Motion for Appropriate Relief Law & Legal Definition


In Maryland, a motion for appropriate relief could refer to a motion filed by a party on the ground of any newly discovered evidence.

Maryland Rule 4-331 reads as follows:

Rule 4-331. Motions for new trial.

(a) ***

(c) Newly discovered evidence. The court may grant a new trial or other appropriate relief on the ground of newly discovered evidence****

A motion for appropriate relief can vary from state to state. For example in North Carolina a motion for appropriate relief can be filed for relief from errors committed in the trial division, or other post trial relief. Law specifies a time limit for filing these motions.

Example of a state statute on Motion for appropriate relief

North Carolina General Statute says that generally a motion for appropriate relief should be in writing. and should be filed timely. Oral motions are also allowed when it is made in open court, or before the judge who presided at trial or before the end of the session if made in superior court or within 10 days after entry of judgment. Any party is entitled to a hearing on questions of law or fact arising from the motion and any supporting or opposing information presented unless the court determines that the motion is without merit. The court can also determine if an evidentiary hearing is required or not. If an evidentiary hearing is held, the moving party has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence every fact essential to support the motion.

The law as it appears in the statute:

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-1420

§ 15A-1420. Motion for appropriate relief; procedure

(a) Form, Service, Filing.

(1) A motion for appropriate relief must:

a. Be made in writing unless it is made:

1. In open court;

2. Before the judge who presided at trial;

3. Before the end of the session if made in superior court; and

4. Within 10 days after entry of judgment;

b. State the grounds for the motion;

c. Set forth the relief sought; and

d. Be timely filed.

(2) A written motion for appropriate relief must be served in the manner provided in G.S. 15A-951(b). When the written motion is made more than 10 days after entry of judgment, service of the motion and a notice of hearing must be made not less than five working days prior to the date of the hearing. When a motion for appropriate relief is permitted to be made orally the court must determine whether the matter may be heard immediately or at a later time. If the opposing party, or his counsel if he is represented, is not present, the court must provide for the giving of adequate notice of the motion and the date of hearing to the opposing party, or his counsel if he is represented by counsel.

(3) A written motion for appropriate relief must be filed in the manner provided in G.S. 15A-951(c).

(4) An oral or written motion for appropriate relief may not be granted in district court without the signature of the district attorney, indicating that the State has had an opportunity to consent or object to the motion. However, the court may grant a motion for appropriate relief without the district attorney's signature 10 business days after the district attorney has been notified in open court of the motion, or served with the motion pursuant to G.S. 15A-951(c).

(b) Supporting Affidavits.

(1) A motion for appropriate relief made after the entry of judgment must be supported by affidavit or other documentary evidence if based upon the existence or occurrence of facts which are not ascertainable from the records and any transcript of the case or which are not within the knowledge of the judge who hears the motion.

(2) The opposing party may file affidavits or other documentary evidence.

(b1) Filing Motion With Clerk; Review of Motion by Judge.

(1) The proceeding shall be commenced by filing with the clerk of superior court of the district wherein the defendant was indicted a motion, with service on the district attorney in noncapital cases, and service on both the district attorney and Attorney General in capital cases.

(2) The clerk, upon receipt of the motion, shall place the motion on the criminal docket. The clerk shall promptly bring the motion, or a copy of the motion, to the attention of the resident judge or any judge holding court in the county or district. In noncapital cases, the judge shall review the motion and enter an order whether the defendant should be allowed to proceed without the payment of costs, with respect to the appointment of counsel, and directing the State, if necessary, to file an answer. In capital cases, the judge shall review the motion and enter an order directing the State to file its answer within 60 days of the date of the order. If a hearing is necessary, the judge shall calendar the case for hearing without unnecessary delay.

(c) Hearings, Showing of Prejudice; Findings.

(1) Any party is entitled to a hearing on questions of law or fact arising from the motion and any supporting or opposing information presented unless the court determines that the motion is without merit. The court must determine, on the basis of these materials and the requirements of this subsection, whether an evidentiary hearing is required to resolve questions of fact. Upon the motion of either party, the judge may direct the attorneys for the parties to appear before him for a conference on any prehearing matter in the case.

(2) An evidentiary hearing is not required when the motion is made in the trial court pursuant to G.S. 15A-1414, but the court may hold an evidentiary hearing if it is appropriate to resolve questions of fact.

(3) The court must determine the motion without an evidentiary hearing when the motion and supporting and opposing information present only questions of law. The defendant has no right to be present at such a hearing where only questions of law are to be argued.

(4) If the court cannot rule upon the motion without the hearing of evidence, it must conduct a hearing for the taking of evidence, and must make findings of fact. The defendant has a right to be present at the evidentiary hearing and to be represented by counsel. A waiver of the right to be present must be in writing.

(5) If an evidentiary hearing is held, the moving party has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence every fact essential to support the motion.

(6) A defendant who seeks relief by motion for appropriate relief must show the existence of the asserted ground for relief. Relief must be denied unless prejudice appears, in accordance with G.S. 15A-1443.

(7) The court must rule upon the motion and enter its order accordingly. When the motion is based upon an asserted violation of the rights of the defendant under the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States, the court must make and enter conclusions of law and a statement of the reasons for its determination to the extent required, when taken with other records and transcripts in the case, to indicate whether the defendant has had a full and fair hearing on the merits of the grounds so asserted.

(d) Action on Court's Own Motion. -- At any time that a defendant would be entitled to relief by motion for appropriate relief, the court may grant such relief upon its own motion. The court must cause appropriate notice to be given to the parties.