Where the highest court of the state has declared that the action of the trial court cannot be reviewed by any appellate court, then a state trial court becomes the highest court of the state in which a decision on the federal question could be had.[i]
When state trial court becomes the highest court of the state, then review may be directly sought in the U.S. Supreme Court.[ii] Further, if a decision of a trial court cannot be further appealed, state trial court becomes the highest court of the state.[iii]
A trial court is the final court of the state where the Federal question involved can be decided, and therefore is the court to which a writ of error from the S.C. of the U.S. is to be directed, where the highest state court dismissed a writ of error for want of jurisdiction.[iv] In Bergemann v. Backer, 157 U.S. 655, 659 (U.S. 1895), the court held that if the allowance of a writ of error is refused by a state appellate court, then the judgment of the court of original jurisdiction or the trial court is the highest court of the state in which a determination of the case could be had.
In Virginian R. Co. v. Mullens, 271 U.S. 220 (U.S. 1926), the court held that when the Supreme Court denies a petition for appeal, then the decision of the trial court becomes the decision of the highest court of the state in which a decision could be had.
In Costarelli v. Massachusetts, 421 U.S. 193 (U.S. 1975), the court held that the U.S. Supreme Court will dismiss an appeal for want of jurisdiction, where a person who has been convicted in a non jury trial before a municipal court appeals directly, pursuant to a state’s two-tier system whereby those convicted in trial court may appeal and obtain a de novo trial before a state superior court.
[i] Kentucky v. Powers, 201 U.S. 1 (U.S. 1906)
[iii] Smith v. Allwright, 321 U.S. 649 (U.S. 1944)
[iv] Western Union Tel. Co. v. Hughes, 203 U.S. 505 (U.S. 1906)