Two common grounds for appeal are: (1) a misapplication of the law (mistake of law) or (2) a factual conclusion that isn’t supported by the evidence (mistake of fact).
Mistake of Fact
Let’s say it’s illegal to sell liquor on Sunday and all of the evidence showed that liquor was sold on Friday. The judge goes ahead and convicts because he finds, despite all of the evidence to the contrary, that liquor was sold on Sunday. The appellate courts should reverse the conviction because the evidence doesn’t support that factual conclusion.
Mistake of Law.
Same case, but this time the judge finds, unlike the first example, as a matter of fact, all of the liquor was sold on Friday. He then misapplies the law and finds that Sunday liquor laws apply to Friday sales too. The appellate court should reverse the conviction as well.
How an appeal is handled
The first step is to file a Notice of Appeal within 30 days of the entry of the judgement. Next, a transcript is prepared, and reviewed for mistakes of law, mistakes of fact, or other grounds for appeal such as procedural defects or abuse of discretion. Next is intense scrutiny of the law to identify other cases before other courts that have dealt with similar mistakes. Then a lengthy appellate brief is written that is filed at the Court of Appeals in Salem, Oregon. Next the Attorney General prepares a response brief, and finally the case is set for oral argument before a three judge panel. After about a year or so, the Court of Appeals announces their decision.
Interested in an appeal? Call for a consultation.