Oklahoma is different than most states because they have established two courts of appeal, splitting out civil and criminal claims. Cases from District Courts or other lower courts may be appealed to either the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals or the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals. In each case, the original case is reviewed to ensure that the law was applied correctly, and no errors were made in determining the verdict. A panel of three judges sits to decide and form an “opinion.” These opinions can change the outcome of a previously tried case.
Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals - this court has appellate jurisdiction over all criminal cases and is considered the highest court and the court of last resort regarding criminal matters. The State Constitution established the Court of Criminal Appeals in 1907. Cases that end up here do not have the option of moving up to the Supreme Court; this is the final decision. Judges presiding over the Court of Criminal Appeals are chosen by the Governor from a list created by the Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Commission. If there is any question of whether a case belongs here or in the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals, the Supreme Court makes a ruling as to which has jurisdiction.
Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals - all civil appeals go to the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals. This court is responsible for the majority of appellate decisions in the state. All opinions are published for public consumption by the Court of Civil Appeals or the Supreme Court. This court is split into four divisions. Each division has three judges who sit to review cases. Divisions I and III are located in Oklahoma City in the Denver Davison Building and Divisions II and IV and in Tulsa at the Kerr-Edmondson Building.