How to Appeal a Judge's Decision in the San Diego, CA Area

How to Appeal a Judge's Decision in the San Diego, CA Area

Retain an appellate attorney with a proven track record

"[A]n appellant winning is the old journalistic definition of news: Man bites dog" - Mix v. Superior Court (Behniwal) (2004) 124 Cal.App.4th 987, 995.

Look no further for a distinguished appellate attorney than the Law Offices of Sondra S. Sutherland, APC in San Diego, CA. I have been successful in appellate practice where most civil appeals are unsuccessful.

Why? I am choosy about the cases I take up on appeal. I love to appeal, but only if I think I am going to win. I also consider the cost of an appeal, in attorney fees and expenses, against the amount to be gained by appellate victory.

My success with appeals and writs can also be attributed to the fact that I am a good researcher and an even better writer - and appeals are usually won and lost on the briefs.

What you need to know about the appeals process

In California*, the general procedure for filing an appeal includes:

  • The filing of a notice of appeal in a timely manner.
  • The designation and preparation of the appellate record in a timely manner. The record is comprised of papers filed in the trial court and reporter's transcript/s of the oral trial court proceedings.
  • The preparation, filing and serving of appellate briefs in a timely manner. This includes the appellant's Opening Brief, followed by the Respondent's Brief, followed by appellant's optional Reply Brief.
  • The preparation of an oral argument, if needed. Oral arguments are limited to 30 minutes per side.
  • The filing of a written decision by the three-justice panel, including the Court's factual and legal conclusions. If the court publishes the decision, it becomes law that is binding on all persons in California. Otherwise, the decision binds only the parties to that case.

An appeal is not a retrial, but a review of the lower court's judgment or order for legal error that was prejudicial. No witnesses testify. Appeals are won, or lost, primarily based upon the briefs that are filed.

Special considerations and caveats: You should ask your appellate attorney whether the judgment or order you want to challenge is appealable. If not, it may still be reviewable by extraordinary writ. It is critical that your appeal be filed in a timely manner, or the appellate court will lack jurisdiction (power) to decide your appeal.

*Please note that I am licensed to practice law in California only. Each state has its own laws and procedures pertaining to appellate practice. If you have a question about an appeal or writ filed, or to be filed, in another state, then you should consult with an appellate attorney who is licensed to practice law in that state.

Why choose the Law Offices of Sondra S. Sutherland?

You can feel confident retaining me as your appellate attorney in San Diego, CA. My experience with appeals and writs includes:

  • Judicial Extern to Hon. Norman L. Epstein, California Court of Appeal in 1995
  • Judicial Extern to Hon. Alex Kozinski, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 1996
  • Notable appellate victories like Sutherland v. Barclays, Marriage of Lammers, Marsala v. Chapman and Kipperman v. Sutherland (in re Bush)

View details on the Case Examples page now.