As you know, on a small claims appeal, a new judge hears all the evidence again and makes a decision. That judge does not know what happened in the first trial, so this new judge looks at everything as if the case was being decided for the first time. In other words, it is irrelevant how the first judge ruled. It is also irrelevant what evidence was presented at the first trial.
As such, the written declaration could indeed hurt your chances of winning.
However, no one can really predict the outcome of a trial.
Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult with your own attorney.
It is almost impossible to predict how a judge will rule on cases in which I am involved. It is even more so on cases where I have no idea what evidence or testimony was presented. In a small claims appeal, the Judge will consider the evidence provided and rule in the manner that he sees fit.