Decision by Equally Divided State Appellate Court

A decision rendered by an equally divided state appellate court can be reviewed by the state’s highest court if the division of the appellate court has not impaired the conclusive force of the judgment on the parties.  However, such a decision may not be used as precedent in subsequent cases.  Thus, the finality of the judgment of a highest court of the state is not affected merely because it was rendered upon equal division of opinion among judges.

Thus, a decision by an equally divided court shall be final, irrespective of whether the state appellate court has affirmed a judgment of a state trial court by an equal vote, or has refused to issue a writ of mandamus because of an equal division of the court.

A judgment of the highest state court denying a writ of mandamus is final for purpose of review by the Supreme Court even though such judgment was entered upon equal division of opinions among its justices.  The mere fact of division will not affect the binding and conclusive force of judgment.  The judgment of an equally divided court will have the same effect as that of a judgment rendered by an entire court, and such a judgment will be binding in every respect as if rendered upon concurrence of all the judges.


Inside Decision by Equally Divided State Appellate Court