Experienced Appellate Attorney Serving Clients throughout Tennessee
Helping clients in Sevierville, Seymour, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and throughout the state filing a civil or criminal appeal
Appealing a court decision is not an easy process. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot simply appeal a decision that you don’t like; you have to have a legal basis for why you believe the Court got it wrong.
Delius & McKenzie, PLLC handles both criminal appeals and civil appeals in state and federal courts throughout Tennessee. This is a very complex and delicate area of the law, requiring not only resources and skills but the passion and the drive to see it through to the end. At our firm, our Sevierville appellate attorneys have all of those things – in abundance. If you believe you have been wronged, we promise to stand by your side and fight for justice on your behalf.
Tennessee’s appellate courts
Court of Criminal Appeals
Tennessee’s Court of Criminal Appeals hears felony and misdemeanor cases, habeas corpus petitions, petitions for writ of error coram nobis and post-conviction petitions. There are 12 judges, but defendants make their cases to a panel of three (3), in Knoxville, Nashville or Jackson. If a case is not overturned in this Court, you can appeal to the state Supreme Court. While all cases may be appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeals, the Tennessee Supreme Court only chooses a small number of cases to review. Capital murder cases, however, are automatically reviewed by the Supreme Court.
Court of Appeals
Tennessee also has a Court of Appeals for civil cases. This is the Court that handles non-criminal cases; if, for example, you were denied compensation after you were hit by a car, we would appeal to this Court for a new decision. Like the Court of Criminal Appeals, it usually meets in Nashville, Knoxville and Jackson (special circumstances can lead to a change of venue), and cases are heard before a panel of three (3) judges.
A brief look at the appeals process
In a criminal case, generally, only the defendant may choose to appeal a decision, because a person cannot be tried for the same crime twice; that’s double jeopardy. In some circumstances the State may appeal a trial court’s ruling on whether or not evidence was obtained in violation of Constitutional law or whether certain evidence is admissible. In a civil case, either the defendant or the plaintiff may appeal a decision. The party appealing the process is the appellant, or the petitioner; the other party is referred to as the respondent. When we represent petitioners, we file a notice of appeal and a written argument (called a brief) for your case. Generally Delius & McKenzie, PLLC requests oral argument so that we can effectively advocate your case before the judges. There are no witnesses or testifiers, and there is only the panel of judges – no juries. While the appellate courts will examine all relevant trial transcripts and evidence, no new evidence may be presented on appeal.
The Appellate Court will do one of three things:
- Remand your case back to the lower courts for a new trial or review,
- Dismiss the case if the Court believes that the evidence was insufficient for a criminal conviction,
- Affirm the trial court.
If they affirm, you may retain our office to file an application for permission to appeal to the Tennessee State Supreme Court and begin the process again. If we are appealing a criminal court decision, and we have exhausted all options at the state level, then we may appeal to the federal court through petition of post-conviction relief, which will “attempt to show that