While the mailed letter I received this past week is not much clearer than what I saw in my on-line “criminal case report”, it appears I did not win my appeal.
The Minute Order/Judgment states: “Judgment on Infraction Appeal is Affirmed.” (Reason per CRC 8.916(c)(2)(B) - statement on appeal must include as much of the evidence to support the stated grounds)
This judgment wording is still not clear in my opinion. I want to see something like “Appeal Request Denied” or “Original Judgment Affirmed”, etc. To me, if the judgment on appeal is affirmed and the appeal is a request to reverse the original judgment, then wouldn’t affirming the appeal be affirming the request to reverse? Arrgghhh. That messed with my head for the first 5 minutes after reading “Affirmed”. Anyway, enough about that.
Well, I was not successful in my appeal. I am not surprised, as I knew the odds were mathematically against me (I think I read that less than 5% of lower court judgments are reversed on appeal in Riverside County?). I was certainly prepared for (and even expecting) to not prevail. But I’d be lying if I said I am not bummed about the outcome. I do feel good being able to say I gave it my best and "fought the good fight" and “died with my boots on”. I don’t regret going through it. It was a nice experience. Of course, in hind sight, I’d do some things differently. Being that this was my first time through anything like this, I felt like I was always learning what I should have done best in the previous step, at the next step. By the time I got to my Appellant’s Opening Brief, which is where I actually spent the majority of my time, research, energy and effort, I had already tied my hands by things I did or did not do in trial, in my Opening Statement on Appeal (Form CR-143), etc.
Most particularly, in my case, I was not specific enough in my Opening Statement that the court did not take judicial notice of the ETS. While it is my honest recollection that the trial court did not take judicial notice at trial, I should have been very specific about this in my opening statement. This nullified my point on appeal that the ETS was not entered into evidence and that was my strongest point on appeal. On a side note, the other appellant who was there the day of my Oral Arguments Hearing did indicate in his Opening Statement that the court did not take judicial notice because it was the first thing the judge said to him!
Well, had I won my appeal, I would have been more than happy to assist any future appealers where I could. I had planned to find a more permanent hosting site for my Opening Brief (I think the link above is now expired), I was going to post any other appeal-related documents (like my Request to file an Oversized Brief, etc.), answer any questions, etc., if it could help anyone. And I still can. It’s just that I know my stuff has a lot less value since I was not successful. But, who knows, if nothing else, maybe someone can learn from my mistakes. So, if any futures appealers are reading this and want a copy of my brief or any other documents or have any questions, please feel free to PM me and I’ll be happy to try to help where I can.
Unless anyone has any questions, I guess that’s it from me for this thread (perhaps a moderator can re-name the thread (for the 4th time) to include a more suitable title such as one relating to appeals, not a De Novo Hearing).
Again, sincere thanks to everyone who helped.