Most court decisions can be reviewed by an appeals court. A case may be reviewed by more than one appeals court, including the U.S. Supreme Court. Appeals are complicated, involving different issues than are seen during trial.
The Differences Between an Appeal and a Trial
During a trial, witnesses testify and evidence is presented. The jury considers this evidence and decides innocence or guilt. The judge runs the courtroom and decides points of law, such as ruling on the attorneys’ objections.
On the other hand, an appeal reviews the judge’s legal decisions. There are no witnesses, no evidence and no jury. The appeal court accepts the facts as they were presented at trial. Newly revealed evidence could be presented in an appeal, but it does not usually happen. During a trial, there is only one judge. An appeal is normally heard by three judges, although there can be more.
The attorney for each party files a written appellate brief. Whoever lost in the previous case argues that the law was incorrectly applied by the trial judge. The winning party argues the opposite. Each attorney references applicable statutes and cases. The appeals court may question the attorneys after reviewing the written briefs.
The Court Record Is on Trial in an Appeal
Decisions of appeals courts revolve around the record, containing details of everything that happened during the trial except any discussions with the trial judge that were not considered to be part of the record. If a federal criminal defense attorney in Portland, OR made mistakes that hurt the case, such as failing to object to prejudicial statements or evidence, that cannot be corrected in an appeal. The appeal attorney is looking for errors of law made by the judge.
Taking an Appeal to the Next Level
If the appeal is not successful, another appeal can be presented to the supreme court of the state or ultimately to the U.S. Supreme Court. However, these courts receive large numbers of requests to review cases and cannot handle them all. Typically, they only review those cases that involve an unsettled question of law.
The Law Office of Andrew M. Kohlmetz LLC is known as one of the leading law firms for complex cases in Portland, OR.