second District, Columbia Center, 201 West Big Beaver Road, Suite 800, Troy, MI 48084-4127 | PH: 248-524-8700
  • Third District, State of Michigan Building, 350 Ottawa, NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-2349 | PH: 616-456-1167
  • Fourth District, Hall of Justice, 2nd Floor, 925 West Ottawa St., P. O. Box 30022, Lansing, MI 48909-7522 | PH: 517-373-0786

Appealing Decisions Made by the Court of Appeals

Appeals Made to the Michigan Supreme Court

The Michigan Supreme Court serves as the appellate court for Court of Appeals decisions.

Some cases may be appealed directly to the highest court, the Michigan Supreme Court; however, most appeals of a trial court decision are heard by the intermediate (circuit) Court of Appeals.

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