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2009

Empirical legal studies

Cornell University Law School

Criminal Law

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Federal Criminal Appeals: A Brief Empirical Perspective, Michael Heise Jan 2009

Federal Criminal Appeals: A Brief Empirical Perspective, Michael Heise

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Although few dispute the appellate process's centrality to justice systems, especially in the criminal context, debates over rationales supporting the appellate process's vaunted status in adjudication systems persist. Clearly, it is difficult to overestimate error correction as a justification for an appellate system. Of course, other rationales, such as a desire for lawmaking and legitimacy, also support the inclusion of a mechanism for appellate review in an adjudication system.

Though comparative latecomers, appellate courts are now ubiquitous in the American legal landscape—appellate review exists in state and federal systems for criminal convictions. Despite general agreement and widespread understanding that access …