In a previous post, we examined some of the trial procedures in a California
traffic ticket. Even if you lose at the county court, you may be able
to appeal the case to the district court and beyond.
A Tulare county court is a court of record, with a court reporter and many
formal rules. That's important because you cannot get another trial
when you appeal the case. Since there is a record, there's no reason
for the appellate court to re-call the witnesses and conduct the trial
all over again. Instead, you must show that the trial judge made a
legal mistake that affected the outcome of the case.
In other words, the appeals courts cannot reverse the earlier decisions
simply because they disagree with the trial judges, or even if they believe
that the trial judge was "wrong." Instead, the appellant has
to show error on the record, which includes:
The second half of the test is that the error cannot be "harmless."
It is not enough to prove that the judge followed incorrect procedure
if the procedure was something innocuous like starting the trial at the
wrong time of day.