My understanding is this: In the United States, in a jury trial the jury is the finder of fact, but they are not invited (or permitted) to share any of their findings beyond guilty/not guilty. I also know that a verdict of guilty can be appealed. Also, appellate courts aren't supposed to rule on questions of fact.
This, to me, looks like the court has no way of having any facts. So, what exactly do the appeals courts base their decisions on?