Griffin v. Griffin (Court of Appeals of Virginia, Record No. 2810-08-4, December 29, 2009) is an unreported primer on practice pitfalls. The husband lost most of his arguments due to errors by his attorney or because of his own hubris.
Here are some rules:
1. If the trial judge makes a mistake, objections must be contemporaneous. The Court of Appeals requires that the lower court have the first opportunity to make things right.
2. On appeal, the facts are viewed in the light most favorable to the party who prevailed below, and the judgment being appealed is presumed correct.
3. If the trial court opinion is not part of the appellate record, it will not be reviewed.
4. When no legal or factual arguments accompany an issue on appeal, the issue will not be considered.
5. Items numbered 3 and 4 above are called “procedural defaults”. They often result in attorney fees being awarded to the opposing party.
The Griffin husband needed a reality check on his appeal of custodial fitness and adultery. The facts against him were overwhelming. If he did not realize it, his lawyer should have told him. Maybe the lawyer did know, since the record omitted all but the first page of the opinion being appealed from, and the brief cited no cases.