If you are dissatisfied with the result that you received at trial in Maryland, you have the right to challenge the result by taking an appeal to the Court of Special Appeals, which is an intermediate appellate court. The highest appellate court in Maryland is called the Maryland Court of Appeals (most other states call their highest court “supreme court”). The Court of Appeals hears and decides fewer cases than the Court of Special Appeals because the Court of Appeals gets to decide which cases that it will (and will not) consider.
If you desire to take an appeal to the Court of Special Appeals, you must file your request for an appeal (which is called a Notice of Appeal) within thirty (30) days of the entry of the final judgment in your case. Some limited orders, such as orders to pay money or custody orders can be appealed before the entry of the final judgment.
However, please understand that an appeal is different from a trial. In a trial, a party may call witnesses to testify and submit other evidence to the trial court. In an appeal, you do not call witnesses and do not present any new evidence. The appellate court will only consider the evidence that was previously entered (“on the record”). This means that the appellate court reads the transcript of the testimony that was presented to the trial court and only reviews the exhibits that were offered or entered into evidence. The appellate court reviews “the record” to determine if the trial court made erroneous factual findings, committed legal error, or abused its discretion.
In certain types of cases, you may be able to take an appeal of other types of cases, such as of a:
- Magistrate’s decision, which is called “exceptions”;
- A de novo appeal to the Circuit Court of a District Court domestic violence final protective order trial. A de novo appeal allows for an entirely new trial; or,
- An appeal within the Circuit Court before a 3-judge panel of Circuit Court judges, which is known as an “en banc appeal”.
If you have questions about the appellate process, please call me at (301) 231-0927.