Appeals sufficiency of the evidence

by | Aug 10, 2016 | Appeals

If a case is lost then various appeals may be filed to higher courts to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence.   Appeals challenging the sufficiency of the evidence challenge whether the government presented sufficient evidence to a jury or judge to win at trial.   In Pennsylvania, citizens are protected from being retried for the same crime due to the double jeopardy clause. There are special circumstances in which a retrial is permitted. Motions  One circumstance in which a retrial is permitted is when an appellate court reverses a defendant’s conviction because of an error that occurred in the trial proceedings. There are two main components that could ultimately determine whether a defendant will have a retrial or not. They are known as the sufficiency of the evidence and the weight of the evidence.

The sufficiency of the evidence in a case is vital in ensuring the defendant’s rights. When a court is testing for sufficiency of evidence, they measuring the adequacy of the evidence. According to Commonwealth v Santana, 460 Pa. 482, 333 A.2d 876 (1975), “Where the evidence offered to support the verdict is in contradiction to the physical facts, in contravention to human experience and the laws of nature, then the evidence is insufficient as a matter of law”. Testing the sufficiency of evidence is a test of quantity. If the court finds that evidence is insufficient, then there is no right to a retrial. Since the state failed to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, double jeopardy attach, meaning that a retrial is not permitted.

The weight of the evidence is also essential in protecting the defendant. The weight of the evidence is a test of the quality of the evidence. It measures the credible proof of the prosecution in comparison to the credible proof of the defense. Appeals  When a court tests the weight of the evidence, they are measuring the probative value and the credibility of evidence. Evidence that is indefinite or too vague is given less weight than direct evidence. Unlike the sufficiency of evidence, when the weight of evidence is insubstantial, then a new trial is ordered. ​

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