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Definition of Court of Appeals

The Court of Appeals is the highest court in the state and is also called the Supreme Court in some states and at the federal level. It generally has discretion to decide which cases to hear. However, the Court of Appeals is mandated by law to hear death penalty cases, legislative redistricting cases and certifications of questions of law.

In a civil case either side may appeal the verdict in the case. If a criminal is found guilty they have the right to file an appeal, but the government may not appeal the verdict if the defendant is found not guilty. The parties in a criminal case, however, can both appeal the sentencing which was given after a guilty verdict.

To win an appeal the appellant or litigant must be able to prove the trial court made legal errors which affected their case. The Appeals Court is only reviewing evidence and facts on record which were established during the trial, they do not hear witnesses or review more evidence.

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