Dover Appeals Lawyer

Your Case Is Not Over Until The Appeal Is Heard

At Schmittinger & Rodriguez we, as trial lawyers in both state and federal courts, know that a case is not over until all appeals are exhausted. Just because clients may receive an unfavorable decision in a trial court, that does not mean our experienced appellate attorneys, with years of appellate practice, will not step in with their extensive experience to offer a fresh perspective on the key issues and make a successful appeal to the judges of the appeals courts.

After a trial, a party has the right to appeal. This is where experience matters. This is where an unfavorable trial judgment can be remedied. This is where our law firm and the trial team at Schmittinger & Rodriguez apply their decades of experience in many practice areas and launch appeals to the appropriate court of review for our clients.

If you believe your legal issues were not favorably resolved in trial court litigation, you may have grounds upon which you can seek resolution in the appellate courts.

Who Can Appeal A Case?

In Delaware, appeals can be filed by certain parties who are affected by a final decision or order of a trial court. Here are the key points about who can appeal a case in Delaware:

    • Generally, the party who lost at the trial level, also known as the appellant, can file an appeal.

    • The appellee, who won at the trial court level, can also file a cross-appeal to challenge aspects of the trial court’s decision that were not in their favor.

    • Other parties who may have a legal interest in the outcome of the case, such as intervenors or third-party beneficiaries, may also be able to file an appeal.

    • In criminal cases, the defendant may appeal their conviction or sentence, while the prosecution may appeal certain pretrial rulings or the sentence if it is deemed too lenient.

    • In some cases, the court may also grant permission for an interested party, such as a friend of the court or amicus curiae, to file an appeal.

Depending on the legal issues your appellate lawyer will best advise you of your right to appeal.

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Contact Schmittinger & Rodriguez

Our appellate lawyers are committed to providing you with personalized attention and will fight hard to get you the best possible outcome for your case. If you have an appellate matter, contact Schmittinger & Rodriguez today for a consultation. YOUR CASE. OUR PRIORITY.

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What Our Clients Say

Brian Jenkins
Mr Catts went above and beyond to handle my complicated case. The level of professionalism is second to none. The staff and Mr. Catts were kind, courteous, and listened to my concerns with compassion. I would recomend this firm to anyone needing legal help. They earned my trust in am amazing way.
Linda Wilson
Mr Catts and his legal team went above and beyond for me. They never stopped pursuing all avenues to get the compensation that I deserved. The staff was courteous and showed compassion. I felt like they really cared about my injuries. I highly recommend their services to anyone
Tatiana Sida-Amor
I was recommended to this law office by my doctor after my car accident in the summer of 2021. I ended up working with Mr. Catts. I appreciate how forthcoming and hardworking he was about my case. The office is extremely professional to ensure that I got the best settlement that I could get. The open communication eased my mind and allowed me to handle things I needed to for myself. Definitely recommend them if you want lawyers that give you results.
Kathyjo Mays
I recommend them highly and have referred them to many of my friends and family. Very informative and def kept me up to date about my case. Schmittinger & Rodriguez def worked very hard for me.
Mary Zober
The staff is friendly and makes you feel comfortable. The firm worked on getting my settlement and kept me informed every step of the way.
Sharonda goode
Great experience! Doug Catts, Ryan and Ms. Kaye are awesome to work with. Very professional, friendly & knowledgeable. They are expensive. But get the job done & in a timely manner. I use Mr. Catts for all my legal needs.
Hot Box237
I will recommend this lawyer to any one, I feel like crying. He is kind, patient and a good listener. He solved your problem and at the end advice you. Thank you very much.
Cheryl Rowe
Doug is personable...assertive and he will get the job done!
Patsy Ware
Schmittinger and Rodriquez attorney Doug Catts is the best, I highly recommend him. As an attorney he is forthright, honest, transparent and sincere. Doug Catts and his staff are amazing.

Is There A Standard I Have To Meet To File An Appeal?

To file an appeal in Delaware, there are certain standards that must be met by the party seeking to appeal.

Here are some key points to keep in mind:

    • To file an appeal in both Delaware state and federal courts, the party seeking to appeal must be an aggrieved party with a legal interest in the outcome of the case.

    • The appeal must be timely filed, usually within 30 days of the entry of the final judgment or order being appealed.

    • The appellant must also have preserved any objections or issues raised on appeal by making timely objections and arguments at the trial court level. Failure to do so may result in the issue being deemed waived or forfeited on appeal.

    • The issues raised on appeal must also be ones that are properly appealable. This means that the appellate court has the jurisdiction to review the issue and that it is not a matter of discretion left to the trial court.

    • In addition, the appellant must also provide a sufficient record of the proceedings at the trial court level, including any relevant transcripts, exhibits, or other evidence necessary to support their arguments on appeal.

What Are The Appeals Courts In Delaware?

Delaware has two levels of appellate courts, one at the state level and one at the federal level. Here are some key details about each:

State Appeals Court:

    • The Delaware Supreme Court is the highest court in the state and serves as the court of last resort for appeals of state court decisions.

    • The Supreme Court consists of five justices who are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state senate. They serve for a term of 12 years.

    • The Supreme Court has jurisdiction over all civil and criminal appeals from the Delaware Court of Chancery, Superior Court, and Family Court, as well as certain administrative agencies and boards.

    • In addition to its appellate function, the Supreme Court also has original jurisdiction over certain types of cases, such as disputes involving state officials or constitutional issues.

Federal Appeals Court:

    • The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit is the federal appellate court with jurisdiction over Delaware, as well as Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the Virgin Islands.

    • The Third Circuit is based in Philadelphia and consists of 14 active judges who are appointed by the president and confirmed by the senate.

    • The Third Circuit hears appeals from the federal district courts in Delaware, as well as appeals from certain administrative agencies and boards.

    • The Third Circuit also has jurisdiction over appeals from bankruptcy courts in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

    • Decisions of the Third Circuit can be appealed to the United States Supreme Court, although the vast majority of cases are not heard by the Supreme Court.

How Is An Appellate Lawyer Different Than A Trial Lawyer?

Appellate lawyers and a trial lawyers in Delaware have different roles and responsibilities. Here are some key differences:

    • A trial lawyer represents a party in the trial court and is responsible for presenting evidence, arguing the law, and persuading the judge or jury to rule in their client’s favor.

    • An appellate attorney, on the other hand, focuses on challenging or defending the trial court’s decision on appeal. This often involves a more strategic and analytical approach to the law, as well as a deep understanding of the appellate process and the relevant legal standards. The appellate attorneys are responsible for the appellate brief and oral advocacy in state and federal courts; the federal circuit; state supreme court levels and the federal circuit courts including the Supreme Court.

    • While a trial lawyer may handle all aspects of the case, from pretrial motions to the trial itself, an appeals lawyer typically only becomes involved after the trial court has rendered its decision.

    • Appeals lawyers often work with a limited record of the trial court proceedings and must identify and raise any legal errors or issues that may have affected the outcome of the case.

    • Additionally, appeals lawyers in Delaware may argue before a different set of judges or justices than those who presided over the trial court, and may need to adapt their arguments and style of oral advocacy accordingly.

What Happens In Appeals Court In Delaware?

In Delaware state and federal appellate courts, the appeals process typically involves a review of the trial court’s decision by a panel of judges. This can be time-consuming but based on the facts and circumstances, time well spent by you and your lawyers.

Here are some key aspects of what happens in appeals court in Delaware:

    • The appeals court is primarily concerned with reviewing the trial court’s legal analysis and interpretation of the law, and its decision-making process, rather than re-examining the facts of the case.

    • The appeals court will review the record of the trial court proceedings, including any transcripts, exhibits, or other evidence, to determine whether the trial court made any legal errors or abused its discretion.

    • The appellant (the party appealing the decision) will typically file an appellate brief outlining the legal arguments and issues raised on appeal, and the appellee (the opposing party) will file a response brief.

    • Oral arguments may be scheduled, during which each side has a limited amount of time to present their arguments and answer questions from the appellate judges.

    • The appeals court will then issue a written decision, either affirming the trial court’s decision, reversing it, or remanding the case back to the trial court for further proceedings.

    • In some cases, the appeals court may also issue a published opinion, which can serve as a precedent for future cases involving similar legal issues.

How Are Civil & Criminal
Appeals Different?

In Delaware, civil and criminal appeals differ in several ways, including the legal standards, the types of issues raised, and the potential outcomes. Here are some key differences between civil and criminal appeals in Delaware:

Legal Standards:

  • In civil appeals, the standard of review is typically whether the trial court made any legal errors or abused its discretion. The appeals court will generally give deference to the trial court’s factual findings and will only overturn them if they are clearly erroneous.

  • In criminal appeals, the standard of review is often more rigorous. The defendant must demonstrate that the trial court’s decision was not supported by the evidence or was based on an incorrect interpretation of the law. The defendant’s constitutional rights, such as the right to a fair trial or the right to effective assistance of counsel, may also be raised on appeal.

Types of Issues:

  • In civil appeals, the issues often revolve around questions of contract interpretation, property rights, or other matters of civil law. The appeals court may also consider issues related to damages, such as whether the amount awarded by the trial court was excessive or inadequate.

  • In criminal appeals, the issues may include challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence, errors in jury instructions or evidentiary rulings, or claims of prosecutorial misconduct. The defendant may also argue that their conviction or sentence violated their constitutional rights, such as the right to due process or the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment or other civil rights.

Potential Outcomes:

  • In civil appeals, the most common outcome is either affirmance (upholding the trial court’s decision) or reversal (overturning the trial court’s decision). The appeals court may also remand the case back to the trial court for further proceedings or clarification.

  • In criminal appeals, the potential outcomes can be more varied. The appeals court may affirm the defendant’s conviction or sentence, reverse it and order a new trial, or vacate the conviction and enter a judgment of acquittal. In some cases, the appeals court may also remand the case back to the trial court for resentencing or other proceedings.

Overall, while there are similarities in the appeals process between civil and criminal cases in Delaware, there are also important differences that reflect the distinct nature of these two types of cases. Regardless of whether it is a civil or criminal appeal, it is critical to have the appropriate appellate counsel who has experience in the appellate practice that applies to your case.

Why Schmittinger & Rodriguez Is Right
For Your Appeal

At Schmittinger & Rodriguez, we understand the complex issues faced by law firms when a case is brought before the appellate courts. Our trial counsel equally understands the issues and expectations of being a client’s appellate counsel. For decades our law firm and attorneys are well versed and experienced in appellate litigation before state and federal courts. We have practiced appellate work in and made oral arguments in state appellate courts in Delaware as well as in the federal courts, including the third circuit court and the United States Supreme Court.

Our entire team has decades of combined experience generating appellate briefs for the court, supported by extensive legal research, knowledge of the law, familiarity with other cases, and familiarity with the appellate judges before whom they will be presenting oral arguments.

Extensive preparations are required in appellate law including familiarity with the trial court record and then preparing for oral argument in the appellate courts. Our goal is justice. Our appeals lawyers are seeking either a reversal or new trial or other successful resolution based on legal, technical, or procedural issues. In the end, it’s about making sure our clients have a fair trial. This is in the best interest of our clients and in the public interest as well.

Our appellate lawyers are committed to providing you with personalized attention and will fight hard to get you the best possible outcome for your case. If you have an appellate matter, contact Schmittinger & Rodriguez today for a consultation. YOUR CASE. OUR PRIORITY.

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