VIRGINIA APPEALS ATTORNEY – VIRGINIA APPELLATE LAW
Longman & Van Grack’s Virginia Appellate team has the experience, knowledge, writing, and advocacy skills to effectively handle your Virginia appeal. If your case, hearing, or trial was initially heard in a Virginia circuit court, then you can petition the Supreme Court of Virginia (Virginia’s highest court) for a writ to hear your appeal. If your case was initially heard in the Virginia general District Court, you can appeal the decision in Virginia’s Circuit Court as a matter of right. Cases appealed from a Virginia general District Court to Circuit Court are heard anew (de novo). Cases involving family law, government administrative decisions, and criminal appeals may be heard by the Court of Appeals of Virginia. Additionally, appeals from the U.S. District Court for the District of Virginia are generally heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Each attorney on Longman & Van Grack’s Virginia Appellate Team has the advocacy background and skill to effectively argue your Virginia appeal in any of these courts. Our Virginia Appellate Team is proficient at researching and analyzing Virginia’s laws and has excellent oral and written advocacy skills. We are also closely familiar with the rules of appellate procedure and advocacy in all of the courts in which a Virginia appeal might be brought. Collectively, our Virginia appeals attorneys have handled state and Federal appeals ranging from Federal tax matters to petitions for writs of mandamus.
The Virginia Appellate Process
Except for appeals of a lower Virginia court’s decision brought in Circuit Court, Virginia’s appellate courts do not afford you a new trial and will not hear new evidence that wasn’t presented to the trial court. Rather, the Court of Appeals of Virginia, the Supreme Court of Virginia, or the Fourth Circuit will review what transpired in the trial court and determine whether proper procedures were followed and the law was applied correctly. These courts will almost always defer to findings made by the jury or trial judge regarding factual issues and limit their review to how the Virginia law was applied during the trial.
To initiate an appeal in the Circuit Court, Court of Appeals of Virginia, the Supreme Court of Virginia, or the Fourth Circuit, the appellant (the party appealing) must file a notice of appeal in the trial court and designate an appellate record consisting of materials from the trial court which the appellant wishes to present to the appellate court. The deadline to file a notice of appeal in each Virginia appeals courts varies and will be strictly observed.
Virginia’s appellate court cases generally involve multiple legal briefs, all of which must contain citations to cases and statutory or other legal authorities. Virginia appeals briefs must also contain proper citations to the specific appellate record (which our attorneys will make as part of the process). First, the Virginia appellant will file an opening brief with the Virginia Supreme Court or Fourth Circuit. This appeals brief must explain the factual and procedural history of the case, in a neutral fashion, and then state how the trial court erred and why the appellate court should reverse the ruling. The appellee will then file a responsive brief with the Virginia appellate court. Like the opening brief, this response in the Court of Appeals of Virginia, the Supreme Court of Virginia, or the Fourth Circuit should also neutrally explain the factual and procedural history, followed by argument that the trial court was correct and the ruling should not be reversed. Finally, the appellant then has an opportunity to file a reply brief. In the reply, the appellant can argue against the claims made in the appellee’s responsive brief, but is not permitted to introduce any new legal arguments. The appellate reply brief only addresses statements made in the appellee’s responsive brief.
After the appellate briefs are filed, a panel of Court of Appeals of Virginia, the Supreme Court of Virginia, or the Fourth Circuit court judges will hear oral argument, which can take place anywhere from a few weeks to a year or more after the appeal is filed, depending on the court and its discretion. However, the Court of Appeals of Virginia, the Supreme Court of Virginia, or the Fourth Circuit can decide cases based solely on the briefs, without hearing oral argument. The Virginia appellate panel will issue a written opinion stating their decision and the reasoning behind it. At the Virginia appeals court’s discretion, the opinion might be published in the official reports and become binding authority over future cases. The timing of this written opinion varies considerably among the different Virginia appellate courts, but is generally a period of several months for the Virginia Supreme Court or Fourth Circuit.
Virginia Appellate Law at Longman & Van Grack
Longman & Van Grack’s Virginia appeals attorneys can work exclusively on a Virginia appeal or work on a Virginia appellate matter with the underlying trial counsel. Specifically, our Virginia appellate attorneys will review the lower court’s record, research all relevant legal issues which could be evaluated on appeal, draft the necessary briefs to be submitted to the appellate court, and present the case to the appellate court during oral argument.
The Virginia appeals lawyers on Longman & Van Grack’s Virginia Appellate Team regularly seek and defend appeals at each court in Virginia. Before accepting an appeal on behalf of a client seeking to overturn a trial court’s judgment or decision—whether the case originated in a Virginia general District Court or Circuit Court, or in the, US District Court for the District of Virginia, Longman & Van Grack’s appellate lawyers will first review the lower court’s record and evaluate the strengths of the case and likelihood of success on appeal.
Longman & Van Grack’s Virginia appellate attorneys works closely with other lawyers in the litigation group as well as with lawyers in all of Longman & Van Grack’s practice groups. If you would like to discuss our assistance with an appeal, call Longman & Van Grack’s appellate attorneys today at (301) 291-5027 to schedule a consultation in our Virginia Appeals Office