can new evidence be introduced in my appeal?

A common question in the appeals process concerns the introduction of new evidence. It's important to understand the distinct purpose and procedures of an appeal compared to the original trial.

What is an Appeal? An appeal is a review of the trial court's proceedings to ensure the law was applied correctly. It is not a retrial or a new trial but a process for correcting legal errors that occurred during the initial trial. Appeals are based on the record of what happened in the trial court, including all evidence presented, motions filed, and the transcript of the trial proceedings.

Can New Evidence Be Introduced? Typically, no new evidence can be introduced during an appeal. The appellate court's role is to evaluate whether legal errors affected the trial's outcome based on the evidence and arguments already presented in the trial court.

Exceptions: There are very limited exceptions where new evidence might be considered in special circumstances, such as:

  • Writs of Actual Innocence: In criminal cases, new evidence proving actual innocence may be introduced through a different legal procedure known as a writ of actual innocence.
  • Evidence Discovered After the Trial: If evidence was not discovered until after the trial and could not have been discovered with reasonable diligence before or during the trial, a petition might be filed to consider this new evidence. However, this typically does not occur within the standard appeals process but through other post-conviction relief avenues.

What Can You Do? If you believe there is new evidence crucial to your case, it’s essential to discuss this with your attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can advise you on whether the evidence can be considered in any aspect of your case and the best course of action, which may include seeking a new trial if the evidence is significant and could not have been discovered before the trial's conclusion.

Conclusion: While the appeal itself does not allow for the introduction of new evidence, understanding the available legal avenues and discussing them with your attorney is crucial. At Vargas Law Firm, we are committed to exploring every possible option to ensure a fair review of your case, guiding you through the complexities of the appellate process, and seeking justice on your behalf.