Nov 05, 2021

In my book titled “Minority Viewpoint – my experience, as a person of color, with the American Justice System”, I have provided a brief description of the appeal process in the civil defamation case that I had filed. I found it to be a very interesting process.

The first point was that the appeal would be heard before a three judge panel. I was also informed that the appeal hearing would consist of a strictly timed 35 minute oral argument between both sides’ lawyers in front of the three judge panel. My lawyer would get to speak for the first 15 minutes, while the other party’s lawyer would then have the second 15 minute period to respond. And finally, my lawyer would have the last five minutes to re-highlight the points of our case.

Though my lawyer had her presentation well prepared, she explained that she might not be able to make all her points should the panel interrupt her with questions. She said not to feel panicked if this happened, as she would have those last five minutes to tie up any loose ends.

The panel would already be familiar with the legal briefs we had filed with the court of appeals – meaning the written arguments we had submitted in support of our case in the previous months. Typically the legal briefs would have considerable weight in the panel’s final ruling on the matter. Some legal experts believe that once the panel reads the briefs they probably would have already made up their minds.

My lawyer explained that her comments would depend on the reactions of the panel as well as the arguments made against me by the other party’s lawyer. I also understood that the panel’s ruling would be influenced by how the legal issues in my case may affect other similar cases. I felt that my lawyer really knew how to deal with the appellate process and it certainly was a learning experience for me.

© 2017 - Sumi Mukherjee
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