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Legal Memorandum: Effect of Filing a Notice of Appeal

Issue: Whether filing a notice of appeal would confer jurisdiction on the court of appeals and divest the district court of control over those aspects of a case involved on an appeal and are there special considerations for criminal contempt judgments?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Notice of appeal; Jurisdiction of court of appeals; Criminal contempt proceedings
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 38 F.3d 402; 607 F.2d 1043; 54 F.3d 535
Cited Statutes: 8 U.S.C. § 1291
Date: 05/01/2008

The general rule is that “filing a notice of appeal confers jurisdiction on the court of appeals and divests the district court of control over those aspects of the case involved on the appeal.”  Marrese v. Am. Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 470 U.S. 373 (1985) (citing Griggs v. Provident Consumer Discount Co., 459 U.S. 56, 58 (1982) (per curiam).  However, the trial court is not divested of jurisdiction of (1) the underlying action when an order of criminal contempt is appealed; or (2) those aspects of the case not involved in the appeal when an interlocutory order is appealed.  Id.  And “criminal contempt judgments are immediately appealable . . . because they result from a separate and independent proceeding . . . and are not a part of the original cause.   Marrese 470 U.S. at 379.   Accordingly, if the appealed criminal contempt judgments are merely collateral to and “not part of the original cause,” an appeal involving such orders provides no basis for divesting the trial court of jurisdiction over the underlying action.   See id.

Moreover, even if contempt orders are viewed as interlocutory orders, an appeal involving such orders does not divest a Court of jurisdiction over any matters not at issue in the appeal; rather, jurisdiction is retained in the trial court except with respect to “those aspects of the case involved with the appeal.”  Griggs 459 U.S. at 58.  

Criminal contempt proceedings are deemed “separate from the actions which spawned them.”  Latrobe Steel Co. v. United Steelworkers of […]

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