Basis of an Appeal

Courts in the United States are reluctant to re-examine or reopen cases already decided on by another court. The legal system in place is made to allow those that feel they have been wronged by the judicial system to have their grievances reheard by an appellate court but the courts themselves have a reluctant attitude to retrial cases that have already been decided.

Proving Denial of Due Process

The appellant or petitioner has to prove to the appellate court that he/she has been wronged in the original trial by errors of law such as irregularity or discrepancy in the application of law, misrepresentation of facts, violation of rights, or fault in judicial procedure that has resulted in the appellant being denied the due process of law owed all Americans in a court of law. The appellant must have clear facts and evidence proving that an error was committed during the original trial and that the outstanding facts in the case could have changed the ruling. The party that is unsatisfied with the result of the original case may be able to challenge the original ruling in an appellate court on specific grounds if he/she can prove in a notice of appeal that there were substantial errors committed or omissions that could have determined the outcome of the case in their favour. Minor errors that would not affect the outcome or judgement of a case cannot be used to request an appeal and are not considered grounds for reversing the judgment of a lower court.

Appellate Review

Appellate review is the process by which courts that have appellate jurisdiction enforce their authority over case decided by lower courts under their jurisdiction. To file for an appellate review, an appellant must file an appeal of the final judgment for a case that has been decided on by a lower court. This will cause all other orders and rulings in the case in question to come under appeal. Even if a case has not been ruled on, certain rulings within a case can be immediately appealed such as an order holding a person in contempt of court or denial of a request for an interim injunction.

There are two separate forms of appellate review they include:

Direct appellate review

This type of appellate review affords a defendant the opportunity of challenging the merits of a judicial decision and can allege errors of law or misrepresentation of facts.

Collateral appellate review

This type of appellate review provides for an independent and civil inquiry into the validity of a conviction and sentence. This greatly limits the application of appellate reviews and is usually only used to challenge fundamental judicial violations such as infringement of constitutional rights or jurisdictional violations.

An appellant can sometimes argue that the law applied in the lower court was unconstitutional or invalid. This may sway an appellate court to order a new trial. If the appellant can demonstrate that vital evidence was concealed or discovered after the ruling that would have changed the outcome of the case, he/she has demonstrated grounds for an appeal. Missing evidence must represent a high probability of swaying the outcome of the case should it have been presented before the final ruling.

An appellant can also file for appeal if he/she feels they were denied adequate legal representation or an effective defence. A person convicted of a crime can appeal if he/she can prove that the lawyer that handled their case did not effectively represent their position in the case and can prove that the result of the trial would have been different had their lawyer supplied adequate and competent representation.