People sometimes make the mistake of thinking of an appeal as a request for another trial. Maybe they already went through the criminal case, but they just didn’t get the result they were hoping for. They would like to start another trial to see if it’s more favorable. They think of the appeal as just a second attempt to get a positive result if they failed to do so the first time around.
But this is a fundamental misunderstanding of how an appeal works. It’s not a retrial. It’s not a second chance for the court to hear the case.
In fact, appeals generally don’t even consider new evidence or additional witnesses. The appeal just uses the evidence and witness statements from the first trial. People will sometimes believe that they can “show that they were innocent” this time, perhaps by presenting new evidence that they have found or getting new witnesses to testify on their behalf. But that process has already ended and the court isn’t interested in this new information.
What is the goal of an appeal?
The actual goal of an appeal is just to see if a mistake was made. Perhaps a judge misinterpreted a law and applied it incorrectly, meaning that someone was found guilty when they believed that the evidence shows that they were innocent. Maybe the person believes they didn’t get the type of legal counsel they deserved, and mistakes by their legal team warrant an appeal.
In other words, appeals are more focused on errors within the law or the case, rather than bringing additional evidence that could change that case. It’s very important for those who are going through this process to understand their legal options.