Reversible error


Reversible error

In law, a reversible error is an error by the trier of law (judge) or the trier of fact (the jury or the judge if it is a bench trial) or malfeasance by one of the trying attorneys which results in an unfair trial. It is to be distinguished from harmless errors that do not rise to a level that bring the validity of the judgment into question and thus do not lead to a reversal upon appeal.

Reversible errors include, but are not limited to:
*Seating a juror who has manifested impermissible bias to one party or the other
*Admitting evidence which should have been excluded under the rules of evidence
*Excluding evidence which a party was entitled to have admitted
*Giving an incorrect legal instruction to a jury
*Failure to declare a mistrial when continuing with trial amounts to a denial of due process
*Conversely, granting a mistrial in a criminal case if the defendant objects, "unless" the grant was necessary to correct manifest injustice

If an appellate court determines that reversible error occurred, it must reverse the judgment of the lower court and order a new trial on such terms and conditions as are found to be just.

Technically, attorney misconduct is not reversible error. Failure of the judge to remedy it during the trial is reversible error. In cases such as unfairly or illegally concealing evidence, there is no error on the part of the court but the court's decision may still be vacated and the matter returned for a new trial, because there is no other way for justice to be granted.


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • reversible error — see error Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. reversible error …   Law dictionary

  • reversible error — Prejudicial error. Error in the court below which has injuriously affected the appellant or by which he has suffered a miscarriage of justice. 5 Am J2d A & E § 783 …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • reversible error — noun : error justifying the vacating of a judgment or decree, sustaining an exception or appeal, or remanding a case for new trial or hearing …   Useful english dictionary

  • error — er·ror n: an act that through ignorance, deficiency, or accident departs from or fails to achieve what should be done procedural error s; esp: a mistake made by a lower court in conducting judicial proceedings or making findings in a case to… …   Law dictionary

  • error — A mistaken judgment or incorrect belief as to the existence or effect of matters of fact, or a false or mistaken conception or application of the law. Such a mistaken or false conception or application of the law to the facts of a cause as will… …   Black's law dictionary

  • error — A mistaken judgment or incorrect belief as to the existence or effect of matters of fact, or a false or mistaken conception or application of the law. Such a mistaken or false conception or application of the law to the facts of a cause as will… …   Black's law dictionary

  • error — A mistake of law or fact; a mistake of the court in the trial of an action; a writ to review a judgment of an inferior court in a higher court for errors appearing on the face of the record. A proceeding under a writ of error, distinct, under the …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • Reversible Errors — infobox Book | name = Reversible Errors title orig = translator = image caption = author = Scott Turow cover artist = country = United States language = English series = genre = Legal thriller, Crime novel publisher = Farrar Straus Giroux release …   Wikipedia

  • error, reversible — n. An error that justifies an appellate court’s reversing a trial court’s decision. See also assignment of error The Essential Law Dictionary. Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. Amy Hackney Blackwell. 2008 …   Law dictionary

  • prejudicial error — Reversible error. 5 Am J2d A & E § 783. Error of such substance that, upon a review of the record, it appears that the rights of the complaining party have been injuriously affected by the error, or that he has suffered a miscarriage of justice.… …   Ballentine's law dictionary


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