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Ed Shaw Law No Nonsense Legal Advice

Local Solutions For Local Problems


by | Mar 25, 2024 | General Law |

Many people think that appealing a decision means that you get a fresh start, a different judge to look at all of the evidence and make a different decision. That is not what happens in appeals. With very few exceptions, a higher court in Minnesota, the Court of Appeals, looks at the record and decides if the trial court made a significant legal error. This means that they look at what was said at trial, what documents and other materials were used as evidence, and decide if the trial court made a decision that was not supported by the evidence or made a legal mistake that impacted the result. If there was evidence that supported the trial court decision it will not be changed, even if there was also evidence that would have supported the judge going the other way.

If your case was tried by a jury, the appeals court will look to see if there was enough evidence that would have allowed the jury to rule the way it did. If so, the verdict will be upheld even if there was also evidence that would have supported the jury ruling the other way.

A legal error, a mistake can also be a way to win on appeal, but for that to happen the mistake has to be major, something that probably impacted the result. Some examples of mistakes/legal errors may include the judge not allowing a key witness of yours to speak, or allowing a witness for the other side to speak when the witness did not have legally relevant testimony. Even if a mistake was made, the Court of Appeals then has to believe that the mistake probably impacted the result, i.e., made the judge or jury more likely to rule against you. Even if you
win at the Court of Appeals, which is almost never the end of it, what you get is a new trial, or in a criminal case, a dismissal of the charges against you, but the prosecution still has a chance to prosecute you again in a new trial.

Sometimes an appeal is the way to go, but it only makes sense to consider one in a few cases where there were serious problems with the trial. If you are taking a case to trial, get it right the first time, if you do not, you will probably not be able to fix what happens.



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