Illinois Appellate Court is split into five judicial districts. The First District is made up one only one single county: Cook County. The other districts are comprised of equal-sized regions that include multiple counties. The appellate website describes this as: “the remaining four judicial districts of substantially equal population, each of which shall be compact and composed of contiguous counties."
Any court decision made by a judge in Circuit Court can be appealed in the Illinois Appellate Court. The only person in the state not allowed to appeal a case is the State’s Attorney who “cannot appeal a verdict of not guilty.” When someone is dissatisfied with the outcome for their case, and they take it to the Appellate Court, three Appellate Court judges will review the entire case along with oral arguments and briefs prepared by each side’s lawyer. The panel of judges will form an opinion on whether or not any errors were made during the first trial. They must agree 2 to 1 for a majority. If they present an opinion that overturned the original verdict, it will be published and may affect laws going forward. If they find an error was made, another option is the Appellate Court may remand the case back for a brand-new trial.
If any party still disagrees after the Appellate Court has reviewed their case, they can do one of two things: 1) they can ask for another review by the Appellate Court, or 2) they can ask that it be taken to the Supreme Court. Very few cases requested to be reviewed at the Supreme Court level are approved.
On average the Illinois Appellate Court hears 6200 cases per year. Of those, 3,400 are civil cases, and 2800 are criminal cases.