Massachusetts Appeals –
Have you gone to trial and lost? Or maybe you won, but the other side is filing an appeal. Our firm prosecutes and defends civil and criminal appeals throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
In civil cases, filing an appeal is often a business decision. How much do you stand to gain or lose? What is the likelihood of a favorable result?
There are strict timelines for appeals, so do not delay in filing a Notice of Appeal if you want to pursue relief on appeal because you have 30 days to do so. Remember, you can always drop your appeal after you file your Notice. Often verdicts are negotiated during the appeal process because appeals, like trials, can be unpredictable.
What is involved in an appeal? Civil and criminal cases have many common appellate issues, but they also widely differ because criminal cases involve personal liberties and Constitutional protections of your individual rights such as the right to an effective assistance of counsel and sentencing considerations. Nonetheless, all appeals are limited to the issues which were preserved for appeal by your trial attorney. This means that if he or she forgot to object during your trial to things like inadmissible evidence, improper closing arguments, denial of in limine motions, jury selection challenges, etc.. then you may have lost the right to appeal those legal mistakes.
In Massachusetts, appeals first go to a three judge panel in Boston for consideration. If that decision is not in your favor, you may file an application for Further Appellate Review (FAR) to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Not all requests for FAR are granted.
Recent changes to the Massachusetts Rules of Appellate Procedure have made filing appeals much easier, with electronic filing of briefs and motions. The rules are strict, however, in terms of complying with technical requirements for the format, size and contents of an appellate brief.
Attorney Maura J. Kiefer is an experienced appellate attorney. If you would like your potential appeal evaluated, contact her office today at (800) 232-1852.