Criminal Appeal Lawyers

What Do Appellate Judges Consider When Reviewing an Appeal?

Appellate judges do not review case facts. Instead, they review how the trial was conducted to ensure there weren’t any errors. In other words, among other things, it is the duty of an appellate judge to determine if the law was applied correctly during the trial. They also determine if the law itself is unconstitutional. It is common for dissatisfied litigants to wrongly assume that any unfavorable decision can be reversed by appeal or with flimsy grounds, e.g. “the opposing lawyer did not stop his client from lying” or “I didn’t have enough time to testify”. These two examples are not considered grounds for appeal. So what is? That’s what our criminal appeal lawyers explain below:

1. Errors of Law:

The appellate judge reviews the legal standards and other laws applied by the lower court during the trial to ensure the decision was proper. The majority of appeals are filed on grounds that the law wasn’t properly applied.

2. Abuse of Judicial Discretion:

When judges act outside their scope of authority, base their decision on a biased view, or misinterpret the law, they’re abusing what’s known as judicial discretion. Common examples of abuse of discretion include not allowing certain witnesses to testify, influencing the jury to reach a particular decision, sentencing a harsher punishment for an offense, and giving a flawed ruling based on evidence that stifled one party’s rights.

3. Procedural Matters:

Appellate judges review appeals to ensure procedural matters are carried out with fairness. For instance, ineffective assistance of counsel claims can be a basis for appeal.

4. Constitutional Validity:

Appellate judges review if the lower court’s decision violates the litigant’s constitutional rights. This isn’t easy to appeal and involves discussing constitutional matters.

An appeal is not a retrial; instead, it is a review of the lower court’s decision. In fact, it is out of the appellate judge’s purview to rehear a case from start to finish. This is one reason why you should hire experienced criminal appeal lawyers, as they’ll see whether or not your case is worthy of an appeal.

Visit our site to schedule a free consultation with our criminal appeal attorneys. They’ll make sure you know your rights and understand the appeals process.

Speak with a appellate lawyer