We have a problem in our CA civil law appeals especially family law.

When examining the appellate court cases from all six appellate districts a distinct pattern emerges. Civil cases, especially family law cases, where appellants out of financial necessity have to represent themselves, as they cannot afford the $ 5000, -$ 10,000 required for an appellate attorney, are routinely affirmed for failing to present an adequate record.

The appellate record is key to presenting your argument for an appeal and it needs to be referenced in the brief that is submitted to the appellate court.

Our courts are using a different standard when it comes to civil and criminal/juvenile cases where an attorney is appointed in criminal and juvenile cases and the record on appeal is filed before the attorney is appointed by the court.  In civil cases, including family law cases, a litigant has to file the notice of appeal, the notice designating the record on appeal listing the documents and reporters transcript that are expected to be part of the appeal and the civil case information statement. A process which is daunting for any lay person, not experienced in the field of appellate law.

The current process discriminates against certain litigants and is not equal across the board resulting in prejudicial harm to civil self represented litigants who cannot afford the fees for an attorney.  The appellate courts mainly deal with court appointed attorneys in juvenile and criminal cases. They are often frustrated with the self represented litigant who does not provide the entire record for an appeal which automatically dooms the appeal to failure.    The fourteenth amendment species that substantive and procedural due process needs to be applied equally to everyone.  This is certainly not the case when it comes to filing the record of an appeal.   The below appellate court docket sheets illustrate the difference in procedures.





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