• Technically, most cases are "tried" at the district court level. Courts of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court "hear" cases when one side or the other appeals a trial verdict. . As a result, you won't find appellate courts hearing evidence and judging questions of fact (did he do it or didn't he, in other words), they consider questions of law. . For example, the Supreme Court might consider the question of whether a defendant's confession is admissible, but only very rarely would consider whether that confession was true or not. . They would not take testimony from witnesses; they would rely on the transcript from the trial. If they found that they didn't have enough information to make a decision, they'd sent it back for a new trial. . There is a narrow range of issues where the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction -- where cases don't have to wind their way through the lower courts. The most significant of those are cases where a state is one of the parties.

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