General Litigation Newsletters
Generally, a litigant can file an appeal of a state trial court's final decision as a matter of right. The appeal is filed with the intermediate appellate court of the state. There is a distinction between mandatory review by the court of appeals and discretionary review by the state's highest court. A litigant is not entitled to a second appeal as of right to the supreme court.
The federal court system consists of federal trial courts and two levels of federal appellate courts--courts of appeals and the Supreme Court of the United States.
Criminal litigation involves the government's prosecution of a person because of an alleged commission of a crime. Criminal behavior is punished by imposing a fine and/or imprisonment on the offender. All criminal proceedings are initiated by a government entity. General civil litigation, on the other hand, involves disputes between private parties. A civil lawsuit is initiated by one person against another person, business, or government entity. There can be multiple plaintiffs (person suing) and/or multiple defendan
Many people cannot afford to hire an attorney to help them with their legal problems. State and federal programs, such as Legal Aid and Legal Services, provide pro bono or free legal services. Bar associations, law schools, and non-profit groups also provide free or low-cost legal assistance to those who could not otherwise afford an attorney because they have limited financial means.
A writ of mandamus is a court order that directs a person (such as a public official) or entity (such as a company or a lower court) to perform a specific act that is related to that person's office. A writ of mandamus is an extraordinary legal remedy, which should only be granted in exceptional circumstances. Where another adequate remedy exists, the courts will generally refuse to issue a writ.