What is an Amicus Brief?
Despite the name, a final judgment from a trial court is not always the end of a case. Appeal of the trial court judgment is often the next step in the timeline of a case. On appeal, typically, the Courts of Appeal are only restricted to the issues and factual record that were present in the trial court. That means no new evidence can be presented, and outside of a few exceptions, no new legal issues can be presented. Sometimes the appeal is based in a misinterpretation or a misapplication of law. Thus, many appeals focus on legal arguments and rely on old legal cases to argue how the law was misapplied. But at other times, the appellate court has an opportunity to set a new precedent or to distinguish the application of law to a set of facts. In these instances, there lies potential for far-ranging consequences of the Court’s decision. In such cases, interested organizations and attorneys will often want to weigh in on the matter, and attempt to persuade the Court. Remember that on appeal it is still plaintiff versus defendant, so these outside parties’ opinions may not always have any effect. Continue reading →