ALABAMA APPELLATE COURTS

Alabama Appellate Courts – An OverviewAlabama appellate Courts

There are three Alabama Appellate Courts; the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, and the Alabama Supreme Court.

THE ALABAMA COURT OF CIVIL APPEALS

The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals has exclusive jurisdiction over all cases where the amount involved, exclusive of interest and costs, does not exceed $50,000.   In addition, the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals’s  reviews all appeals from administrative agencies other than the Alabama Public Service Commission. The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals has exclusive jurisdiction over appeals and workers compensation cases, divorce cases, domestic relations cases, adoptions, and child custody cases.   The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals consists of five appellate judges elected statewide. The court is located in Montgomery Alabama.

THE ALABAMA COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS

The Alabama Court  of Criminal Appeals  Has exclusive appellate jurisdiction over appeals for all misdemeanors, including violation of town and city ordinances, habeas corpus, and all felonies, including all post-conviction writs and criminal cases.   The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals also consists of five appellate judges elected statewide.

THE ALABAMA SUPREME COURT

The Alabama Supreme Court is the highest court in the State of Alabama.   There are nine Supreme Court justices who sit on the Alabama Supreme Court in Montgomery Alabama.  One justice on the Alabama  Supreme Court is designated as the Chief Justice. The Chief Justice is the highest judicial position in the State of Alabama. The Chief Justice is responsible for the overall administration of the Alabama court system, and oversees the Alabama Administrative Office of Courts.

The Alabama Supreme Court reviews the decisions of the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals in the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals by way of a process called the writ of certiorari. If a person appealing a case is not satisfied with the decision of the Courts of Appeals that may apply to the Alabama Supreme Court requesting that the Alabama Supreme Court review the decision.   The review by the Alabama Supreme Court is strictly discretionary, meaning that the court does not have to review the decision below. If a writ of certiorari is granted the Alabama Supreme Court will allow the parties to brief the issues to the court. The Alabama Supreme Court will only grant review in certain limited circumstances such as where the case involves a novel legal issue or where there are no previous appellate decisions addressing a specific legal issue in the court feels that the state courts below need guidance. Additionally, appeals which involve constitutional issues are generally granted review by the Alabama Supreme Court.

From time to time the Alabama  Supreme Court may  assigned a  civil appeal to be heard by the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals. This process is called deflection. Where a civil appeal is deflected, the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals hears the appeal first.  However, their decision may be reviewed by the Alabama Supreme Court.