Appellate Law, Criminal Defense, Criminal Appeals & Criminal Appellate Review and Post Conviction Relief in Florida Courts, Federal District Courts and the 11th Circuit for Criminal Attorneys, Criminal Lawyers & Appellate Lawyers
Whether a party is in State or Federal court, whenever a court renders an adverse decision, a party should consider several factors in deciding whether to appeal the order, including: (1) whether there is a right to appeal the order; (2) when the appeal may be filed; (3) what are the time limits governing the appeal; (4) in which court will the appeal lie; (5) what is the applicable standard of review; and, (6) what are the costs associated with the appeal.
With regard to the right to appeal, parties should be aware that some orders may not be immediately appealable. Rather, the rules may provide that the appeal may only be heard at the end of the case.
With regard to the time of the appeal and applicable time limits, the parties may wish to consult the appellate rules for guidance on the time in which notices of appeal, appellate briefs, and appeals-related motions should be filed. Failure to follow the applicable rules may result in a party losing the appeal. The Rules for the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit may be found here. The Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure may be found here.
In determining where to file the appeal, appeals in both the State and Federal system generally lie with the next higher court. For example, State court cases in the County Court may be appealed to the Circuit Court, and Circuit Court cases may be appealed to the District Court of Appeal. Opinions rendered by any of the Florida District Courts of Appeal may be appealed to the Florida Supreme Court. In the Federal system, orders issued by a United States Magistrate Judge may be appealed to the United States District Court, District Court orders may be appealed to the Eleventh Circuit, and opinions issued by the Eleventh Circuit may be appealed to the United States Supreme Court.
Standards of review on appeal include de novo and abuse of discretion. A party should be aware that the likelihood of success on appeal may be determined in large part by the applicable standard of review.
Finally, a party should be aware that costs of an appeal may be substantial. Prior to deciding whether to appeal, a party may wish to consider the costs associated with filing the notice of appeal, designating the record and transcripts, and filing briefs and motions. Having counsel attend oral argument may also add to the cost of appeal.
Just like individuals in any other State, Floridians have two court systems within their State: the State courts and the Federal courts. While there are occasions where the State and Federal court systems operate in a somewhat related fashion, for the most part, each system enforces its own laws independent of the other.
Similar to the Florida courts, the Federal courts are organized into areas of territorial jurisdiction. The Northern District of Florida encompasses Pensacola, Panama City, Tallahassee, and Gainesville. The website for the Northern District can be found here. The Middle District of Florida encompasses most of the middle portion of the State, including Jacksonville, Ocala, Orlando, Tampa, and Fort Myers. The website for the Middle District can be found here. The Southern District encompasses the eastern portion of the State, including Fort Pierce, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami. The website for the Southern District can be found here.
Also similar to the State courts of Florida, the Federal courts have a distinct trial and appellate system. The United States District Court operates as the trial court, and is presided over by United States Magistrate Judges, United States District Court Judges, and Senior United States District Court Judges. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, which is based in Atlanta, Georgia, is the Federal appellate court for the States of Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. The website for the Eleventh Circuit can be found here. Any appeals taken from the Eleventh Circuit would be filed in the Supreme Court of the United States, in Washington, D.C. The website for the Supreme Court of the United States can be found here.