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  1. #1

    Question What Does an Appellate Court Do

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: new jersey
    I'm doing my own motion for reconsideration after the Appellate Court ruled against me and affirmed the trial court's findings. The appellate court deferred to the trial court's finding of fact and the triasl court was a he said she saifd with no evidence allowed to rule on credibility. The appellate court went a step further and inferred that the trial court found the other party more credible.. I know you can't introduce new evidence in an Appeal but is there a standard for appellate court duties? All I could find was that they are tasked with finding gross errors and aiding in the development of law.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: What Does an Appellate Court Do

    On appeal, any reasonable inference of fact is made in favor of the non-moving party. Issues of witness credibility are almost always left to the trial court, where the judge or jury had the opportunity to actually see and hear the witness testimony. If you're convicted in a "he said, she said" case, and what "she said" is sufficient to support the conviction, the appellate court is almost always going to go along with the testimony that was found more credible at trial.

  3. #3

    Default Re: What Does an Appellate Court Do

    hey, thanks again for your help! so I understand, in trial, I was accussed by the state and considered the non-moving party and then in the Appeal, I brought forth the motion to reverse and was then considered the moving party?? And when the appellate panel inferred that the trial court found the moving party more credible (the trial judge oddly went so far as to state that he wasn't ruling on credibility as if to leave a monster loophole in his finding of fact), the appellate panel was inferring in favor of the moving party?? This seems to be the mistake I'm picking up on. The trial court took some leaps in knitting things to support his finding and the appellate panel took more leaps of framing and inference to further the case and affirm. The trial court cited only one case as supporting his decision and made a mistake in his citation (it wasn't published in that volume and I can't find his case). It's ludicrous that the trial court could exclude credibility evidence, ignore testimony, and find beyond a reasonable doubt. And then the Appellate panel can defer to finding of fact when the finding of fact is that which is question? I suspect the appellate wouldn't act because my appeal stopped at sayingthe evidence doesn't support the verdict and didn't raise it to a question of law. more feedback??

  4. #4
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    Default Re: What Does an Appellate Court Do

    Quote Quoting garyS-NJ1
    View Post
    but is there a standard for appellate court duties? .
    You should have known the standard prior to filing your case. w/o a record to review concerning the lower court's opinion of witnesses, the reviewing court will always, 100% of the time, agree with the lower court.

    Not knowing what you are attacking in the appeal makes it impossible to know the specific standard of review.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: What Does an Appellate Court Do

    Appellate courts review the findings of the trial court based upon the record. They do not retry the facts of the trial court case. Their inquiry is into the technical aspects of the case on the part of the trial judge. As for the case reporters, do be aware that some reporters have multiple editions. A case appearing in the first edition will not appear in subsequent editions.

  6. #6

    Default Re: What Does an Appellate Court Do

    thanks deputy - I'm guessing you're in Arizona. I think I know generally what the Appellate Court is supposed to do but was hoping I might find some Standard or perhaps Court Rules for the Appellate Court. I've looked at the NJ Court Rules and cited them in a Motion for Reconsideration to a Trial Judge but he didn't give me any play. I think Judges tend to be a little bossy with pro-se defendants figuring. In my case my the Appeal strategy my lawyer put forth was simply that the evidence does not support the finding of fact (and the trial judge was very biased in terms of allowing evidence that was not tending towards the guilty verdict he obviously was seeking...). The Appellate panel may have reviewed what the Trial Judge did to veryify no errors in terms of Court Rules but they didn't look hard and otherwise their opinion read like a textbook for prosecuting domestic violence without any consideration to the actual evidence/testimony.. I understand that we only win cases by citing case law so that the judges cannot bully their bias of find for convenience so while I'm looking for case law to say the trial judge erred, I'm also looking for case law to say the appellate Court erred. I want to put that out there so they are forced to look closely recognizing my points will go to a higher Court if necessary. back to your point, is their any standard for the Appellate inquiry??

  7. #7
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    Default Re: What Does an Appellate Court Do

    Most judges that I have seen are more than polite and kind and do give consideration to Pro Se litigants.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: What Does an Appellate Court Do

    when you file an appeal, it is not up to the appeals court to find errors. It is the appellants duty to list the claimed errors and why they believe them to be errors. The appeals court then reviews your points. They are not going to simply take a case and start reading through it attempting to find errors.


    In my case my the Appeal strategy my lawyer put forth was simply that the evidence does not support the finding of fact
    was it stated why your attorney believed it did not support the finding? This is a perfect example of the appeals court is not going to do your work for you.

    (and the trial judge was very biased in terms of allowing evidence that was not tending towards the guilty verdict he obviously was seeking...).
    so, was a point of appeal that the judge allowed evidence that was improper?

    Was there an objection made during your trial that the judge was biased and acting improperly?

  9. #9

    Default Re: What Does an Appellate Court Do

    great points JK. during my Trial, My lawyer never said to the judge that he was acting biased or improper although he did express those sentaments. This should have been brought up as a point in my Appeal. Unfortunately, my pro-bono Appeal Atty refused to make this point and his brief was just weak on every turn. So I see what you mean that the Appellate court can only react to the brief and I shouldn't expect them to "Audit" the trial. (BTW, the Trial Judge held all kinds of evidence out of the Court so as to keep his decision firmly in his hands...). In case anyone else needs it, I found my Appellate Court review responsibilities are here:http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/appdiv/appstand.pdf.

    JK can you comment on my inquiry above regarding who is the moving party??

  10. #10
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    Default Re: What Does an Appellate Court Do

    You brought the appeal, making you the moving party.

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