Friday, January 29, 2016

Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure

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Appeals Law Group - Criminal Defense Attorneys

Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure


The Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure govern all appellate proceedings in the state of Florida, including all criminal appeals, civil appeals, and administrative appeals. As illustrated in Rule 9.010, the requirements set forth in the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure are designed to be superior to all other authorities. This means that these rules take precedence and therefore supersede any other rules of procedure found in the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration 2.130 and any other statutes that appear to be conflicting. Although the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure are essentially the core rules for conducting appeals, these rules nevertheless reference several other sets of rules and sections of Florida Statutes. For example, the rules reference Florida Statutes Chapter 120, which defines the Administrative Procedures Act and the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure. Again, however, any conflicting rules are subject to the supremacy of the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure.

One feature of the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure is that the rules lay out which types of cases Florida courts can hear on appeal. A court’s ability to hear cases on appeal is known as “appellate jurisdiction.”
 
The Florida Supreme Court is the highest court in the state of Florida, and it must review (1) final orders imposing death sentences; (2) district court decisions declaring a State statute or provision of the State Constitution invalid; (3) bond validations; and (4) certain orders of the Public Service Commission on utility rates and services. Thus, because the Florida Supreme Court is required to hear these issues, the Florida Supreme Court is said to have direct appellate jurisdiction over these types of issues.

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However, in other particular types of cases, the Florida Supreme Court can selectively choose which types of issues it wants to hear. This type of optional review is known as discretionary jurisdiction, and the Florida Supreme Court can choose whether or not it wants to hear lower court decisions that do one of the following:


  • expressly declare valid a state statute.
  • expressly construe a provision of the state or federal constitutio.
  • expressly affect a class of constitutional or state officers
  • expressly and directly conflict with a decision of another district court of appeal or of the supreme court on the same question of law.
  • pass upon a question certified to be of great public importance.
  • are certified to be in direct conflict with decisions of other district courts of appeal
  • orders and judgments of trial courts certified by the district court of appeal in which the appeal is pending to require immediate resolution by the supreme court, and to be of great public importance, or to have a great effect on the proper administration of justice
  • questions of law certified by the Supreme Court of the United States or a United States court of appeals that are determinative of the cause of action and for which there is no controlling precedent of the Supreme Court of Florida.


When filing a petition for discretionary review to the Florida Supreme Court, the petition must be based on one or more of these reasons. However, regardless of how many reasons are asserted, nothing can guarantee that the Florida Supreme Court will agree to hear the case. And, as the narrow and exclusive list above illustrates, it can be extremely difficult to get a criminal, civil, or administrative appeal beyond the district courts of appeal.

Unlike appellate jurisdiction, which is the power to review a lower court’s decision, original jurisdiction is the power of a court to hear a case for the first time. The Florida Supreme Court has original jurisdiction to issue several different types of writs, including writs of prohibition necessary for its exercise of jurisdiction, writs of mandamus and quo warranto to state officers and agencies, and writs of habeas corpus.

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The Florida district courts of appeal are called intermediate appellate courts, and these courts have original jurisdiction to issue writs such as mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and even common law certiorari as they may require to fully exercise the court’s jurisdiction.

The Florida district courts also have appellate jurisdiction over final trial court orders except as earlier provided in Florida Supreme Court appellate jurisdiction. Apart from what is proscribed in Rule 1.30, Florida district courts of appeal also have limited certiorari jurisdiction to hear not only non-final orders of lower courts, but also final orders of lower circuit courts when acting as a review court. Like the Florida Supreme Court, the district courts of appeal also have the capacity to exercise original and discretionary review. Having this discretionary review allows the district courts of appeal to review final orders of county courts and non-final orders, and if the county court certifies that these orders are of great public importance, these orders may be appealed to the circuit court of appeals.
The circuit courts of appeal also have original, appellate, and certiorari jurisdiction to hear a variety of cases. Essentially, the circuit courts of appeal have the ability to hear appeals on final orders, non-final orders, and administrative actions from lower courts. Similar to the Florida Supreme Court and the district courts of appeal, the circuit courts of appeal have certiorari jurisdiction to review non-final orders of lower courts, except as proscribed in Rule 9.130. The district courts may also issue writs of mandamus, writs of prohibition, writs of habeas corpus, and quo warranto as required to exercise their jurisdiction.


If an action is not properly filed, the action can be dismissed without the ability to refile. Thus, determining the necessary mechanism to approach the court, and determining which court an appeal belongs in is critically important in ensuring that an appeal will be successful.


Appeals Law Group
Criminal Defense Attorneys


Appeals Law Group
Criminal Defense Attorneys
33 E Robinson St Suite 200 Orlando, FL 32801
Phone: 407-255-2165

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