The Louisiana Court of Appeals is the intermediate court of appeals for the state. All lower courts in the state send their appeals to the Louisiana Court of Appeals. When a losing party in a trial wants to appeal the verdict, the Court of Appeals reviews the case using a panel of three judges. Only two have to agree to make a majority vote. They review the case files and court transcript along with briefs prepared by each side and oral arguments. After that, they decide whether or not there were any errors made in the original trial. Sometimes they will order a new trial back in the original court. Other instances they will override the original verdict and publish an “opinion.”
Cases that are reviewed in the Louisiana Court of Appeals may be taken to the Supreme Court if necessary. However, the Supreme Court hears very few cases per year. The Court of Appeals has appellate jurisdiction over all civil matters from Juvenile and Family Courts and criminal matters from District Courts except where the Supreme Court has exclusive jurisdiction.
The Louisiana Supreme Court oversees the Court of Appeals and assigns cases to it. Court clerks for the Supreme Court serve and support the Court of Appeals judges. There are 53 judges in the Louisiana Court of Appeals. Judges who sit in the Court of Appeals are elected into office and serve ten-year terms. If there are vacancies, they are filled using special elections. There are five distinct Courts of Appeal in Louisiana. In each one, the judge who has served the longest is the Chief Justice and assumes an administrative and supervisory role over the others.
For the last year calculated, Louisiana’s Court of Appeals saw 1,380 civil filings and 517 criminal filings.