Skip to content

1. Appeal routes


  • Alabama

    An appeal from a decision of a state circuit court judge on a petition for injunction or writ of mandamus is to the Supreme Court of Alabama pursuant to Alabama Code § 12-22-6 (1995) and Rule 4 of the Alabama Rules of Appellate Procedure.

    view more
  • Alaska

    Alaska has no intermediate court of appeals for civil cases, and appeals from decisions of the superior court are taken directly to the Alaska Supreme Court. It is possible to petition for review from a trial court decision that does not constitute a final judgment, though the acceptance of review is discretionary with the Supreme Court.

    view more
  • Arizona

    (This section is blank. See the point above.)

    view more
  • Arkansas

    Under the Court’s present rules, the appeal may be heard in the first instance by the Court of Appeals. Unless a case poses a question of state constitutional law or falls into certain categories not relevant here, appellate jurisdiction lies initially in the Court of Appeals. Ark. Sup. Ct. R. 1-2. Nonetheless, any appeal is subject to reassignment by the Supreme Court, which will consider such factors as whether the case suggests a need to clarify the law or presents an issue of first impression, a question of statutory interpretation, an issue of substantial public interest, or an issue on which there is a perceived inconsistency among prior decisions. Ark. Sup. Ct. R. 1-2(b).

    view more
  • California

    An order of the trial court under the CPRA is not appealable, but is immediately reviewable by petition to the appellate court for the issuance of an extraordinary writ. Cal. Gov't Code § 6259(c); Filarsky v. Superior Court, 28 Cal. 4th 419, 426-27, 121 Cal. Rptr. 2d 844, 49 P.3d 194 (2002)(purpose of requiring writ review is to minimize delay of disclosure); Powers v. City of Richmond, 10 Cal. 4th 85, 40 Cal. Rptr. 2d 839, 893 P.2d 1130 (1995). See, e.g., MiniCal Consumer Law Group v. Carlsbad Police Dept., 214 Cal. App. 4th 259, 261, 153 Cal. Rptr. 3d 577 (2013) (dismissing appeal from trial court’s order in CPRA action and affirming exclusive means to challenge order is a writ petition filed within 20 days after service of written notice of order’s entry).

    Additionally, as the California Supreme Court has held, trial court orders under the CPRA shall be reviewable on their merits. Times Mirror Co. v. Superior Court, 53 Cal. 3d 1325, 1336, 813 P.2d 240, 283 Cal. Rptr. 893 (1991).

    Orders either granting or denying attorney fees under Section 6259(d) are reviewable by appeal, however. Los Angeles Times v. Alameda Corridor Transp. Authority, 88 Cal. App. 4th 1381, 1388, 107 Cal. Rptr. 2d 29 (2001).

    It is nevertheless critical to win at the trial court level. The trial court should be presented with every piece of evidence and testimony, by declaration under penalty of perjury, that may persuade the court in favor of the petitioner, and which would make a complete record in the event that the trial court order becomes the subject of appellate review.

    view more
  • Colorado

    There are two routes of appealing a district court decision which upholds denial of access to public records.

    1. Appeal to the Court of Appeals pursuant to C.A.R. 4. This is the usual route. The drawbacks include a one-to-two year wait for a decision from the Court of Appeals, although this court has been more willing than the state Supreme Court to give effect to the Open Records Act. See, e.g., Western Services Inc. v. Sargent School Dist. No. RE-33J, 719 P.2d 355 (Colo. App. 1986), rev'd, 751 P.2d 56 (Colo. 1988).

    If the applicant seeks to challenge the constitutionality of the statute under which inspection of records has been denied, appeal may be taken directly to the Supreme Court. See Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-4-102(1)(b). When the proceeding raises a challenge to the constitutionality of the statute, a copy of the proceedings must be served on the attorney general under Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-51-115, and Colo. R. Civ. P. 57(j). In general, a person seeking to challenge the constitutionality of a statute should bring an action for declaratory judgment along with the application for an order to show cause.

    1. Petition for Writ to the Supreme Court pursuant to C.A.R. 21. In extraordinary cases, such as where immediate harm is threatened in the absence of disclosure, or where the issue presented is likely to arise again, the applicant may petition the Supreme Court directly under Appellate Rule 21 for a writ of mandamus directing the district court to order that inspection of public records be allowed. A Rule 21 petition is not a substitute for an appeal to the Court of Appeals.
    view more
  • Connecticut

    Appeal of decisions of the Superior Court may be taken to the Connecticut Appellate Court and, by certification from the Appellate Court's decision, to the Connecticut Supreme Court.

    view more
  • Delaware

    An appeal can be made to the Delaware Supreme Court. There are no intermediate appellate courts.

    view more
  • District of Columbia

    The rules governing appeals from the District of Columbia Superior Court apply.

    view more
  • Georgia

    Although the Georgia Constitution provides that the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction of "[a]ll equity cases," Ga. Const., Art. 6, § 6, ¶ III—as suits to enforce the Act typically are—the Court has held that "[c]ases in which the grant or denial of [equitable] relief was merely ancillary to underlying issues of law, or would have been a matter of routine once the underlying issues of law were resolved, are not 'equity cases,'" and that, even where equitable enforcement of the Act is sought, an appeal may properly be taken to the Court of Appeals if the appeal involves primarily an issue of law, such as the construction and application of the Act. Beauchamp v. Knight, 261 Ga. 608, 609, 409 S.E.2d 208 (1991).

    Accordingly, appeals in Open Records Act cases are now typically taken by the Georgia Court of Appeals.

    view more
  • Hawaii

    In Hawaii, appeals from all final judgments of the circuit courts are made to the Intermediate Court of Appeals. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 641-1(a).

    view more
  • Idaho

    The appeal of a district court decision is governed by the Idaho Appellate Rules, and thus is treated like any ordinary appeal.

    view more
  • Illinois

    Appeal of a denial by a circuit court of access to records is taken according to the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure, 735 ILCS 5/1-101 to 22-105, and the Illinois Supreme Court Rules.

    view more
  • Indiana

    An adverse decision is appealed to the Indiana Court of Appeals, see Indiana Appellate Rule 5, although a party can seek to go directly to the Supreme Court under Rule 56 of the Rules of Appellate Procedure in rare cases.

    view more
  • Iowa

    Appeal is taken by filing a notice with the clerk of court where judgment was entered. Iowa R. App. P. 6.102.

    view more
  • Kansas

    Appeal is to the Kansas Court of Appeals, then upon application for review (discretionary) to the Kansas Supreme Court.

    view more
  • Kentucky

    The losing party may file an appeal of right with the Kentucky Court of Appeals.

    view more
  • Louisiana

    The appeal route is to the state intermediate appellate court for the circuit where the district court is located, then, upon application for writ of certiorari, to the Louisiana Supreme Court.

    view more
  • Maine

    The only appeal from Superior Court is directly to the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine.

    view more
  • Maryland

    An appeal of a Circuit Court ruling must first be taken to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, which must accept the appeal. Further appeal is available then to the Court of Appeals, which has the discretion to accept or reject review. See Md. Rule § 8-301; see also Baltimore Sun Co. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, 359 Md. 653, 755 A.2d 1130 (2000).

    In some cases where a court orders a custodian to detail each record withheld or redacted in order to justify the decision the Maryland Court of Appeals has clarified that such orders are nonetheless immediately appealable as an appeal of an order granting injunctive relief. Office of the State Prosecutor v. Judicial Watch Inc., 356 Md. 118, 128, 737 A.2d 592, 597 (1999); see also Blythe v. State, 161 Md. App. 492, 521 (2005).

    view more
  • Massachusetts

    Normal civil appeal to Massachusetts Appeals Court. In some cases, interlocutory appeal to single justice of appeals court may be available. See G.L. c. 231, § 118.

    view more
  • Michigan

    Usual appeal procedures under Michigan Court Rules are available.

    view more
  • Montana

    Appeal of a district court decision is to the Montana Supreme Court.

    view more
  • Nebraska

    From district court to Nebraska Court of Appeals. See Neb. Rev. Stat. §24-1106 (Reissue 2016).

    view more
  • Nevada

    A district court’s order is appealable to the Nevada Supreme Court. NRAP 3.

    view more
  • New Hampshire

    A Superior Court ruling on a petition for access is deemed a final judgment, which may be appealed as of right to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

    view more
  • New Jersey

    Appeal from an adverse decision in the Superior Court, Law Division is to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court. Likewise, appeals from decisions of the Government Records Council are appealable to the Appellate Division. Further appeal is to the New Jersey Supreme Court.

    view more
  • New Mexico

    Court of Appeals and New Mexico Supreme Court.

    view more
  • North Carolina

    A decision of a District or Superior court denying access to a public record is appealable to the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

    view more
  • North Dakota

    Any appeal of a decision of the district court would be taken directly to the North Dakota Supreme Court.

    view more
  • Ohio

    Common pleas court judgments may be appealed to the court of appeals for the judicial district in which the common pleas court sits.

    Court of appeals judgments may be appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court.

    There is no state appellate court level beyond the Ohio Supreme Court.

    Court of Claims judgments are appealed to the Court of Appeals for Franklin County.

    view more
  • Oklahoma

    A final order may be appealed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. 12 O.S. § 952. The case may then be assigned to the Court of Appeals by the Supreme Court.

    view more
  • Oregon

    In Oregon, an appeal from a circuit court decision in a Public Records case is made exclusively to the Oregon Court of Appeals. If the requester is dissatisfied with the Court of Appeals’ decision, the requester may file a Petition for Review with the Oregon Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has discretion in whether to take petitions.

    Attorneys’ Fees. If the requester is successful in either reversing an adverse trial court judgment or in sustaining a trial court judgment requiring disclosure, the requester may also recover reasonable attorneys’ fees on appeal. Again, the requester has no liability for the public body’s fees if the requester is the losing party at the appellate level.

    view more
  • Rhode Island

    Appeal of a Superior Court decision is made directly to the Rhode Island Supreme Court.

    view more
  • South Carolina

    Appeals must be noticed to the South Carolina Court of Appeals.

    view more
  • South Dakota

    Circuit Court decisions may be appealed to the South Dakota Supreme Court.

    view more
  • Tennessee

    Appellate review is available, as the court's decision on the petition is a final judgment on the merits. T.C.A. § 10-7-505(b).

    view more
  • Texas

    The losing party may proceed to the intermediate Court of Appeals or the Texas Supreme Court by way of mandamus or, in some instances, by way of appeal. The normal rules for appellate actions found in the Texas Rules of Civil and Appellate Procedure apply.

    view more
  • Utah

    Depending on the identity of the agency or court that entered the order from which appeal is taken, the appeal will be either to the Utah Court of Appeals or to the Utah Supreme Court. See Utah Code §§ 78A-3-102, 78A-4-103.

    view more
  • Vermont

    Vermont does not have an intermediate appellate court, therefore any appeal of the trial court’s decision, will be to the Vermont Supreme Court.

    view more
  • Virginia

    A suit brought in General District Court may be appealed to Circuit Court for a de novo hearing. Appeals from Circuit Court are to the Virginia Supreme Court.

    view more
  • West Virginia

    The only appeal route from an adverse circuit court ruling in a FOIA suit is to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

    view more
  • Wisconsin

    Appeal is to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. Wis. Stat. § 808.03(1).

    view more
  • Wyoming

    A party appealing a decision from the district court may appeal to the Wyoming Supreme Court. A party who chooses to appeal a court decision should follow the Wyoming Rules of Appellate Procedure.

    view more