Appellate Court Does Not Review Questions of Fact

It is important to note that when performing their search, the appellate court does not review questions of fact. Issues such as the credibility of a witness, the value of a piece of evidence, or even the innocence or guilt of the accused, are considered questions of fact and remain under the jurisdiction of the trial court. When the appellate court looks at these factors, they must assume that the trial court decision was correct and may not question it.

  1. Appellate Court Does Not Review Questions of Fact
  2. Appellate Court Does Review Errors in Legal Procedure
  3. Common Grounds for Appeal
  4. Learn More About Grounds for an Appeal

Appellate Court Does Review Errors in Legal Procedure

However, if an error is made in the legal procedure used to reach this decision, the appellate court may step in. Once an appeal is filed, the process begins with the review of records of the Superior Court, which houses the court reporter’s detailed transcript of the court proceedings, the clerk’s transcript, which records all evidentiary exhibits, documents submitted, and motions filed, as well as the arguments brought forth by both parties.

  1. Appellate Court Does Not Review Questions of Fact
  2. Appellate Court Does Review Errors in Legal Procedure
  3. Common Grounds for Appeal
  4. Learn More About Grounds for an Appeal

Common Grounds for Appeal

What exactly are they looking for in these reports? While sifting through court transcripts, they are looking for a wide array of legal errors that may have been made and are grounds for appeal. Some of the most common grounds for appeal include:

False Arrest

If the arresting officer improperly handled your arrest, you may use the “false arrest” argument as the grounds to overturn your case. Some indicators of an improper arrest include failure to abide by search and seizure laws, lack of probable cause for arrest, or the absence of a warrant.

Improper Admittance or Exclusion of Evidence

Before a case is presented to a jury, the presiding judge is required to hold a meeting with attorneys from both the prosecution and defense. It is during this meeting (more commonly known as a “motion in limine” hearing or “Penal Code 402” hearing) that each side offers the evidence they hope to use in court. Once the evidence has been presented, the judge may either admit evidence they find important or exclude any evidence they deem unfair or of little relevance. If you believe that a judge misruled on a piece of evidence that dramatically altered the outcome of your trial, you may file an appeal on the grounds of improper admittance or exclusion of evidence.

Insufficient Evidence

In some cases, juries may come to a verdict that is not supported by the evidence presented in court, using emotion or bias instead of evidence and facts to make their decision. For instance, in cases where the prosecution’s burden of proof was not met, yet the jury still convicts the defendant, insufficient evidence may be a promising ground on which to appeal.

Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

If your attorney’s performance in and outside of court was so poor that you believed you were stripped of your right to a fair trial, you can file an appeal under the claim of ineffective assistance of counsel and may receive the opportunity to retry your case. To prove ineffective counsel, you must show that your attorney’s assistance fell short of the “objective standard of reasonableness” and that such actions caused an unfair ruling in your trial.

Prosecutorial Misconduct

If any dishonest actions were undertaken by the prosecuting attorney to demean the integrity of the trial, prosecutorial misconduct may be an appropriate option for appeal. Some examples of prosecutorial misconduct include attempts to persuade the jury with appeals to the jury’s prejudices, mentions of any excluded evidence, or the purposeful misrepresentation of a piece of evidence or a law.

Jury Misconduct

Jury misconduct refers to an incident during which a member of the jury partakes in an unethical act that denies the defendant of their right to fair trial. Some examples include refusal to deliberate, withholding important information that could diminish the impartiality of a decision, or performing a separate investigation to find evidence that goes beyond the exhibits presented in court.

  1. Appellate Court Does Not Review Questions of Fact
  2. Appellate Court Does Review Errors in Legal Procedure
  3. Common Grounds for Appeal
  4. Learn More About Grounds for an Appeal

Learn More About Grounds for an Appeal

It’s important to explore all of potential grounds for appeal in your case. An award-winning California criminal appeals lawyer at Spolin Law P.C. can review the record in your case and help you determine if there are grounds for an appeal of your conviction. Call us today at (310) 424-5816.