appellate procedure

Abuse of Discretion

Definition

A standard of review used by appellate courts to review decisions of lower courts. The appellate court will typically find that the decision was an abuse of discretion if the discretionary decision was made in plain error.

Overview

The...

Adequate and Independent State Grounds

Refers to the standard used by the Supreme Court to determine if it will hear a case from a state court. The Supreme Court will hear a case from a state court only if the state court judgment turned on federal grounds. It will refuse jurisdiction if...

Adjudicate

See: Adjudication

Adjudication

Adjudication refers to the legal process of resolving a dispute or deciding a case. When a claim is brought, courts identify the rights of the parties at that particular moment by analyzing what were, in law, the rights and wrongs of their...

Affirm

There are several, related usages of the word “affirm” in a legal context; but, generally it means “to confirm or ratify.” Common occurrences of this word include:

An appellate court can affirm the ruling that was the subject of the appeal...

After-Discovered Evidence

Definition

In a civil or criminal case, evidence that existed at the time of a motion or trial but that could not have been discovered with reasonable diligence prior to a court ruling upon the motion or the trial's completion. Upon later discovery, a...

Agreed Statement of Facts

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law DictionaryA statement of facts, agreed to by the parties to a lawsuit (at trial or on appeal) and submitted to the court in writing.

Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.

Amicus Curiae

Latin for "friend of the court." Plural is "amici curiae." Frequently, a person or group who is not a party to an action, but has a strong interest in the matter, will petition the court for permission to submit a brief in the action with the intent of...

Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA)

Major mid-1990s reform of habeas corpus as used to challenge criminal convictions. Among other provisions, the law limits both the procedural and substantive scope of the writ. Procedurally, it bans successive petitions by the same person, requiring...

Appeal

A challenge to a previous legal determination. An appeal is directed towards a legal power higher than the power making the challenged determination. In most states and the federal system, trial court determinations can be appealed in an appellate court...

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