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by | May 5, 2021 | Firm News

Often after a high profile case we hear the losing party saying to the media that they will appeal. It is often said with confidence, as if an appeal is a fresh start, a do over with a better judge, jurors, etc. Reality, an appeal is not a do over, courts of appeal do not hear new evidence, no witnesses testify, no new documents are presented. The appeals court reviews what happened at the trial court level for significant errors, ones that it believes impacted the result. Appeals courts generally give great leeway to trial court decisions, only reversing if they are clearly wrong. In the vast majority of cases the decisions of the trial court are upheld, meaning the result does not change.

In some cases an appeal is appropriate, sometimes trial courts err, judges are human like the rest of us, sometimes serious mistakes are made that impact the outcome of a case. Most of the time that does not happen, even if the trial court made mistakes, they are found to not be significant and the trial court result stands. Bottom line, you need to make your best case at the trial court level. Never assume that you can just appeal if it does not go well and expect a different result. Going to the court of appeals is always an uphill battle, you never want to be there if you can help it.

Edward R. Shaw

FindLaw Network