(971) 237-3804 aron@mcminnvillelegal.com 315 NE Evans # 8-9 - McMinnville, OR 97128

The Perez-Selsky Law Office is proud to provide effective representation to appellants and respondents before Oregon’s high courts.

Appeals are among the most intellectually demanding fields of legal practice. Since appellate courts review trial court decision for legal error, appeal outcomes depend heavily on appellate counsel’s knowledge of statutes, judicial opinions, and the rules of appellate procedure. Without such knowledge, and the skill to write a clear legal argument, even a meritorious appeal will find no traction, leaving the appellant at the mercy of the trial court’s judgment.

A successful appeal demands the expertise of practiced, disciplined legal counsel. Aron Perez-Selsky has practiced extensively before Oregon’s appellate courts, resulting, to the benefit of his clients, in several opinions reversing trial court decisions. Call today to see whether an appeal can help your case.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can an appellate attorney help my case?

Appellate law is a specialty concerned with the representation of litigants in state and federal courts of review (“appellate courts”). Trial courts decide cases based on the law, argument, and evidence adduced by trial attorneys. When a litigant is unhappy with the decision of a trial court, they can appeal that decision to an appellate court.

Appellate law is a distinct field of practice with its own rules, procedures, and timelines. Even the most skilled trial attorneys may struggle with an appeal if they lack prior appellate experience. Further, a trial attorney may be ethically constrained from handling appeals where the quality of their trial work is at issue.

The window for filing an appeal is extremely small, so if you are unhappy with a decision it is essential that you contact an appellate attorney as soon as possible to explore your options.

When does an appeal need to be filed?

An appeal is initiated by the filing of a “notice of appeal.”

In most cases, the notice of appeal must be filed with the court and served on the opposing party no later than 30 days after the judgment from which the appeal is taken is entered into the court register. However, in a criminal or juvenile case, an appeal may be filed as late as 90 days after entry of judgment if the appellant can show that (1) the failure to file a timely notice of appeal was not attributable to the appellant personally; and (2) The appellant shows a colorable claim of error in the proceeding from which the appeal is taken.

The time for filing and serving a notice of appeal begins from the date the judgment is entered (in other words, the date the judgment is recorded in the court’s register).

Court deadlines are extremely strict, and exceptions to those deadlines rarely granted. If you wish to pursue an appeal it is essential that you speak with an appellate lawyer as soon as possible to preserve your right to appeal.

What issues can be raised in an appeal?

An appeal does not entail a re-hearing for the appellant, and the appellant may not submit new evidence in support of their argument. Rather, appellate courts review the trial court’s decision for legal error. In other words, appellate courts look at the trial court’s decision and decide whether the court made a mistake of law in reaching that decision.

For the appellate court to review an issue it must usually be “preserved” at the trial court level. Unless the court finds that the court committed “plain error” the appellant must first argue an issue before the trial court. If not, the issue is considered “unpreserved” and beyond the scope of appellate review.

Preservation rules are narrow, and even a meritorious issue may be ignored by the appellate court if trial counsel fails to preserve it. For this reason, a trial attorney may best serve his client by consulting with an appellate lawyer to ensure that strong issues are preserved for appellate review.

How can an appellate court ruling help my case?

In reviewing trial court decisions appellate courts rely on statutes, judicial opinions, maxims of construction, and the record created at the trial court to determine whether the court correctly applied the law to a given set of facts.

After employing these tools an appellate court will reach a decision. The appellate court may decide to uphold (“affirm”) or annul (“reverse” or “vacate”) the trial court’s decision. Sometimes appellate courts will “remand,” or send back the case to the trial court to take further action. The appellate court may instruct the trial court to conduct a new trial, impose a different sentence, or dismiss the case entirely. Appeals from agency decisions may result in an order requiring the agency to conduct a new hearing or issue a new order.

What is the sequence of an appeal?

All appeals start with the filing of a notice of appeal with the Court of Appeals upon the entry of judgment in circuit court (or the exhaustion of administrative appeals of an agency decision). The notice of appeal must be served on the opposing party at the time it is filed.

After the notice is filed and served a transcript of the proceeding from which the appeal is taken is prepared. Preparation of the transcript can take several weeks or months depending on its length.

Once the transcript is prepared it is disseminated to the parties and the appellant is given a date by which the opening brief must be filed with the court and served on the opposing party. Depending on the nature of the appeal this due date may be extended for good cause.

After the opening brief is filed the opposing party (or “respondent”) is given a due date for filing and serving its “answering” brief. The court also sets a submission date at which any party may request oral arguments.

After oral arguments the court takes the case under advisement, and eventually renders a decision. Sometimes this decision will result in an opinion describing the court’s reasoning and directing the trial court to take certain actions to effect its decision. Sometimes the decision will result in an “AWOP” or “affirmed without opinion,” upholding the trial court’s decision without explanation.

Any party to an appeal may petition the Supreme Court of Oregon for review of a Court of Appeals decision by filing a petition for review within 35 days of the issuance of that decision. Petitions for review are rarely granted. In the unlikely event that a petition for review is granted, the parties will repeat the sequence described above.

Decisions by the Oregon Supreme Court, including denials of petitions for review, are only reviewable by the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will only review state Supreme Court decisions in the extremely unlikely event that it grants a writ of certiorari to hear the appeal.

Is the judgment I am appealing enforceable during my appeal?

Appeals can often take years to resolve. In most cases, a judgment or agency decision will be enforceable against the losing party during the pendency of their appeal.

Enforcement of a judgment or agency decision may have serious immediate consequences inflicting irreversible harm on the losing party. Where that is the case, and where the appellant has a “colorable claim of error,” the appellant may petition the trial court or agency to “stay” enforcement of its decision pending the resolution of an appeal. A denial of a stay in most cases is reviewable by the Court of Appeals.

In most cases the filing of a notice of appeal does not automatically stay enforcement of a trial court judgment. If enforcement of an adverse judgment threatens immediate harm you need to speak with an appellate attorney as soon as possible to review your options.