by Jenny Gibbons
Stage #10: Appeal
Even after being sentenced to death, a Witch had one final hope: appeal. Some secular courts, and all inquisitorial ones, allowed a Witch to appeal her case to a higher court -- Rome (for inquisitorial courts) or the nation's central court (for a secular court). Often a Witch's sentence would be overthrown or reduced on appeal. Local courts, as we've seen, killed as many as 90% of all the accused. Most national courts killed between 30%-50%, so it stands to reason that if you could get a higher, appellate court to hear your case, you stood a better chance of surviving.
However for a variety of reasons, most Witches never got to appeal their verdicts. Perhaps their country didn't allow appeals, perhaps they didn't know that appeal was an option. The few that did usually profited. For example, between 1600 and 1635, 40% of the Witches from Franche-Comte (a French province near Switzerland and Germany) got reduced sentences if they appealed their cases.