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Appeals from the Circuit Court

Appeals from Circuit Court convictions or civil judgments require filing an appeal to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, or to Maryland's highest appellate Court, the Court of Appeals. Within 30 days of the final judgment or sentencing in the Circuit Court, the appealing party must file a “notice of appeal” in the Circuit Court. This appeal is usually first to the Court of Special Appeals. The parties to the case will later have to file briefs that outline the facts of the case and make detailed arguments about what mistakes may or may not have been committed during the previous trial. Attorneys in the case will later appear in Annapolis before a panel of three judges of the Court of Special Appeals. Each side gets just 20 minutes to argue why their arguments should prevail. Weeks or months later, the Court will issue a written decision. Most decisions are “unreported” meaning that they are provided for guidance only in that particular case. However, some decisions are “reported.” This means that the decision will be published in law books and on the internet to so the decision can provide guidance to judges, attorneys, and the public in future disputes and cases.
If a party wishes to further challenge a decision issued by the Court of Special Appeals, he or she can file a petition for a writ of certiorari to the Maryland Court of Appeals. This essentially asks the Court for permission to appeal further. If the Court grants a petition for a writ of certiorari, the parties have to file new briefs. Sometimes the Court will direct the parties to address a specific issue in the case. The attorneys for each party will later have to appear in Annapolis to argue before all seven judges of the Maryland Court of Appeals. Like the cases in the Court of Special Appeals, the decisions issued by the Court of Appeals may be reported or unreported. Some of our appellate cases that resulted in reported decisions include: State v. Stowe, 376 Md. 436 (2003); Walker v. State, 373 Md. 360 (2003); Rush v. State, 403 Md. 68 (2007).

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