Error

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The types of errors that may occur at trial are the following:

  • Fundamental Error: This is an error which goes to the heart of the case, and which can be considered by the court "in the interest of justice," even if the appellant fails to properly raise the issue on appeal.
  • Harmful Error: This is an error which the appellate court concludes had a probable impact on the outcome of the trial.
  • Harmless Error: This is an error which the appellate court concludes had no effect on the outcome of a trial. For example, if a defendant confesses to a murder, and the prosecution has his fingerprints on the murder weapon, the use of inadmissible hearsay testimony is likely to be found harmless due to the overwhelming evidence against the defendant.
  • Invited Error: This is where the defendant has asked the trial court to make a ruling which is actually erroneous. The defendant cannot then later appeal the trial court's decision on the basis of that error.
  • Reversible Error: An error which causes the appellate court to overturn the lower court's decision is a "reversible error."