Supreme Court Review
Supreme Court Review
Although many a disappointed litigant has threatened to appeal its case “all the way to the Supreme Court,” review of any case by the United States Supreme Court is hard to come by. This difficulty in obtaining Supreme Court review in turn serves to heighten the significance of any opinion rendered by the Court.
Following a finding of guilty every convicted defendant has a right to file a direct criminal appeal where an appellate court hears the arguments and issues raised by the defendant on appeal. The appellate court is not the final arbiter, instead, the final say is either the Supreme Court of Illinois or the United States Supreme Court (“the Supremes”). However, appealing to the Supremes is not an easy endeavor. For starters, the Supremes pick and choose which cases they want to hear and which cases they pass on hearing. In fact, the vast majority of cases that petition for Supreme Court review are rejected and never heard by the Supreme Court.
Unlike a direct appeal, where you have a right to have an appellate court hear your appeal regardless of how frivolous it maybe, the Supremes decides which cases it wants to hear. Because of this, the vast majority of appeals filed in either Supreme Court are rejected and never considered.
How does Supreme Court Review work?
The Supreme Court really does not focus upon whether the lower courts reached the correct decision in a particular case; instead, the Supreme Court decides when lower courts have reached opposite rulings based upon a similar set of facts or when the issue involves a matter of first impression. Essentially, the Supreme Court usually will not take a case unless it involves unsettled issues of law or issues that carry ramifications beyond whether the appellate or trial court ruled correctly. Aside from these, the Supreme Court also takes that involve the constitutionality of a statute. In fact, a party can bypass review in the appellate court and appeal directly to the Supreme Court when a trial court finds a statute unconstitutional.
Prior to seeking Supreme Court review, the party must gain permission by filing either a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court or a petition for leave to appeal with the Illinois Court. The writ or petition must establish why the Supreme Court review is appropriate or why the Supreme Court needs to clarify a particular unsettled issue. The granting of the writ or the petition for leave to appeal is not a victory on the merits of the case or even an indication that you will be successful after review by the Supreme Court. Instead, the true battle begins after gaining leave to appeal to the Supreme Court because that is when you are given the opportunity to convince the Supreme Court that your position is correct.
An appeal to the either the Supreme Court of Illinois or the United States Supreme Court (“the Supremes”) is not an easy endeavor. For starters, the Supreme Court does not have to hear your case
When Does the Supreme Court Hear an Appeal?
Except in certain limited cases such as when a trial court rules a law unconstitutional, the Supreme Court only considers appeals that have been decided by the appellate courts. However, the Supreme Court’s main concern is not whether the appellate court decided correctly; rather, the concern is to resolve disputes among the various appellate courts. The Supreme Court usually will not take a case unless it involves unsettled issues of law or issues that carry ramifications beyond whether the appellate or trial court ruled correctly.
However, getting the Supreme Court to accept your case is only the beginning of the battle. When the Supreme Court grants your petition to leave to appeal in Illinois or writ of certiorari in federal case it is not deciding the case, rather all the Court is saying is that it is willing to consider your case by allowing you to file an appellate brief.
Areas We Serve
Centrally located in Du Page County we represent clients in trial and appellate courts throughout Illinois including the counties of Cook County, Du Page County; Will County, and Kane County. We have won on behalf of clients at the Daley Center; 26th and California; Bridgeview; Skokie; Rolling Meadows; Maywood; Markham; and all the branch courts in Chicago; and the Northern District of Illinois along with all five Illinois Appellate Courts and the federal circuit court of appeals.