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How many times and how can a judgment be appealed in the U.S.?

In the US legal system, there are occasions when a party my ask for a judgment to be reversed. This cannot be done just because they don’t like a verdict.

Appeals process in the US

The legal system of the United States is one of the historical pioneers and one of the most evolved nowadays. One of the benefits of the American judicial system is the appeals process, whereby a party may have the ability to request that a judgment be reviewed with the intent to have it reversed.

In the case of a civil trial, either party, defendant or plaintiff, can appeal to a higher court. Generally, in most states only the defendant in a criminal case can appeal a verdict. An appeal is not a retrial nor a new trial as typically no new evidence nor new witnesses are considered by the appeals courts be it a civil or criminal case.

The appellant, the party appealing the judgment, could argue that “there were errors in the trial procedure or errors in the judge’s interpretation of the law,” according to the American Bar Association. A losing party cannot appeal just because they didn’t like the verdict, the appeal must have a legal basis.

How many times can a sentence be appealed?

The appellant, which can also be known as the ‘petitioner’, must first file a ‘notice of appeal’ within a dictated amount of time from the verdict or ruling. Once filed, the appellant will be given a certain amount of time to file a ‘brief’, their legal arguments upon which they are basing their appeal.

The ‘appellee’, the other party also known as the ‘respondent’, will then have a specified amount of time to file an answering brief. Once that has been filed, the appellant will have the opportunity to “file a second brief answering the appellee’s brief.”

Normally, only a single appeal can be presented for a trial court judgement. The appeals process may vary from state to state. In some cases a court superior to the appellate court may find good cause and allow another appeal. Likewise, the US Supreme Court may review a case for a second time in the event that it is deemed important enough.