State Appellate Courts

State Appellate Courts

Most states have an intermediate level appellate court, which is generally called the court of appeals. State courts of appeals have panels of judges who review trial court decisions. The number of judges on apanel varies. For example, the Ohio appellate court system consists of 12 District Courts of Appeals, which have between 4 and 12 judges in each district. The court of appeals determines whether the trial judge followed proper procedure and correctly interpreted and applied the law to the facts of the case.

Qualification and Selection of State Appellate Court Judges

In most states, appellate judges have to be licensed attorneys. Some states require a minimum of 5 to 10 years in practice before an attorney can qualify for an appellate court judgeship. The most common methods of selecting state appellate judges are by statewide election or by appointment of the governor.

Removal of State Appellate Court Judges

The method of removing a state appellate judge varies by state. In most states, an appellate judge can be removed by impeachment or by a recommendation of the state supreme court.

Courts of Last Resort

Parties in a case can appeal to the court of last resort (generally called the state supreme court) if the party thinks there was a legal error in a decision of the state court of appeals. State supreme courts consist of panels of generally between 5 to 9 judges. The decision of the state supreme court is final except in matters in which review by the U.S. Supreme is available.

Qualification and Selection of State Supreme Court Judges

The qualifications required to be a judge on the state supreme court are comparable to the requirements for state appellate court judges. In most states, a supreme court judge has to be a licensed attorney. In some states, a minimum number of years in practice are required before an attorney can become a supreme court judge. Supreme court judges generally are either elected by the voters in the state or appointed by the governor of the state.

Selection, Administrative Duties, and Responsibilities of the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court

The method of selection for the chief justice of the state supreme court varies by state. In some states, the chief justice is selected by statewide ballot. In some states, the governor appoints the chief justice, and in other states, the chief justice is chosen by a vote of the supreme court. The chief justice is generally the administrative head of the state court system and has supervisory responsibility for support staff. The chief justice manages preparation and submission of the budget for the judicial branch. The chief justice also is responsible for assigning cases and presiding over oral arguments.

Removal of State Supreme Court Judges

In general, a state supreme court judge can be removed from office by impeachment or by order of the state supreme court. States have judicial disciplinary commissions which will investigate charges of misconduct and recommend or take appropriate disciplinary action.

Copyright 2011 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.


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