Petitions for Review
Preparing Petitions for Review with the Supreme Court
The California Supreme Court ordinarily receives about 5,000 petitions for review each year, but grants fewer than 200, and most of those are “held” or “transferred” rather than reviewed by the Court. Yet, our counsel has bucked the odds eight times and convinced the Court to grant the petition. As one of the few California Supreme Court alumni in private practice, he knows what the Supreme Court looks for in deciding whether to grant review. We can assist clients, or other counsel, with this challenging task.
What is a Petition for Review?
The California Constitution does not give an automatic right to appeal to the California Supreme Court – unless it is a death penalty case appeal.
Instead, parties seeking further review review of an appellate court’s decision must present a petition for review to the Supreme Court. A party must file and serve its petition within ten days after the Court of Appeal’s decision is final. The petition must include issues and grounds for review, and any arguments and supporting authorities.
What Happens Once a Petition for Review is Filed?
Once the Petition is filed, it is assigned to a central staff member depending on the type of case, (civil, criminal, or capital) or to one of the justices to prepare a conference memorandum.
The conference memorandum will list one of the following possible recommendations:
If the court grants the petition for review, the parties file briefs on the merits of the case. The Supreme Court may limit the issues included in the briefs or request the parties brief additional issues, which were not raised in the petition for review. Briefs on the merits must be filed and served within 30 days after the Court grants the petition for review, unless the Court grants an extension of time. The opposing party has 30 days to file and serve an answer brief (or to file the brief submitted to the appellate court). The petitioning party then has an opportunity to file a third, reply brief, as occurs before the Court of Appeal. Supreme Court review is a lengthy process, and can take over a year just to reach the oral argument phase.
Grant and Hold
The Supreme Court may issue a “grant and hold” order. This is technically a granted review, but the case is held until a related pending (leading) case is resolved. Sometimes there are cases already pending that raise similar issues. In these situations, the court orders that the petition be held until the outcome of the leading case.
Once the leading case has been decided, the Court may transfer the case to the appellate court for reconsideration in light of the recent opinion of the leading case. However, if the Court determines that the appellate court’s decision was consistent with the outcome of the leading case, the petition is dismissed.
Grant and Transfer
The Court may determine that the case warrants additional appellate review and may grant the petition but transfer the case back to the Court of Appeal for further review by the appellate court. The Supreme Court may also transfer a case that was previously held based on the outcome of the leading case.
What Happens When a Petition for Review is Denied?
When the Supreme Court denies a petition for review, the case is dismissed; the appellate court decision is upheld, and there are no further appeals available in California state courts.
How Long Does a Petition for Review Take?
The court has 60 days from receipt of the Petition to grant or deny the Petition but may give itself an additional 30 days. If the court does not rule within that time, the petition is deemed denied. If the petition is granted, it could more than a year for a final decision.
Who Can File a petition for review?
While any party may file a petition for review of an appellate court decision, there are strict rules and guidelines for filing these petitions. We encourage you to contact an experienced appellate attorney to discuss your options in filing a Petition for Review.
A petition for review requires expertise in appellate court practice and, if successful, will require written briefs and oral argument on the issues before the California Supreme Court.
Contact an Experienced Appellate Attorney
The rules for preparing and filing a petition for review are very complex and can be very confusing. You should consult with an experienced appellate attorney who understands how the Court of Appeal and Supreme Courts operate to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
Before you start a petition for review, contact Mitchell Keiter at Keiter Appellate Law first.