The only jurisdictional requirement for an appeal to an Alabama appellate court is the timely filing of a notice of appeal. If you file your notice of appeal after the deadline, the appeal will be dismissed and, of course, you will never get to argue your client's case. (Hint: In order to avoid this fate, read Alabama Rule of Appellate Procedure 4).
However, even if an appeal is timely filed, the court may still ignore your arguments under certain circumstances. Arguments that will not be considered include:
- Arguments unsupported by adequate citations to legal authority.
- Arguments made by an appellant for the first time on appeal.
- Arguments made for the first time in an appellant's reply brief.
- Arguments made for the first time on application for rehearing.
If you do not want to have your argument ignored, remember these points regarding the fundamental nature of the appellate process:
- It is not the appellate court's responsibility to do your legal research.
- It would not be fair to reverse a trial court where it was never given the opportunity to correctly decide a legal issue.
- A party to an appeal must always have an opportunity to respond to the other party's arguments.
- The purpose of an application for rehearing is to point out the law or facts the applicant believes that the court overlooked or misapprehended.