Monday’ blog post reminded me of some materials I’ve accumulated on preserving errors for review in Louisiana state courts. Recently I shared those materials with a colleague, who suggested writing an article about the topic. I decided instead to self-publish a series of posts here on preservation of error. I figured that breaking down the topic into a series of short blog posts and self-publishing them would be easier than trying to write one big lengthy article and then shopping for a publisher.
Let’s begin by defining preservation of error. Black’s Law Dictionary defines it as “the taking of all steps necessary under the rules of procedure or at common law in bringing an improper act or statement to the trial court’s attention so that, if not corrected, the mistake can be reviewed on appeal.” Black’s Law Dictionary 1375 (Bryan A. Garner, ed., 10th ed.,Thomson Reuters 2014). In Louisiana, substitute Code of Civil Procedure for rules of procedure, and substitute caselaw or jurisprudence for common law. This definition is reflected in La. Ct. App. Unif. R. 1-3, under which the court of appeal “will review only issues which were submitted to the trial court ....”
But why must an error in the trial court be brought to the trial court’s attention before it can be argued in the court of appeal? The next few posts will answer that question.