What if I do not agree with the appellate court's decision?

There are two appellate courts in Massachusetts. The lower court is the Appeals Court. The highest state court is the Supreme Judicial Court. Once a case is considered by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, further appeal would be taken to the Supreme Court of the United States.


The Massachusetts Appeals Court is the entry point for most appellate cases. About 1,800 cases enter the Appeals Court each year. About half of those cases are appeals from criminal convictions and the remainder are civil appeals (i.e., non-criminal). A party dissatisfied with the decision of the Appeals Court may seek further appellate review in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC).


The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is the highest state court, the State's court of last resort. About 200 cases enter the Supreme Judicial Court each year. About half of those cases enter directly, by statute (e.g., all first degree murder convictions). The remainder entered the Appeals Court and then were accepted by the Supreme Judicial Court on its own motion, on direct appellate review, or for further appellate review.


If your case presents a significant federal issue, it can be further appealed from the Supreme Judicial Court to the Supreme Court of the United States. The U.S. Supreme Court is our nation's court of last resort. Appellate Attorney William Driscoll has sought a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court.


More answers to frequently ask questions about appeals are available on this website. If you have additional questions, or are ready to proceed with your appeal, call Appellate Attorney William Driscoll at 978-846-5184.