Under What Circumstances Will a Judge Grant a Motion for a New Trial?

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By Divorce & Finance

Under what circumstances will a judge grant a motion for a new trial? This is an important consideration to be made when your previous trial was vitiated due to lack of evidence or miscarriage of justice etc.

Will a judge grant a motion for a new trial

This article provides an overview of these circumstances, so read on.

What Are the Grounds for a Judge to Bring a Motion for a New Trial? 

The grounds for a judge to bring a motion for a new trial include error of law, irregularity in the proceedings of the court, new evidence discovered, any judge’s or jury’s misconduct which has led to a miscarriage of justice, etc. 

The detailed analysis of the grounds is as follows:

– Grave Error of Law 

One reason for granting a motion for a new trial is legal errors that occurred during the trial. For example, a judge might have incorrectly excluded evidence that could have changed the trial’s outcome. If a judge incorrectly decided that certain testimony should be excluded due to the hearsay rule because an exception to the rule applied, the judge’s decision would have been an erroneous exclusion of evidence.

It’s unusual for the judge who presided over the initial trial to find a significant legal error because a motion for a new trial typically goes to that judge. The judge who realizes that a particular decision was made in error might order a new trial to prevent the case from being reversed on appeal

Nevertheless, appellate courts frequently grant trial court judges a great deal of latitude in their decisions.

– Discovery of New Evidence:

Courts may also grant motions for a new trial in cases where certain new evidence has been uncovered after a conviction. Small, marginally useful facts, however, are insufficient. In general, new evidence must meet the following criteria:

  • It must not have been known to the defense during the trial.
  • It should have not been reasonably discoverable before or during the trial by exercising due diligence.
  • It should be capable of influencing the jury’s decision.
  • The newly discovered evidence must be significant and must not just be cumulative or defamatory.
  • You must demonstrate that the newly discovered evidence must be admissible in order to be presented and admitted into the body of evidence (testimony and documentary) that a judge can take into account.

A judge or appellate court might order a new trial based on recently discovered evidence. For instance, if the defense finally finds the sole witness who can support the defendant’s alibi after months of searching, then a new trial will be granted.

– In the Interest of Justice

A judge may also mandate a new trial to correct an injustice from the prior trial. For instance, if a jury member called the defendants “guilty wetbacks” during the trial in a racist manner. The judge emphasized that defendants have a right to impartial jurors who decide cases based on the facts, not prejudicial beliefs, in awarding the new trial.

When a defendant’s constitutional rights were violated, when the defendant withheld testimony at trial out of fear of a co-defendant, or when prosecutors engaged in what is known as a Brady rule violation by failing to turn over potentially exculpatory evidence to a defendant, courts have also granted new trials to remedy injustice.

– Imperfect Verdict

The jury’s verdict in this instance is either grossly insufficient or excessive. Some courts have described such judgments as “shocking” to the court’s conscience. When the judgment is in favor of the other party but the evidence and testimony strongly support the first party, a motion for a new trial may be upheld. 

Imperfect verdict

Without sound judicial discretion, the jury system would be an arbitrary and intolerable tyranny that no people could long endure. The new trial has the authority to examine a whole case on the law and the evidence with a view to securing a result that is not only legally but also manifestly against injustice.

Other justifications for requesting a motion for new trial civil case include improper behavior that implies that the jury may be committed by the judge, the attorney, or both. As you might expect, this could happen if the jury is unjustly influenced.

The judge who presided over your trial will hear motions for new trials. A judge would only do this if they believed an appeals court might overturn their decision. However, it is uncommon for an appeals court to overturn them. This is so because appeals courts grant judges great discretion in making decisions like these.

What Happens in Case of Default Judgment Motions for a New Trial? 

In case of default judgement motions for a new trial, if you request a new trial after, you may do so in accordance with a specific statute from the Code of Civil Procedure/Family Law Code or in accordance with grounds related to equity or fairness.

The motion for bringing a new trial should be granted immediately if you weren’t properly served with notice and a default judgement entered. Secondly, if you can demonstrate equity and fairness, you may succeed in a motion for a new trial based on a default judgment.

How Long Do You Have to File a Motion for a New Trial

To file a motion for a new trial, you may need to first file a notice of your intention in some jurisdictions. For example, to file a motion for new trial, California residents must file a notice to move for a new trial within 15 days of receiving notice.

In some states, whenever a motion for a new trial based on recently discovered evidence is made, it must be submitted three years after the verdict or guilty finding. Only “an appeal pending” is an exception. In that case, the court cannot make a decision on the motion before the appeals court remands the case. 

The motion must be filed within 14 days after the judgement, or in other cases, after the finding of guilt for any other motion for a new trial.

In other states, a motion for a new trial must be filed within 30 days of a general verdict or the service of notice by a party that the decision or order has been filed. The motion must also be heard within 60 days of the general verdict or notice of filing unless the court extends the hearing window earlier than 60 days for a good reason.

– What Are the Grounds for a Motion for New Trial Texas Residents Should Know?

The grounds for a motion for a new trial Texas residents should know are several. Motion for a new trial is done so that the court can rehear the case made by a convicted defendant in Texas. There are not many justifications for a new trial.

Motion for new trial texas residents

A new jury will be impaneled in the event that the judge grants the motion. There will be another trial scheduled. The portion of the case being contested will be reheard in the new trial.

There are few recognized reasons for granting a new trial in Texas. These are:

  • The court made a significant error that likely violated the defendant’s rights, such as misleading the judge on a legal issue.
  • The defendant was absent or was denied access to counsel.
  • The verdict was not reached by a fair expression of the court’s opinion.
  • It was influenced by corruption, including the bribery of a juror.
  • A juror was so inebriated during the verdict that their vote was influenced by it.
  • The jury received new evidence after retiring to deliberate, the jury talked with someone about the case, or exculpatory evidence was intentionally destroyed to prevent it from being used in the trial.
  • The verdict was against the letter of the law and the weight of the evidence.
  • There was jury misconduct that prevented the defendant from receiving a fair and impartial trial.

The judge must grant a motion for a new trial if any of these are present.


1. How Is a Motion for a New Trial Different From an Appeal? 

A motion for a new trial differs from an appeal (new trial vs appeal) in many ways, including the fact that the grounds for each are different, and that fresh evidence cannot be introduced during an appeal but can be during a new trial.

Further, an appeal does not retry the case but rather looks for errors made by the trial court. Those who are given a new trial may still challenge the verdict. If a defendant challenges the verdict in their case, the appellate court might order a new trial.


Motions for a new trial are crucial records in a post-conviction criminal case or in civil cases. These motions frequently serve as the foundation for post-conviction appellate remedies like direct appeals or habeas corpus petitions. Further, we conclude the following:

  • A motion for a new trial requests that a new trial be held in light of mistakes made by the judge during the original trial.
  • If more time is required to gather evidence in support of your claim, the court must rule on your motion within 30 days of the guilty verdict.
  • A new trial could be conducted if there wasn’t enough evidence to warrant a conviction.
  • Prosecutorial misconduct, which can include fabricating evidence, tampering with witnesses, or malicious prosecution, is a reason for motion of a new trial.
  • In a motion for new trial rules of court, Texas residents should know that there aren’t many recognized reasons for granting a new trial. 

If you’ve read this article and want to ask the court for a new trial, you must do so quickly, as otherwise, your right to do so will be deemed to have been waived.

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