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Virginia Appellate Process

In the petition process for the Virginia Court of Appeals, the appellant will file a petition outlining the reasons why the appeal should be heard. The appellee will then file a petition outlining the reasons they feel that it shouldn’t be heard.

At this point, the appellant has two options. He or she can either file a reply brief which addresses the argument made in the opposition to the petition filed by the appellee, or they can request that the petition be argued orally in front of a panel of the Virginia Court of Appeals.

If the reply brief is filed, there will be no oral argument on the petition. It’s up to a Virginia appeals attorney to determine which one is the better option given the issues in play.

Writ Panels in Virginia

A writ panel is a panel of judges on the Court of Appeals which reviews denials of petitions for appeal. It is a panel of three judges. If an appeal is denied, the appellant can petition the writ panel to grant the petition. All it takes is one of the three judges to determine the petition should be granted and the appeal to proceed in the Court of Appeals.

If all three judges on the writ panel agree that the petition should be denied, then it is denied and the appellant is left to determine whether to appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court or whether to terminate the appeal.

After an Oral Argument

After an oral argument either in the Court of Appeals or in the Supreme Court of Virginia, the court will recess and they will formulate an opinion in the case which they will issue in written form. That opinion will be their ruling on the case and will issue any orders on how the case is to proceed either affirming the judgment, or overturning it and usually remanding it back to the trial court with instructions on how to proceed.

There’s not necessarily a set time on how long it takes for these opinions to be issued. A lot of it depends on the complexity of the issues and the priority of the case on the docket. Both parties in limbo until the order comes down from either the Court of Appeals or the Virginia Supreme Court.

Withdrawing an Appeal in Virginia

An appeal can be withdrawn at any time by filing a written notice with the clerk of the court that the appeal is being heard in. There are not that many good reasons why an appeal will be withdrawn prior to being settled in a criminal matter other than just possibly the appellant having a change of heart or maybe the case getting too expensive or something along those lines. But in civil cases, appeals are often withdrawn if the case is settled.

If a case is settled, it can be withdrawn at any time, although the appeals court may still remand the case back to the trial court for further action if the settlement requires. Speak with an experienced Virginia appeals lawyer for further information about how to withdraw an appeal that has been filed.

When Appeal is Remanded to Trial Court

If a case is remanded back to the trial court, it means that the trial court will proceed with a new trial, or sentencing, or whatever judgment is being overturned. They will proceed with this new trial and new sentencing hearing according to the instructions of the appellate court. If there was a mistake made, they know now from the order of the Court of Appeals or the order of the Virginia Supreme Court not to make that mistake again.

Because the judgment is vacated the door is open again for the case to be settled by a plea agreement or to be dismissed by the government. But if a new trial happens, it will happen according to the instruction given by the appellate court.

If a case is remanded to the Circuit Court from the Court of Appeals or from the Virginia Supreme Court, it will come with instructions on things that the Circuit Court will have to do differently in the new proceedings. The Circuit Court is bound by the judgment of the higher court to make any changes that are ordered.