South Bend / Mishawaka, IN – Many a client has proclaimed: “I’ll fight this to the Supreme Court.” The process by which a case makes its way to the Indiana Supreme Court, however, is a little more involved than simply filing an appeal. Depending on the type of case it is, there are several ways a case can find itself before the state’s highest court.
First, there are a few types of cases—specifically enumerated in Article 7, Section 4 of the Indiana Constitution—by which the Indiana Supreme Court exercises original and exclusive jurisdiction. This means that the Court has the power to consider the case for the first time, as opposed to considering the case on appeal after it has been heard at the trial-court level. Those cases involve:
Furthermore, the Indiana Supreme Court has mandatory and exclusive appellate jurisdiction over types of cases specifically enumerated by Indiana Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(A)(1). This means that the Court must hear the case if it is appealed from the trial court, and that the case bypasses the Indiana Court of Appeals and goes straight to the Indiana Supreme Court. Those cases involve:
Beyond those types of cases, the Indiana Supreme Court exercises discretionary jurisdiction, meaning that the Court has discretion over whether it will accept and consider a case on appeal from the Indiana Court of Appeals. Most cases before the Court fall into this category. If a party’s case does not qualify for original jurisdiction or mandatory appellate jurisdiction, then the party must file a petition to transfer in order to get before the Indiana Supreme Court. A petition to transfer is a document that petitions the Court to exercise discretionary jurisdiction and agree to hear the case on appeal. The Court’s decision on whether it will “grant transfer” is guided a list of considerations enumerated by Indiana Rule of Appellate Procedure 57(H):
If the Court grants transfer, then the Court has preliminarily agreed to consider the case, and the immediate effect is that the Indiana Court of Appeals decision is vacated. If the Court denies transfer, then the Court of Appeals decision is the final resolution of the case. Absent special circumstances allowing the case to be appealed to a federal court, no further relief can be sought from a higher court.
The attorneys at May Oberfell Lorber are well-versed in appellate law and procedure and can provide high-quality, cost-effective representation in appeals pending in State and Federal courts, and before administrative agencies.
This article is for information purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice.
Written by Craig Martin under the supervision of Bob Palmer. Craig is a Summer Associate at May Oberfell Lorber and is a rising third-year law student at Maurer School of Law at Indiana University Bloomington. Bob Palmer is a partner at May Oberfell Lorber with extensive experience in appellate representation.
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