In certain circumstances, a person is required to have an administrative review of their case or claim before filing a lawsuit in court. If a person participates in an administrative review and disagrees with the administrative decision, that person may then appeal the decision to the Alaska Superior Court if the decision was made by a state administrative agency. If the decision was made by a federal administrative agency, the appeal would have to be filed with the Federal District Court.
In cases where administrative reviews are not required, a person may proceed with their criminal or civil case in either District or Superior Court, also known as the “trial courts”. When a trial court makes a decision that is invalid or questionable under the law, a person has the right to appeal the trial court’s decision to a higher court.
If the District Court decides a case, an appeal can be brought before the Superior Court, or in some criminal cases, an appeal can be filed directly with the Alaska Court of Appeals.
In Alaska, all criminal cases are appealed to the Alaska Court of Appeals. The Alaska Court of Appeals does not hear civil cases. All criminal defendants have the right to appeal their case to the Alaska Court of Appeals. If the Court of Appeals issues a decision that a criminal defendant believes is invalid or questionable under the law, the defendant can petition the Alaska Supreme Court, which is the highest court in Alaska, to review their case. The Supreme Court then decides whether to grant the defendant’s request to hear the appeal from the Court of Appeals. The Alaska Supreme Court’s decision to hear a criminal appeal from the Court of Appeals is discretionary, and not all petitions are granted.
In civil cases, parties have the right to appeal decisions from the Superior Court to the Alaska Supreme Court if a party believes that the Superior Court made a decision that is invalid or questionable under the law.
In certain circumstances, a state court decision can be appealed to the Federal Court, but only when there is a federal question involved. A federal question involves a violation of the United States Constitution, federal law, or a treaty to which the United States is a party.
If you want to appeal a decision, it is imperative that you see an attorney immediately, as there is short period of time in which you can appeal a decision. If you do not appeal within the required timeframe, your appeal will be deemed waived and you will not be able to file an appeal. An attorney can advise you regarding the required deadlines for filing an appeal, determine which court you should to appeal to, and can draft the appeal for you.