Iowa Supreme Court and Appellate Court Review
While you may have only one chance at life, American law sometimes gives you a second chance. That second chance is found at the appellate courts. Appellate courts review the work of the lower court to make sure the law has been properly applied. To do well in an appellate court, you need an experienced appellate lawyer with special skills and abilities – someone who can persuade three or more legal minds that your view of the law is correct, even if the trial judge disagreed with you. That takes a special lawyer and one that specializes in appellate law.
Iowa Appellate Law
Iowa has two appellate courts, the Court of Appeals and the Iowa Supreme Court. The Iowa Court of Appeals is the state's intermediate appellate court. The court of appeals reviews hundreds of cases annually which were initiated at some lower court level, i.e., state district court, conciliation court or workers' compensation court.
The Iowa Supreme Court is Iowa's final appellate court. Litigants who believe the court of appeals erred may petition the Supreme Court to review the Court of Appeal's decision. Aggrieved parties do not have an absolute right to appeal to the Supreme Court. In fact, the Supreme Court receives hundreds of petitions for review annually but accepts relatively few cases. Depending on the issue involved, a party who is dissatisfied with the Supreme Court's decision may ask a federal court to review the Supreme Court's decision.
The State of Iowa is in the federal eighth judicial circuit. Litigants may bring certain cases in federal court rather than in state district court, depending on the issues and parties involved. The first level federal court is the United States District Court for the District of Iowa. Parties who wish to have district court decisions reviewed appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
United States Supreme Court
In civil and criminal cases, the individual has 90 days to petition the United States Supreme Court after receiving a final judgment from the highest court in Iowa