Supreme Court Glossary
This glossary is included to assist in understanding the statistical tables.
Notice Of Appeal - A review of a trial court decision in these select circumstances: review is authorized statutorily; an issue of constitutionality is involved; conflicting appellate decisions are at issue; questions of public importance are raised; or, the death penalty was decreed. Notices of appeal directly following a judgment in a superior court as a matter of right must be filed within 30 days. Notices of appeal are categorized into criminal and civil appeals.
Cases opened on notice of appeal can reach the Supreme Court by these means: direct appeal from trial court; certification by the Court of Appeals; granting of a motion to transfer an appeal from the Court of Appeals; or an administrative transfer initiated by the Supreme Court to relieve pressure on the Court of Appeals or because a similar case is already being heard by the Supreme Court.
Petitions For Review - A review of any Court of Appeals' decision terminating review. The Supreme Court only accepts reviews of decisions that conflict with other Supreme Court or Court of Appeals' decisions, that involve a significant question of law under the federal or state constitution, or that concern "an issue of substantial public interest..." (Rules of Appellate Procedure (RAP) 13.4).
Other Reviews - The five following categories are grouped under the title "Other Reviews": personal restraint petitions, discretionary reviews, original actions against state officers, petitions for expenditures of public funds, and reviews certified from federal court.
Personal Restraint Petition - A petition to seek relief from limitations on a person's freedom due to current or imminent confinement. The Supreme Court normally exercises its jurisdiction over such petitions by transferring them to the Court of Appeals (RAP 16.5).
Discretionary Review - A review of interlocutory orders of the superior court. Reviews made prior to a final determination of the case, in which a party argues that the trial court has committed an error pursuant to RAP 2.3(b). Discretionary reviews are in the purview of the Supreme Court under most of the same conditions that apply for notices of appeal. The Supreme Court may be requested by motion for discretionary review, to review interlocutory Court of Appeals' decisions, and decisions on personal restraint petitions.
Actions Against State Officers - Both the Supreme Court and the superior courts have concurrent original jurisdiction over a petition against a state officer in the nature of quo warranto, prohibition, and mandamus (RAP 16.2), generally preventing a continued exercise of authority unlawfully asserted.
Petitions For Expenditures Of Public Funds - Petitions for expenditure from the indigent defense fund (RAP 15.2).
Certified From Federal Court - Reviews certified to determine a question of state law which does not involve a question determined by reference to the United States Constitution (RAP 16.16).
Cases are considered officially disposed in the Supreme Court as soon as a decision terminating review is filed with the Supreme Court Clerk.
Opinions - Those cases which were reviewed by the Court and had an opinion written.
Motion On The Merits - Termination of a review due to the granting of a motion on the merits (RAP 18.14).
Dismissed - An order, issued by the Court, dismissing the review prior to a determination of the merits. The commissioner or clerk may dismiss a review for failure to comply with procedures. The Court, on motion of a party, may dismiss a review if the review is frivolous, moot, or solely for the purpose of delay. Also, the Court may dismiss reviews for want of prosecution or for failure to comply with procedures (RAP 18.9).
Transferred To Court Of Appeals - To promote the orderly administration of justice, the Supreme Court may, on its own initiative or on motion of a party, transfer a case to the Court of Appeals.
Review Not Accepted - Reviews disposed through this manner are not accepted because they fail to meet the requirements of review stated in Rule 2 and Rule 13 of the Rules of Appellate Procedure. These requirements are summarized in the above glossary definitions for each review type.
Terminated - An order issued by the Court terminating the review before an opinion is rendered. An order to terminate a review would result if, for example, a petitioner decided to withdraw the review.
Case Stayed - Those cases temporarily arrested or removed from judicial processing by order of the Court.
Ready For Setting - Those cases within the stages of perfection which have at minimum had the briefs filed but have yet to be set on the Court calendar for review.
Not Ready For Setting - Those cases within the stages of perfection which are ready for consideration but have yet to file further pleadings.
Set For Motion On The Merits - Those cases which have been set on the motion on the merits calendar (RAP 18.14).
Set For Oral Argument - Those cases which have progressed to the point at which all briefs were filed and served and have been set for review.
Opinion/Order In Process - Those cases which have been reviewed by the Court but have yet to receive a decision.
A decision is mandated by the Clerk of the Supreme Court with a written notification of the Court's decision to the originating court and the parties involved.