The Appeals Process in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, a case is about to make its way in front of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The case involves a man who is accused of sexually molesting his 15-year-old stepdaughter over a dozen times. The issue on appeal is whether or not the stepdaughter must release her medical records prior to being allowed to testify in the case.

Last fall, the Racine County judge ruled that he would conduct an "in camera review" of the medical records, meaning that he would review the records privately, and then provide the defense with any pertinent information. However, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals later ruled that the stepdaughter would not be allowed to testify in the criminal case unless the records were first provided to defense attorneys. The Wisconsin Supreme Court will hear arguments on the issue soon. The man's criminal trial is on hold until the final decision is made.

Process of Appeal

The accused man's case demonstrates the importance of the appeals process. Although the appeals process can be lengthy, it is set up to ensure that cases are decided according to the law. If an individual feels that the outcome of his or her case was wrong, it may be worth it to file an appeal.

The results in both criminal and civil cases can be appealed. This means that a higher court will review the decision of the judge in the original case. A case can generally only be appealed based on legal issues or decisions of the judge, rather than decisions about facts that are usually made by jurors. This means a person cannot appeal by saying, for example, that a wrong factual conclusion was made.

An appeal can generally only take place after a case has come to trial and a final decision has been made. However, there are some circumstances under which a case may be put on hold while an appeal on a specific issue is filed — as in the Wisconsin man's criminal trial.

Once a party has decided to file an appeal, there are several requirements that he or she must follow. For example, the party must file the Notice of Appeal, and this document must contain the case name and number, and a description of the judgment. In a civil case, for example, there are also strict deadlines that must be met. The Notice of Appeal must be filed within 45 days of the judgment ruling. At the most, this can be changed to 90 days if the person has not received written notification of the final judgment. Proper filing rules should be strictly adhered to and all judicial requests must be followed in a timely and correct fashion.

When Contemplating an Appeal

The appeal process can be essential to an individual's sense of justice. When deciding to appeal a case, sitting down and discussing the matter with an experienced appeals attorney is the best choice. These attorneys know the law and are able to guide their clients in the right direction. Attorneys who have specific experience with appellate law have handled situations like this before and are well equipped to fight the case until the very end.