People who lose a civil court case have the right to appeal the judgment against them. An appeal bond is a way to stop the execution of the judgment pending a court ruling on the appeal.
Consider the alternative. Without an appeal bond in place, the judgment could be executed before there is a decision on an appeal, only to find out after the fact that the court has ruled in favor of the appellant. Undoing something that has already been done is never easy.
An appeal bond that stays (delays) execution of a judgment until a higher court has ruled on the appeal is called a supersedeas bond. It is an appellant’s guarantee to satisfy the judgment imposed by the lower court if the appeal is lost and the judgment is upheld, which is the most likely scenario.
Most appeals ultimately fail because the only valid grounds for reversing a lower court’s decision is a procedural error during the original trial that compromised the rights of the defendant. The discovery of new evidence after the lower court has decided a case or challenges to testimony given during the original trial will not work.
Who Needs Them?
Because of the slim chance of winning an appeal, posting an appeal bond is typically a requirement for filing an appeal in any state. The bond not only ensures that the appellant will satisfy the judgment if the appeal is lost, but also helps discourage frivolous appeals intended only to delay the execution of a judgment.
Different states have different requirements regarding the amount of an appeal bond, but it’s usually somewhat more than the amount of the judgment. The extra margin covers court costs, any accrued interest on the judgment amount, and the winning party’s legal fees if ordered by the appellate court.