If a judge ruled against you in a circuit court case and you believe the ruling was inaccurate, file an appeal. An appeal is a request to have a case reheard so as to reverse or overturn a previous ruling. If you obtain an approval for an appeal request, your case will be heard again and you may possibly receive a second judgment in your favor. To begin the appeal process you must write an appeal letter. This is not difficult, but you must include specific information and follow certain steps to increase the likelihood that the court accepts your appeal request.
Writing the Opening Paragraph
Write your name, address and contact information at the top of the page. Include all phone numbers where you can be reached. Add the date a few spaces below your personal information.
Write your opening salutation. This should read, “Dear Judge X, ” or “To Judge X.” Determine exactly to whom you are directing the letter before you begin writing so that you address the right person.
Begin the first paragraph of the letter. This should include your name. For example, your opening line can read, “Hello. My Name is John Doe.” A mention of any of your affiliations, such as your business name or lawyer’s firm should follow.
State why you are writing the letter. Include the case number. Mention the lower court that ruled on the case and any judges, court officers or lawyers that are significant to the case. You can say “I am writing this letter to appeal case number XXX which was ruled upon by Judge X.”
Writing Pertinent Details in Second and Third Paragraphs
Include the details of the case. Mention exactly why you were charged and list all charges brought against you. Discuss the ruling and the judge's reasons for his decision.
Write a motion for reconsideration in the third paragraph. This is the most important part of the letter because it tells the court all of the reasons you would like the case re-opened. The reasons must conclude that legal discrepancies or defects existed in the case which wrongfully influenced the judge’s decision. You can mention defects, such as improper witness behavior or insufficient evidence.
Be objective. Do not express your personal opinions about the case. This may show bias and prevent the approval of your appeal. Stick to the facts and cite any instances of unconstitutional occurrences, procedural mistakes or oversights that occurred during the case hearing.
Writing the Final Paragraph
Express the importance of receiving a prompt appeal decision. Explain any circumstances that may worsen if the appeal is not approved within a certain time. For instance, you should mention if you are scheduled to serve jail time for an offense.
Review the facts about the case. Include a summary of why you are appealing and the reasons that warrant your appeal request. Reiterate the defects in the case. Explain how denying your appeal could be an obstruction of justice. Be polite. Do not write belligerent or hostile statements.
Thank the reader for her time. Mention the addressee’s name again. For instance, write “Thank you Judge X for reviewing and considering this appeal request.”
A letter of appeal should be typewritten and formatted in standard business letter form.
Keep your appeal letter brief and stick to the matter at hand. This will keep the attention of the addressee and improve the likelihood that she will read your entire letter.