Perfecting your appeal

The notice of appeal, designation of record, and certificate of compliance:
First file the notice of appeal. MRAP 3 and 4. This is the one document you need to file on time. The other two come afterwards. The notice is filed with the trial court (mail a copy to the Mississippi Supreme Court, the trial judge, the court reporter and opposing counsel). Send with it a check for $200.00 for the filing fee. (Seems like you make the check out to the Miss. S.Ct.)

The notice must be filed within thirty days of the order you are appealing. If you’ve filed a timely (within ten days) motion for new trial or motion for reconsideration, you’ll have thirty days after the order denying the motion is entered. MRAP 4(d). (Prematurely filed notice: “A notice of appeal filed after the announcement of a decision or order but before the entry of the judgment or order shall be treated as filed after such entry and on the day of the entry.” MRAP 4(b)). A rule 60(b) motion will not stop your time to file the notice of appeal. MRAP 4(d).

File a designation of the record in the trial court (copy the Miss. S.Ct. and the court reporter, if any). MRAP 10. The rule says this is due within seven days of the notice of appeal. This document designates which of the clerk’s papers (clerk’s papers are everything that is filed) you want to go up to the appeals court. Also designate what transcripts you want as in: the hearing on Feb. 22, 2014, the hearing on April 12, 2014, and the entire trial beginning May 2, 2014 except for jury selection. The easy way out is to ask that everything be made part of the record on appeal. This costs your client money he does not need to spend and gunks up the record with stuff no one needs. But don’t leave anything necessary out. It is the appellant’s responsibility to see to it that the record is sufficient for the court to rule on the issues presented.

Contact the clerk and the court reporter/s. Ask them to give you an estimate of what this will cost. There will be 1) the cost for assembling the clerk’s papers and 2) the costs of transcribing the hearings\trial. (This is where you will really appreciate clerks and court reporters who provide an e- mail address). If you don’t get an estimate, make a good faith stab at it yourself. The estimate is needed to file your certificate of compliance with MRAP 11 which basically informs everyone you’ve deposited x number of dollars with the court in anticipation of the costs of putting together the record and transcribing the hearings/trial. File the certificate with the trial court along with your check (made out to the trial court clerk; you may be paying the court reporter separately) for the record preparation. If the estimate is too little, you will be billed.

Record review:
Once these three documents are filed, the Miss.S.Ct. clerk advises the trial court a due date for the record to be completed. Once the record is completed, both sides have two weeks each to look at the record and add anything. MRAP 10(b)(5). When this is finished, the record is sent to the Miss.S.Ct. and the case is docketed. If you are the appellant, you’ll get a letter telling you your brief is due within 40 days of the date of the docketing letter.

You pretty much get three extensions “automatically” as in you’ll get them if you request them by motion. The first is for 30 days, the second for 20 and the third for 10. (Each will cost you $20.00). The clerk has the authority to grant these extensions and you don’t need to put any reasons for them in your motion. Any requests for extensions after that go to a justice to decide.

Criminal cases:
If you are representing a criminal defendant at trial, you have an obligation to file a timely notice of appeal if the client requests an appeal. This does not mean that you are stuck doing the appeal for no money. But as a trial lawyer you have an obligation to see to it that the appeal is perfected.

3 thoughts on “Perfecting your appeal

  1. I can’t find in the MRAP or in the forms for the designation & the 11b1 cert that the clerk of the MSSC has to be served, but the MSSC is happy to threaten to dismiss your appeal if you *don’t* serve them copies.

    Another note to file away for needed revisions to the MRAP ….

    • When my case is in Hinds County, I WANT to serve the Mississippi Supreme Court. THat way I have proof it has been done. The last time I mailed something for filing to the Hinds County Circuit Court, I got my copy back (in my self-addressed stamped envelope) SIX MONTHS later. All I can imagine is piles and piles of documents in that office that may or may not get where they need to go.

  2. Pingback: Perfecting Your Appeal | The Better Chancery Practice Blog

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