What are Appellate Districts?
Appellate districts refer to the jurisdictional division of powers that a higher court maintains in reviewing a lower court’s decision in a particular case. Throughout the United States, there are numerous appellate courts and appellate districts that enable an individual, who was previously convicted of a crime, to re-evaluate their case in hopes of eliminating the previous charge and subsequent penalties.
The term ‘appellate districts’ therefore refers to the tangible location of a particular appellate court. As a result of their local setting, all appellate districts will operate according to particular state law in regards to the appeal process; appellate districts will maintain unique regulations, restrictions and specific protocol regarding the ability to file an appeal of a previous court decision.
The ability to appeal a case is distributed to American citizens in the form of a personal liberty through the interpretation of the United States Constitution. That being said, each appeal process maintains unique jurisdictional rules and regulations; the procedure to appeal a verdict made in a lower court or tribunal is not uniform throughout the United States. Although this differentiation exists, all appellate cases exclude the delivery of new information in the re-evaluation process; an appellate court will only review the previous exchange of information and witness testimonials that took place at the lower court trial.
Furthermore, the particular appellate court will evaluate the decision process latent in the lower court; the appeals court will evaluate any errors that may have been present when applying the rule of law to the particular case.
In most instances, the appellate districts will maintain the ability to modify or even reverse a previous decision made in a lower court. Depending on the appellate district in question, meaning where the particular courts are located, appellate districts may be referred to as courts of appeal, appellate courts, supreme courts or superior courts.
Difference between Appellate Districts and Original Jurisdiction:
Appellate Districts and original jurisdiction maintain two different concepts. In general, the term ‘original jurisdiction’ refers to the direct authority or power of a lower court, such as a magistrate’s court or a trial court, to directly hear a case. Through this power, the lower court must render a decision in a court matter before the case can be reviewed by an appellate court.
Appellate jurisdictions review cases following the formal delivery of a decision rendered by a lower court. To start the appellate process, one of the parties must submit an appeal for review by a court of appellate jurisdiction. In this process, the submitting party is typically referred to as the appellant, while the other party involved in the hearing is often called the respondent or the appellee.
Appellate jurisdictions generally do not perform tasks that a regular lower court would partake in; appellate jurisdictions do not listen to witness testimonies or directly evaluate evidence. Furthermore, appellate districts do not accept any new forms of evidence that were not a part of the previous trial hearing.
Hierarchy within Appellate Districts:
Appellate districts, in the United States, possess a hierarchy within the appellate division. For example, within the United States federal system, circuit courts typically have appellate jurisdiction over the district courts and the United States Supreme Court typically has jurisdiction over the circuit courts. In most instances, a case must first be submitted to a district court before it can be reviewed by a circuit court. In turn; however, the Supreme Court customarily reviews appeals from a circuit court and not from a district court system.