The attorneys at Kenny, Brimmer & Mahoney, LLC have extensive experience appearing before all of the state courts in Connecticut, as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York City. Appellate-level cases require unique skills and legal representation that is quite different from traditional trial-level work. Success at the appellate level involves convincing a judge or panel of judges that the trial court decision was either incorrect or correct, depending on the client's position. The judges do not hear any new evidence or testimony; instead, they utilize the trial court's record of events.
A superior appellate attorney spends time analyzing the lower court record to find adequate grounds for reversal or affirmation at the appellate level. Appellate attorneys must present thorough, well-written appellate briefs, which are typically an extremely important factor in a court's decision in an appeal.
The success of an appeal generally hinges on specific issues of fact or law when the appellate judges inspect the trial court records and consider each side's briefs. The appellate court will not overturn a judgment if only a harmless error has been made. An error is harmless if it would not change the case's outcome. Appellate courts use several different standards of review in examining the trial court's judgment, depending on what is at issue in a particular case. These standards include:
- Sufficiency of the Evidence: The appellate court reviews the trial court record. Based on that analysis, it determines first if a reasonable person were to believe the evidence presented at trial and second if so, whether that evidence is sufficient to convince an average person that the plaintiff has (or has not) proven the case by a preponderance of the evidence.
- Manifest Weight of the Evidence: The appellate court will order a reversal and retrial if, after weighing the evidence presented at trial, it determines that the trial court's findings were so against the weight of the evidence to the point where substantial justice was violated.
- Abuse of Discretion: If the appellate court determines the trial judge acted arbitrarily or unreasonably, it will find an abuse of discretion has occurred if the trial judge's actions have resulted in one of the parties being denied a substantial right, or if there was an unjust result.
- De Novo Review: A de novo review requires the appellate court to completely review how the trial court concluded the questions of law in the case.
- Plain Error: The appellate court reviews the trial court record to examine errors that were not objected to at trial. If the court determines such errors are clear and obvious, and therefore resulted in a miscarriage of justice, or seriously affected the integrity and fairness of the judicial process, it will order a reversal and retrial.
Our attorneys have extensive experience arguing appeals, including probate, administrative, and civil appeals, and our attorneys are dedicated to providing the highest level of appellate representation to our clients. Contact us today for a free initial consultation regarding your case.