Trial courts, judges, and juries are not perfect, and sometimes they make serious errors. For that reason, we have the court of appeal judicial system, which is responsible for reviewing the decisions of trial courts to determine if they should be overturned or if they should stand. If there is a legal basis — a material error that was made in the trial of your case — for filing an appeal in Washington, you need to know the facts about appealing to a higher court.
Facts About Filing an Appeal in Washington
If you have already been through a trial, you may expect your appeal to be a similar process. Although there are some similarities, there are also important differences between trials and appeals. If you are filing a criminal or civil appeal in Washington, you should consider consulting with an attorney with a practice focused on appeals.
Here are some facts you may not have known about the appeals process:
- It is rarely ever a legal basis for appeal that the losing party did not like the verdict; a material error in the trial must be alleged to have a basis for appeal.
- Either party may file an appeal in a civil case.
- As stated on United States Courts, a defendant in a criminal case may appeal a guilty verdict, but the prosecution may not appeal if the defendant is found not guilty, as that would amount to double jeopardy.
- Either side can appeal the sentence imposed with a criminal conviction.
- There is no jury in an appeal.
- Witnesses and other forms of evidence are not presented.
- The appeal court accepts the facts as found in the trial court, except when a factual finding goes clearly against the weight of the evidence.
- An appeal court reviews the trial court’s application of the law.
- Appeal court decisions turn on the record — what happened and which documents were presented in trial.
- Appeals are heard by several judges.
- The appellate briefs filed by both parties are the primary means of persuasion in appeals.
- A party who loses a state appeal may appeal to the state supreme court and then a federal court.
- Acceptance of state or U.S. Supreme Court appeals is discretionary, and they typically review only those case involving unsettled questions of law.
Appellate Attorney in Washington
If you need to appeal a trial court decision, civil or criminal, it is important to have a lawyer who understands appeals handling your case. Appellate work is complicated, demanding, and time-sensitive, and it involves a great deal of legal research and sophisticated legal reasoning.
At The Law Office of Corey Evan Parker, Attorney Parker focuses his practice on civil and criminal appeals. Mr. Parker offers a one-hour consultation with no obligation, in person or over the phone, to discuss your case. If he advises against filing an appeal, he will not hesitate to tell you. Please feel free to contact us by telephone or email to arrange for your consultation.