Difference Between Trial And Appeal

Contrary to what many people think, an appeal is not a chance to have a new court hear witnesses or review the facts of the case. Appellate courts only review question of law.

For example, an appeals court will not decide if an expert witness who testified for the prosecution was believable. That is the job of the jury or judge before whom the case was tried.

The appeals court will, however, review whether the witness should have been allowed to testify over the defense attorney’s objection that the witness did not meet the legal standards to be designated as an expert witness.

Another difference between an appeal and a trial is that the appeals court has only the record of what took place in the trial court with which to work. Most of what appellate judges review is on paper in the form of the trial transcript and the briefs or written arguments, submitted by the attorneys representing the parties.