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Todd Spodek (Managing Partner)

Mr. Spodek decided early on in his life to focus his education and experience on trial work. Todd Spodek attended Northeastern University in Boston, MA and majored in criminal justice. This background provided an indispensable tool in the representation of criminal defendants in grand jury investigations, pre-trial hearings, trial, appeals and navigating the corrections process.…

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Austin Federal Criminal Lawyers

Austin, Texas, is the music epicenter of Texas. If you are found with a sizable quantity of drugs in this area, you can be charged by the DEA with drug trafficking even if it was for personal use. It is not uncommon for people to boil down the resins of marijuana for personal edibles that can be consumed. This makes the volume of drugs seized a moot issue and the trafficking charges pure speculation unless the marijuana was packaged into small packets for sale or a high-volume of distribution can be proven.

If you are targeted by the federal government for any type of computer, kidnapping, extortion, mail fraud, bank fraud, tax fraud, or other organized crime laws, it is important to obtain the best representation possible.

Why Do I Need an Experienced Attorney?

Skilled Austin federal criminal defense attorneys are able to force the prosecution’s hand when it comes to negotiating a plea deal. You may be able to walk away with a few months in jail, probation, or even a fine. In some cases, the prosecution is missing an element of the offense or evidence regarding a key element. The judges and prosecution will ignore you like you don’t know night from day if you try to raise these issues. When an expert attorney raises them, they won’t be able to cover up the injustices.

It is an uphill battle to litigate a claim yourself or to rely on court-appointed attorneys that have huge caseloads. When it comes to any kind of litigation, the size of your war chest is the all-controlling factor. Prosecutors like to pick on unarmed and gullible defendants who are easily manipulated. For this reason, you will see a lot of serious criminals escape justice and the most innocent people vilified for petty infractions.

Furthermore, because the law is now so hypertechnical, the judges are becoming increasingly intolerant of even small procedural errors that impede their workflow. For these reasons, it may not matter how intelligent you are or how innocent you may be, you can have rock-solid evidence of innocence and be barred from submitting it at trial. The trial judge will just pretend that it is inadmissible, and that you don’t know the rules.

When you are trying to litigate in the courts, you are dealing with some very hardened characters. Their business is to perpetuate the appearance of being tough on crime. And they are bound to walk all over you if you don’t have someone well versed in criminal defense to stand in your corner. Many judges walk into courts and rely almost exclusively on the representations of the attorneys to present the claims from both sides. They trust these presentations because the attorneys have a lot to lose if they attempt to mislead the court. When a defendant walks into court and tries to represent themselves, they will almost always become an object of derision.

A skilled attorney also has the resources to conduct their own investigations into the matter. They can work with expert witnesses to produce forensic evidence that acquits you even if it outwardly appears that you are guilty and without hope based on the prosecution’s evidence. Without a skilled Austin Federal criminal defense attorney, you are truly at the mercy of officials who are only held back by their conscience if they have one. Many prosecutors have a win-at-all-costs mentality and are willing to shoot first and ask questions later.

The clearest example of this is a recent case where a Texas man was wrongfully convicted of raping a 12-year-old girl. When the DNA evidence was finally compelled, it proved that the DNA of the perpetrator matched a rapist who had other victims. Despite all this evidence, the prosecutor argued that the girl was promiscuous and that the innocent man also had sex with her. Not only did this prosecutor escape consequences for framing an innocent man, but he was also promptly promoted to a judicial position for his clever antics.

The fence politics and faith in the public officials in Texas is alarming. Many see them as infallible and are willing to see the good in any evil they commit. Only a skilled Austin criminal defense attorney can protect you from overzealous prosecutors by putting in the work to hold the prosecution to their burden of proof at every phase of the case.

Filing and pursuing a federal criminal appeal is an intense and complicated process that requires legal experience, resources, time and money. Although it is affected by the initial criminal trial, the federal criminal appeal process can take on a life of its own because it a different dynamic than how the case began in district court. Instead of having a single judge or jury determine the outcome of a criminal case, the federal criminal appeal involves a panel of appellate judges who pour over the relevant parts of the transcript from the district court trial and the case law on advanced legal issues. If a defendant has a viable appeal, it is because there was a legal error in the trial below that had a negative effect on his ultimate conviction.

What Happens Before a Federal Criminal Appeal is Started

The first instinct of a defendant who has just been convicted of a federal crime might be to file an appeal right away. This might not always be in his best interest. The defendant may have also waived his right to appeal if he accepted a plea deal. Before filing an appeal, a defendant needs to speak with an attorney who represents defendants in similar situations with frequency. There may be other ways to improve the ultimate outcome of the case, such as filing a motion for the sentencing judge to reduce his prison sentence or allow him to avoid prison altogether. Giving up your right to appeal is a big decision that should not be taken lightly. Defendants are wise to discuss all possibilities with a criminal lawyer before deciding something that cannot be undone.

Making it Through a Federal Criminal Appeal

The very first filing to secure your right to a federal criminal appeal is filing the notice of appeal in the right circuit court within the deadline. Missing this first deadline could mean that your federal criminal appeal is dead on arrival. This is typically done electronically. The clerk of the appellate court will post a schedule for all of the filings in your case that the lawyers must strictly adhere to.

The first brief that the defense attorney files will set forth all of the legal errors that occurred during the trial and/or jury selection process. The prosecution will get a chance to respond in a separate response brief. The parties may also file separate motions throughout the process. It is important to not miss any of the scheduled deadlines.

Most defense attorneys will ask the panel of judges to allow oral argument. This gives the defense lawyer a chance to reinforce his arguments in front of the appellate judges and answer any questions they may have. It is not always granted and is never a chance for the defense attorney to try to retry the case in a different court.

The judges will decide if the conviction stands or if it will be reversed. If the conviction is overturned, the defendant may get the chance to start the trial all over again from the beginning and present the same or different evidence. You need to decide if having a new trial would be in your best interest or not, especially now that you know all of the government’s evidence against you. The government may get the chance to correct blunders it made the first time around, which could be harmful to you.

Seeking Other Relief

You are not limited to only filing an appeal if you want to make the outcome of your case better. You may be able to get your prison sentence lifted or reduced by a motion that your lawyer could file in district court. There are considerations that can be taken into account at sentencing to help you regain your freedom faster.

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