NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FEDERAL LAWYERS
Last Updated on: 2nd October 2023, 05:32 pm
How to Make Your Federal Criminal Appeal More Successful
A federal criminal appeal is a delicate process. As the appellant, you are unlikely to get the opportunity to speak to any of the judges or court staff who review your case. Your legal counsel will be able to assist you with every step of your appeal.
1. Find the Right Federal Appeals Attorney
An appeal is different from a normal criminal case. The appellate courts are not interested in the admission of new evidence, and the appeal does not go to a recognizable trial. The lawyer who represented you for your initial district court case may not be the right choice for a federal criminal appeal.
Seek a federal appeals attorney who has experience with federal criminal appeals. Your federal appeals lawyer will need to review the court record for the case, find potential errors in the trial proceedings, and write a compelling argument as to why those errors impact the final judgment that you would like overturned. Success depends on your federal appeal attorney’s ability to recognize the relevant issues that the appellate court will be interested in.
As a final note, some federal appeal attorneys ask clerks or junior staff members to help them construct each brief. Find a federal appeal attorney who will personally comb through the details of your case.
2. File Your Notice of Appeal On Time
You have 10 days to file your notice of appeal after the judgment is entered. This notice is not the same thing as the appeal brief. If you have not yet retained legal counsel for your appeal, ask the attorney who handled your district court case to help you file this notice. If the notice is not filed on time, you will lose your right to appeal the case.
3. Follow All Formatting Requirements
Appellate courts have strict requirements for the way each brief is formatted. Small details like the font or the color of the binding can result in a rejection of your appeal.
Federal appellate judges handle an overwhelming number of cases every day. Small formatting errors can actually be quite disruptive to their process. By correctly following the formatting requirements, you show respect for their work and their time.
4. Preserve Errors During the Initial Case
The proceedings of your district court case will determine the appellate court’s decision. Any errors that occur in the original trial must be noticed and responded to accordingly. If the district court is not given a chance to respond to an error, the appellate court will not consider it in their judgment.
Your legal counsel should be prepared to object to any errors while the original trial is in session. If something is stricken from the record, the lawyer should persist until an adverse ruling is made against the objection. This adverse ruling will be added to the court record, and the error will be preserved for later review.
Speak with your legal counsel to understand if preservation of error will impact your case.
5. Prepare a Sufficient Budget
Federal criminal appeals are lengthy and potentially expensive. An adequate budget will help your legal counsel successfully argue your case.
The appeal brief may be costly to compile. Your attorney needs time to review the small details of your case. The brief itself will need to include court transcripts and important evidence. For long trials, collecting and reviewing a complete transcript can be an expensive part of this process.
Should your legal counsel be granted the opportunity for an oral argument, they will need to travel to the site of the appellate court. Expect to pay for them to travel the day before and stay overnight; you want them to be well-rested so that they can argue your case in the morning.
Your federal appeal attorney will help you determine the budget necessary for your appeal. A federal criminal appeal is an extremely impactful event; do not try to cut costs at any level of this process.
Ultimately, the success of your appeal relies on your legal counsel’s ability to find and highlight relevant information in your case. An eloquent and well-reasoned federal appeal attorney who understands the requirements of the appellate court will be able to help you submit a successful federal criminal appeal.
HOW MUCH DOES A FEDERAL APPEAL LAWYER COST?
In the event you’re considering appealing a decision, this might be a very important step. You will need to find an appeals attorney, not a trial attorney. Usually the person who does your appeals is methodical, and spends a lot of time on the actual case law. Appeals are a request for a higher court to review a lower court’s decision. Federal appeals lawyers handle cases on appeal when a party loses or is unhappy. The appeal isn’t a trial and looks nothing like what you see on TV. As a result, when an appeal occurs the attorney who is handling it looks at how hard the case is going to be and how much paperwork there is. Typically the attorney will charge you for reviewing the files and paperwork associated with the case. They will charge you an hourly rate of $400-$500, or more.
How many times can you appeal a federal case?
Generally speaking, the judgement of a lower court can be appealed to the next court only once. The number of appeals depends on how many courts are superior to the court which made the decision. In states with large populations it’s common for there to be 2-4 levels of courts. In less populated states, there might only be two levels.
Can you appeal a federal conviction?
If you are convicted of a crime you can challenge it. If the judge or jury did something wrong, you can challenge it. IF your attorney handled the case incorrectly, then you can challenge it. The Constitution of the USA says you have a right to effective assistance of counsel in federal criminal cases, and if that right is infringed, then you have the right to overturn a conviction based on that.
What happens if you win a criminal appeal?
In most cases, if you win the appeal, your case will be remanded. This means the case will be sent back to trial court, or the judge responsible for your conviction / sentencing. If the case is remanded, then you might receive a new trial on the charges, be given a chance to negotiate a plea bargain, or be given a new sentencing hearing.
What percentage of cases are overturned on appeal?
According to the last examination by the Bureau of Justice, about 15% of civil trial decisions were appealed. About half by plaintiffs, and half by defendants.
What are the grounds for an appeal?
Grounds for an appeal must be based in law. The appeal allows a defendant to use the law to attack the judgement based on the fact that the law wasn’t correctly applied. It helps to remember that in a criminal trial, the prosecutor tries to convince the jury that a law was violated by the defendant. When you appeal a judgement on legal grounds it means there was an error in the judgement which resulted from the law not being applied properly.
WHY YOU NEED AN EXPERIENCED FEDERAL APPEALS ATTORNEY?
It’s usually a bad idea to have your trial lawyer to represent you on an appeal, it would be like going to a beer shop and trying to get tequila. This is true for federal appellate practice. Federal appeals lawyers handing a federal appeal for the first time will be surprised to learn about all the requirements he/she did not know existed. If a federal appeal attorney is unprepared for oral argument in federal court, or fails to anticipate questions the panel of judges will ask him, then this could be disastrous.
What’s federal civil appeals?
In federal court, most appeals travel in the same path:
- Notice of appeal
- Preparation of the record
- Initial brief / Answer Brief / Reply Brief
- Oral Argument
Federal appellate courts are designed to focus on one thing: the law! They are not a retrial or rehearing of the evidence. It is not a chance to re-open the facts developed at trial. Federal criminal appeals, are legal proceedings in which the judgement or order of the contract is attacked on legal grounds. Unlike district courts, appellate courts aren’t courts of records. There aren’t court reporters, witness stands, or juries. Appellate courts do not receive evidence or testimony.
Notice of appeal and appeal is very different. The notice of appeal, simply tells you the district court and appellate court of a parties intention to appeal. This is a simple document which notifies the district court and the appellate court of a party’s intention to appeal. It’s a smart idea not to wait until the last minute.
FEDERAL APPEALS LAWYERS WILL TELL YOU: THE PROCESS IS SLOW
The appeals process is slow. They take months, if not years. Federal courts are crowded, and the process of an appeal is slow. The courts, consider each and every claim – which takes time. The appeals process is slow. It requires individual judges to read and consider the arguments and evidence. Judges can only work so many hours, so it’s a time intensive process. Bottom line, people are handling your appeals and it takes time.
A conviction in a criminal case is just the first step in the criminal defense process. If you’re convicted, a person has the right to appeal the verdict in the Court of appeals. There are three main ways to appeal a criminal conviction.
- Direct appeal in a Court of appeals
- Write of habeas corpus in state court
- Writ of habeas corpus in federal court
Each appellate track has its own special procedures. Only certain issues should be raised under each respective court. When a person is convicted in state court they have 30 days to file a notice of appeal. This notice of appeal will grant jurisdiction to the Court of appeals to then review the defendant’s case. The notice of appeals begins the appeal process. The direct appeal is a limited review appeal. The appellate court will only review issues which were raised at the trial court and which received an adverse ruling. If your trial counsel failed to raise an issue, and receive a ruling, then the defendant is barred from raising the issue on direct appeal. If the state introduces evidence that shouldn’t come before a jury, your trial attorneys have to object to the admission of the evidence – and give the trial court a chance to keep it out. If the trial court allows it in, over objection, then the issue can be reviewed in appeals. If your trial counsel didn’t object, the issue may not be objected to in appeals. If you own a liquor store, for example, you might need an appeals attorney.
CHALLENGING CONVICTIONS THROUGH WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
Once the direct appeal is finalized, you have one venue left to challenge your conviction in state court – a writ of habeas corpus. The write of habeaus corpus allows a federal appeal attorney to fully investigate the case, including off-the-record evidence. Your federal appeals lawyer can use this new evidence to overturn a conviction. Typically in this process you can make claims of ineffective assistance of counsel, and claims of actual innocence. You’ll want a federal appeals lawyer who understands the process.
IAC – ineffective assistance of counsel – is an allegation that the trial attorney’s performance was deficient, and this is what impacted the outcome of the trial. Qualified federal appeals lawyers can use this information to help you. Minor mistakes aren’t sufficient for an IAC claim. Larger mistakes, like not investigating witnesses, not looking for mitigating evidence/facts, and failing to raise clear constitutional claims, can lead to an IAC claim.
Many innocence claims are publicized through crime documentaries. In order to raise an innocence claim, a writ lawyer / federal appeals lawyer has to investigate the case, find new evidence which couldn’t have been discovered prior to trial, and prove to a court the defendant is innocent of the crime. The defendant must prove innocence by convincing evidence.
Writs of habeas corpus require extensive work. Federal appeals lawyers must investigate the entire case, and have to talk to witnesses, review police reports, trial transcripts, evidence, etc. Many writ lawyers follow up on evidence not pursued by the trial attorney. Once the investigation is complete, a writ federal appeal lawyer has to put together a persuasive pleading. The federal appeal lawyer will conduct a hearing in trial court, and appeal rulings in the court of appeals.
FEDERAL APPEALS LAWYERS
What options do I have for appeals and other post-conviction reliefs?
In general, anyone whose been convicted has a right to appeal the conviction and the sentence. The notice must be filed in 14 days of the judgement. The appeal will then be decided by the US court of appeals. It usually takes a year or so. If you’re filing an appeal, if you have the right to a federal appeal attorney. Typically, the federal appeals attorney you hire will represent you throughout this process. Appeals are limited to the evidence which was presented in the court. You cannot add new evidence on an appeal. In addition, the reason for an appeal is to correct prior legal errors. The appeals court doesn’t decide whether the jury was right
What’s the difference between appeals and a trial?
One of the main differences between a trial, and an appellate review, is that an appeals court doesn’t gather new evidence. The job of this appeals court is to understand what was presented at trial. The court will examine the trial court record, written arguments, and more. There is no jury – the appeals court simply interprets the law, and applies it to the facts in the record.
Can I challenge a conviction through a direct appeal?
When a person is convicted in state court, they have 30 days to file notice of appeal in the trial court. This will grand jurisdiction to the Court of Appeals to review the case. The notice of appeal begins after the direct appeal process. This is a limited review. The appellate court only reviews the issues which were raised at the trial court. If the defendant’s trial counsel failed to raise an issue and receive a ruling, then the defendant is barred usually from bringing to the issue for the first time on the direct appeal. For example, if the state introduced evidence which shouldn’t come before the jury under the rules of evidence, the trial counsel must object to the admission of the evidence and give the trial court a chance to forbid it from entering the trial. If the trial court allowed it, over the objection, then the issue can be looked at for appeals purposes. If your federal appeal lawyer didn’t object, then the issue cannot be brought up for appeals. It’s your federal appeals lawyers job to bring up the issue at the Court of Appeals, and argue that the error occurred in the trial.
What is a federal criminal appeals (after trial)
If you’ve been convicted of a crime after a trial in the US District Court, you have rights which need to be protected by a Federal Appeals lawyer. Your trial attorney might not be familiar with the Federal Criminal Appeals process, you need to take action and hire someone who understands the next level – the appellate courts. In the Federal system, this is the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. Whenever you are in the USA, in whatever US District Court the trial occurred, you have to appeal to a Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. There 12 in the USA, each handles a different area which contains a number of states. The Spodek Law Group can help with virtually any criminal appeal. Our federal appeals lawyers understand how appellate courts work, especially Federal Appeals courts. We believe it’s essential to protect your rights, and craft the best argument for your Federal Criminal appeal. It’s important you have an attorney that raises the essential and important issues in a criminal appeal brief.
Where does a Federal Criminal Appeal begin
Where does it start? The best is to start talking to your appeals attorney, and giving the trial record to your attorney. This is essential. Typically, we speak to our clients in order to understand facts about the trial, to learn about what happened, and to become aware of the facts as they occurred in the trial. This is essential information because the trial record doesn’t always reflect what’s in the transcript. The other place we look at is the trial record. We spend hours, looking over trial records looking for legal issues – that can mean mistakes by judges, mistakes by your attorney, due process errors including the right to a fair trial, errors in the instructions given to the jury, and more. We look at every phase of your trial, and carefully examine every segment of it to make sure your constitutional rights were protected. Perhaps the most important job of your federal appeals attorney is to protect the rights of your clients. In order to protect these rights, the federal appeal lawyer who is handling your federal criminal appeal must be aware of those rights and understand where potential violations occurred. This isn’t always obvious. You have to carefully inspect the trial record, and look at every single fact.
What if your trial lawyer didn’t the legal issue in the lower court?
In order for the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals to consider a legal issue on appeal, it must first have been raised with the trial court. This is called, preserving the issue for appellate review. The court, will often not consider a legal issue raised on appeal if the issue wasn’t raised in the trial court. If the issue is important, it must be raised in the trial court. Often, it’s not possible to argue it before the appelate court. Many times, it’s essential to go back to the trial court, and raise the issue motion practice before filing the appeal.
Federal criminal appeals after a plea and sentence
When should you contact a federal appeals lawyer? Not every federal criminal case will end up going to trial. Not every case can be appealed. It’s your federal appeals lawyers job to understand the difference. Most federal criminal cases end up with a plea agreement. This doesn’t mean though that you are prevented from filing a federal criminal appeal. In the most common plea agreement, you will not be able to appeal the conviction, you could appeal the sentence. There are always exception to the rule of being unable to appeal the conviction, but you’ll need to speak to a federal appeals lawyer to determine whether there is a credible exception for your case. There are many situations where the conviction in a Federal Criminal case can be appealed for a number of reasons. For example, if you allege you had ineffective assistance of counsel, or violation of Rule 11 by the trial judge, or if you were suffering from mental illness – this can be examples of reasons why you might be able to appeal the conviction after a plea. In many criminal cases, as a part of a plea agreement, you sign away your right to an appeal. This is called a waiver of appeal. It does not mean you cannot appeal. There are limitations on every waiver of appeal, and there are some rights which are not waivable. It means you have certain rights you cannot waive, even if you sign an agreement to waive them. Some of these rights are in the Constitutional Amendments, such as the right to effective assistance of counsel. Whether Constitutional, or statutory, you should know that the waiver of your right to appeal doesn’t mean you cannot appeal. Even if you don’t have a legal argument to vacate the conviction in a Federal criminal case, you might be able to appeal the sentence. There are a number of reasons where you can appeal your sentence in a federal criminal case. Generally, your appeal is subject to a plea agreement with the prosecutors. The plea agreement might state that you will be prevented from appealing if the Judge sentences you within a agreed upon range in terms of months in prison. Taking a plea to criminal charges in federal court is very serious. Before you take it, get a second opinion. Have an experienced Federal appeals lawyer look at your case and give you a second opinion on whether you should move forward or not.
WHAT ARE THE STEPS IN A FEDERAL CRIMINAL APPEAL? WHY HIRE A FEDERAL APPEALS LAWYER?
The Spodek Law Group Federal Appeals Lawyers can help with a federal appeals process
If you’re convicted of a federal offense, you have the right to appeal this conviction. You have options to appeal, and potentially overturn, the findings of a trial judge or jury. It’s important that the most important thing in this process is NOT to be discouraged by how difficult it might be. The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure recognize that mistakes can be made in trials – and thus, provide methods to modify or vacate verdicts/judgements. The best known method of achieving this is an appeal.
The Process Explained
There are steps which have to be undertaken before a formal appeal is filed. The process begins in your trial. Certain steps have to be taken in trial court, before a formal appeal can be successfully pursued. Trial procedures have an effect on your appeal. If they are not handled properly, the appellate court may find that you waived one or more of the arguments which could’ve led to a successful appeal. For this reason, you should first speak to a Federal Appeals Lawyers as soon as possible after you receive a verdict. Good federal appeal lawyers can work with you and your Federal Appeals attorney to make sure every issue is properly accounted for, so that the appellate court can properly make a decision. Below are possibilities which should be considered after undesirable judgement/verdict is received.
Motion for judgement of acquittal: This is also known as Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29. It let’s a judge set aside a verdict and enter a judgement of acquittal of the evidence was insufficient to demand a conviction. This has to be made within 14 days of the verdict, or of the jury being discharged. This motion is challenging whether there was enough evidence present by the government to properly convict you. These motions can be difficult to win. But – they must be filed in order for you to retain your right to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence on appeal. If this motion isn’t made, you have waived your right to argue there wasn’t enough evidence to support your conviction.
Motion for new trial: Also known as Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 33, this lets a court vacate a judgement and order a new trial. It has to be filed within 14 days of the verdict, unless there is newly discovered evidence – in which case it has to be filed within 3 years of the verdict. If this is granted, the court will order a new trial.
Common grounds for Rule 33 motions are:
- procedural errors made by the court
- verdict is against the weight of the evidence
Failure to make a rule 33 motion challenges your right to bring this up as an issue when appealing later.
Motion for Arrest of Judgement: This is uncommon. If a trial court didn’t have jurisdiction over the crime which the defendant was charged – this could be a properly warranted motion. In this situation, you can make a motion for arrest of judgement under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 34. This motion has to be made in within 14 days of the verdict.
What should you know about a federal criminal appeal?
appeals aren’t new trial. An appeal is not about the facts of the case. An appellate court doesn’t hear from a witness, doesn’t take new evidence/any evidence, and doesn’t re-try the case. The job of the court is to review the testimony and documents in the trial court in order to decide whether or not an error was made.
The point of an appeals is to see if law was properly applied. The court of appeals looks at factual evidence to see if there’s enough evidence to sustain a conviction – and whether mistakes occurred. For example, was CERTAIN evidence allowed, incorrectly, to be presented to the jury? Were there pretrial motions, that were not decided correctly? Did the prosecution commit misconduct? Arguments like these are considered, and decided, on a criminal appeal. appeals take a lot of time. The federal system is busy, and judges are looking at 100’s of cases each year. Considering an appeal takes time, and often requires a careful review of the entire file, including transcripts of testimony, and more. It can take weeks or months. Even after the brief is filed, and oral arguments are done, it can take a year or more.
What are the chances of overturning a conviction?
Studies show that 68.5% of federal cases were “affirmed,” on appeal, meaning that the conviction was upheld. Only 11.7% of federal cases were reversed. This is important. Appealing a federal conviction is difficult, and the probability of success is not high. Even if the case is successfully appealed, it goes back to trial court. It is now tried again.
Can I Get Out Of Jail While My Federal Criminal Appeal Is Pending?
Being held in jail while a federal criminal appeal is pending makes you anxious and restless. Many questions are troubling your mind. Is there a way to get out? How long will it take? You may feel scared and overwhelmed by the complexities that surround a federal criminal case, but do not give up. It is unquestionably tough to work through the details alone, however obtaining the services of a premier federal defense attorney will help you throughout the process. Your lawyer will battle on your behalf and explain all available options to help you make wise decisions that will positively impact your future. Call Spodek Law Group now to receive a free initial case consultation and to achieve the best outcome possible. Our criminal attorneys will review every detail of your federal case thoroughly and fight to get you or your loved one out of jail, so you can enjoy additional freedom while you wait for the outcome of your federal criminal appeal.
How to Get Out of Jail While Your Federal Criminal Appeal is Pending
While getting out of jail is difficult, it is not impossible. To help you get out of prison while your appeal is pending, your lawyer will work together with you to prove three things to the court. First, you are not a hazard to society. This means that you won’t bring harm or be a threat to anyone or yourself during your time out. The second thing you have to prove is that you won’t leave the country or run from the law. And finally, you need to convince the judge that you are likely to win the appeal, which means you won’t have any prison time to serve after your case is concluded. When you choose to work with Spodek Law Group, you will have an expert federal lawyer fighting on your behalf, who can develop an aggressive appellate strategy. Our lawyers dedicate ample time to every case, to review all the details, and ensure you have the best shot at getting out of jail.
The most difficult part of getting out of prison while your federal criminal appeal is pending is trying to convince the judge that you are likely to win your case and avoid jail time. Proving your innocence that the court got it wrong the first time is difficult to do. You have to provide substantial reason for the judge to believe that when you appeal, you will win. Having a knowledgeable federal appeals attorney will save time and give the best chance at receiving a favorable result. When you partner with Spodek Law Group, rest assured you are in capable hands. Our lawyers have over 40 years of experience working in federal law, and know what it takes to get the wrongly accused and convicted out of jail.
Fighting for Your Federal Criminal Appeals
At Spodek Law Group, we understand that a criminal charge can have a negative impact on your future as it limits your options for housing, future employment, and more. With this, we will work with you to lessen the damage that may result from a wrongful accusation, enabling you to move on with your life afterwards. We will carefully review the details of your unique federal case and develop a custom appellate strategy to help you achieve a positive result. Committed to protecting your future and keeping your best interests in mind, we will fight for you with the best of our abilities. To start developing your defense, contact Spodek Law Group today. The sooner you reach out to us, the more we can do to help you achieve the best available outcome.
Contact us for 24/7
If you have received an unfavorable verdict from a judge and are in the process of appealing, ask the help of a top-tier defense attorney. We understand that legal matters are often time-sensitive. Hence, a member of our talented staff is available 24/7 to provide a free initial case consultation and get you on track with your desired outcome. To learn more about our services, call us or send a message through our online enquiry form. The sooner you connect with us, the more our staff can do to help you.
STEPS IN A FEDERAL CRIMINAL APPEAL – HIRE A FEDERAL APPEALS ATTORNEY
If you’ve been convicted of a federal crime, you have many questions and want to appeal, or overturn, the findings of the court. It’s important you recognize you have options to appeal, and overturn the findings. The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure recognizes that members of the jury, and the judge, can make mistakes and provide several mechanics of modifying verdicts/judgements, vacating them, or undoing the. The best method of remedying mistakes is an appeal. As premier federal appeals attorneys, we can help you with the entire federal criminal appeal.
Many defendants assume that an appeal will happen RIGHT AFTER the jury returns with a verdict. The fact is, some steps have to be taken first before the formal appeal is filed. Each of these procedures has an impact on your appeal, and if they are done incorrectly – can make it impossible to file an appeal since the appellate court will argue you waived your right by not following the rules and procedures. Because of this, you really should speak to a criminal appeals attorney as soon as the verdict is known. Your federal appeals lawyer will work with you, and your trial lawyer, to make sure that the verdict was rendered properly and fairly. If there are reasons why it may not have been, the appeals attorney will work and consider each argument which is to be raised.
Motion for judgement of acquittal: After a conviction, a judge can set aside a verdict and enter a judgement of acquittal, if the evidence was not sufficient to sustain the conviction. This motion has to be made within 14 days of either the verdict, or the jury being discharged – whichever is later. This motion is challenging whether there’s enough evidence presented by the government to truly convict a defendant. These are very difficult motions to win, they should be filed in order for you to retain your right to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence. If a motion is not made, you could potentially waive your right to argue there wasn’t enough evidence to support your conviction before a higher court.
Motion for new trial: This is another possibility, based on Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 33, which says the court can vacate a judgement and then order a new trial of the interest of justice is served. The motion has to be filed within 14 days of the verdict unless it’s based on new evidence. This has to be filed within 14 days of the verdict as well. If a rule 33 motion is granted, the court will order a new trial be had for the defendant. Common grounds for Rule 33 motions are procedural errors made by the court. For example, if the court allowed testimony that should have been excluded, or if there was improper statements made by prosecutors, then this can be an argument that the verdict is unfair. Failure to make a rule 33 motion which challenges the circumstances that lead to the verdict could result in your inability to appeal at a later time.
Motion for arrest of judgement: It is very uncommon, but in some situations it can be argued that the court didn’t have jurisdiction over the crime the defendant is being charged with. This motion has to be made within 14 days of the verdict by your federal appeals attorney.
How Do the Federal Sentencing Guidelines Work?
Considered as one of the most critical stages of a case, sentencing determines the actual penalties for an offense. You may feel like your fight for justice has ended after you have received a guilty verdict. Know that this is not the case and you are simply starting the battle for your freedom. Before making any move, remember that you need a skilled defense attorney to work on your behalf to ensure you have the best shot at achieving your desired result, and to help you understand your legal options during the sentencing process. This stage of your case can be overwhelming and confusing, but your lawyer will explain every step so you will be guided and able to make informed decisions that will positively impact your future. If you are dissatisfied with the performance of your trial attorney, it is time to secure a new legal representative and begin working on the strategic approach towards the next step of your case. Don’t be discouraged by conviction. Reach out to us to learn more about how we can help you turn your situation around.
What are the United States Sentencing Guidelines?
The sentence the defendant receive is not supposed to be random. The judge that hears the case must closely follow the federal sentencing guidelines when determining the punishment, barring extreme circumstances surrounding the case. The guidelines consider several key factors, which include severity of the crime and the defendant’s criminal record.
Severity of the Crime in US Sentencing Guidelines
For every criminal offense, there is a base level sentence that rises and falls depending on the details of the case. There are adjustments made for the victim involved, the defendant’s part in the crime, any obstruction of justice, and acceptance of responsibility. Your lawyer will walk you through the details and look for ways to help you achieve your desired outcome.
Criminal History and Federal Sentencing
Your criminal record will be taken into consideration after the base level is established. There are six categories of criminal history. The first being little to no criminal record and the sixth being an extensive record. Each level of history will further enhance your sentence.
Using Federal Sentencing Guidelines to Determine Your Final Sentence
The defendant’s sentence range will be calculated by adding the base level and subtracting or adding, depending on offense characteristics and the defendant’s criminal history. Once the judge determines the range within the defendant’s sentence must fall, the judge will decide what exactly the penalty should be and is responsible for explaining how they reached that conclusion in writing. Although judges are required to do these calculations, they are not technically required to adhere to the guidelines. Since the guidelines are simply advisory, it is important to have a seasoned federal appeals defense attorney fighting on your behalf. Your lawyer may be able to convince the judge that you deserve a lesser punishment, making it easier for you to move on after a criminal conviction. Our team of skilled lawyers can help you challenge instances where a judge strays too far from the sentencing guidelines. Get in touch with us to obtain the services of our premier defense attorneys.
Our Approach to Sentencing in Federal Criminal Cases
Being convicted of a federal criminal offense means facing choices that impact the rest of your life. In order to make wise decisions, it is important to have a clear understanding of the process. Our team is committed to walking you through every phase and putting the power back in your hands, so you are set up to succeed. We know what it takes to win and are always ready to represent you throughout the sentencing portion of your case. Contact us if you have already received a guilty verdict and learn more about how you can receive the best available outcome in the post-conviction stage of your federal criminal case. We will help you appeal or explore other options. Remember, don’t give up on your fight for justice just yet. Call our toll free number to speak with one of our experienced case analysts and to get connected with a lawyer. You may also send us a message online to schedule a free consultation. Let us work together and build a strategic defense.
How Does Federal Sentencing Work?
Although federal sentencing is similar to sentencing in state criminal cases, there are key differences between the procedures that make having an experienced federal lawyer on your side so critical. Our team of accomplished defense lawyers has gained recognition for our work in misdemeanor and felony cases and knows what it takes to defend the people accused of serious offenses in both state and federal court. If you or your loved ones have been accused of a fraud offense, white collar crime, sex crime, or drug trafficking offense, it is extremely important that you do everything possible to get a knowledgeable federal defense lawyer on your side immediately. Federal investigators know how to find the information they need to bring a case against you. However, you can combat federal agent and attorney tactics by working with an experienced attorney beforehand. Let our defense team help you defend your rights and freedom.
No matter what the specifics of your case, our criminal defense lawyers are fully equipped to protect your best interests. We provide free initial case consultation prior to planning the most strategic approach towards your case. Together with our licensed federal attorneys, our firm has developed into one of the leading defense firms in the country. With a stellar reputation, we can assure you that we can battle for you until you achieve your desired result. Get in touch with us today to get started.
Federal Court Sentencing
The judge must determine what the sentence will be after a person is convicted in federal court. In a state court case, there is a report completed by the probate department, and state sentencing guidelines, to weigh along with the particulars of the case. In a federal case, the United States Sentencing Commission publishes sentencing guidelines. These published guidelines work in addition to the minimum and maximum penalties set by Congress. The judge also receives a presentence report that is similar to the probate court report given to a state judge. The presentence report is considered along with defendant statements, victim statements, and statements from the lawyers on both sides of the case.
Our defense lawyers can guide you through the development of your case and tailor the approach to aim at the results you want, no matter what the specific details of your case. Contact our firm at your most convenient time to learn more about federal sentencing and the guidelines that could affect your case. Let us discuss what we can do to prepare your defense.
Appealing a Federal Court Sentence
If you have been sentenced or are merely awaiting sentencing, you may be able to utilize your right to appeal. Federal district court decisions can be appealed to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals. You can challenge either the verdict in your case, or the sentence. We can help you fight back and potentially achieve an improved case outcome if you believe you were unfairly convicted. If you have already been heard at the Circuit Court level, know that you could appeal to the Supreme Court, although they must grant permission to hear your case and it is extremely rare for them to do so. Our defense lawyers will go through all of your available options with you and help you determine what the best course of action is in your case. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team if you have questions on how federal sentencing works or want to hear more about how our defense lawyers can support you in your case.
Federal Criminal Defense Team
Our defense team is committed to doing whatever it takes to protect your rights and defend your freedom. We are available anytime to start walking you through your case. Let our experienced defense lawyers advise you on the steps you can take to protect yourself if you are under investigation by the FBI, DEA, or any other federal agency. If you have already been arrested, reach out to us immediately so we can begin defending you. We will battle for you until you obtain the results you deserve. Don’t wait any longer; protect your future now. Contact us for federal defense by calling our toll free number or sending us a message online.
Writ of Habeas Corpus Federal Appeals
When individuals are incarcerated, they will often challenge the legality of the conditions where they are being held as well as the legality of their imprisonment. This challenge is done by filing a writ of Habeas Corpus with the court. It is used in cases involving the U.S. Court system but also with immigrant deportation cases, military detentions and more.
It is known as the Great Writ. Habeas corpus provides incarcerated individuals the chance to obtain help from the court system. It is designed to keep the government and other institutions with the ability to incarcerate people doing such a thing according to the law. A writ of habeas corpus provides those in jail with the ability to request a judge release them from jail or end jail conditions they believe are improper. It is a way to make certain individuals are not incarcerated for long periods of time when doing so would violate their rights.
The 39th clause of the Magna Carta signed in 1215 created the legal concept of habeas corpus. During the 1600s, the English courts started utilizing this legal concept and considering habeas corpus petitions. The Founding Fathers of the United States argued about the inclusion of habeas corpus into the Bill of Rights. Chief Justice Marshall was the first U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice. He believed in the importance of habeas corpus. Marshall wrote that habeas corpus is a way to liberate individuals incarcerated without a sufficient legal reason
Suspending Habeas Corpus
Case law and statutory law have habeas corpus elements provided from the Constitution. It defines situations where habeas corpus can be suspended. There are situations where public safety makes suspension of habeas corpus necessary. It can also be done in cases of rebellion. Only the U.S. Congress has the authority to suspend habeas corpus. The executive branch of government does not have the authority on its own to suspend habeas corpus.
Seeking Federal Habeas Corpus
Should an individual need federal habeas corpus relief, they must have sought and been denied all their state’s legal remedies. This is part of federal case law. Individuals who are incarcerated must initially present their claim in state court at least once. This must be done as part of an appeal. It is unnecessary for an incarcerated individual to repeatedly go back to state court and raise the same issues. Should a state court refuse to review an incarcerated person’s claim on the grounds it has already performed such a review, this makes it possible for a federal review of habeas corpus.
A writ of habeas corpus has been identified by the U.S. Supreme Court as a fundamental tool essential for protecting individual freedoms from actions by government that are lawless and arbitrary. It is something that must be administered by the court. It must be done with the necessary flexibility to make certain any miscarriage of justice, within the court’s purview, is discovered and corrected.
A writ of habeas corpus is not a legal action that can be substituted for the appeal process. It has not been designed as a way to test trial procedures as well as state law violation. Should appropriate proceedings have taken place, a court deciding habeas corpus could determine the facts of the case and the law requires a prisoner to be awarded relief. Once a writ of habeas corpus is granted, the government must release a prisoner from incarceration.
Once an individual has been convicted of a capital crime, a writ of habeas corpus can’t automatically be applied to their case. There are exceptions. One is when a subsequent decision involving the case identifies a fundamental right denied during the court proceedings that could have had a major impact on an accurate conviction. Another is when a subsequent decision puts a defendant, or specific conduct, past the reach of the law used for a conviction.
The writ of habeas corpus is a legal tool in place to protect an individual against lawless actions of the state. It is a procedural device that places decisions by the government under judicial scrutiny as a way to protect individual liberties. It was not designed to determine an individual’s guilt or innocence but to test the legality of an incarcerated person’s detention. A court’s job is to determine if the government does or does not have the authority in certain situations to detain someone.
What Issues Do People Raise In A Federal Criminal Appeal?
After a federal court conviction, many people may feel like they were wrongfully convicted or sentenced and thus have an opportunity to appeal the case to a higher court. An appeal allows the defendant to point out possible legal errors that may have occurred that affected the final verdict. Usually, the higher court does not decide whether the accused person is guilty or not but instead reviews the possible errors and either upholds, overturns the decision, or sends it back as a new trial or recommends reviews.
An experienced attorney can identify the most persuasive issues to raise in a court of appeal and put up a compelling argument that would present your grievances and convince the court for a review. It is also good to note the court of appeal does not decide the innocence or guilt of an accused person. Here are some of the issues a defendant can raise in a federal criminal appeal.
You may raise issues concerning how the evidence got admitted or if some evidence was deemed inadmissible. This allows you to request the court to review the evidence and perhaps review the whole case with or without that particular disputed evidence. Our lawyers can take you through the review and give you possible options as a strategy in a court of appeal.
In a court of appeal, you may seek to suppress evidence obtained unlawfully. Such an issue may give you a chance to go back to how the police and other federal agents obtained evidence, challenging the constitutionality of the methods such as violence or violation of your rights. You may also seek a review of certain witnesses that you believe should have been allowed to testify but were not allowed in the lower court.
Suppress a Statement
In the court of appeal, your attorney can seek a review of a statement you made in the lower court that the attorney requested for suppression but got admitted. The review of such decisions by the lower court can help you get the desired verdict.
In federal criminal proceedings, the prosecution must have concrete proof that all elements of the evidence apply to your offense. Therefore in the appeal court, you may raise issues that the prosecution failed to prove beyond doubt that you committed the said offense. Such an issue would give room for a review of the evidence by the appeal court.
Misconduct By the Prosecutor
All legal professionals have strict guidelines and are required to follow professional ethics and the law. If you believe that the prosecutor used illegal or unprofessional ways to obtain a verdict, you can raise the issue in the court of appeal and have your case reviewed.
Inadequate Representation By Your Attorney
In a court of law, your attorney is supposed to represent you in your best interest. However, in some cases, your lawyer may fail to investigate the criminal charges against you, failing to develop compelling arguments that can support your acquittal. The lawyer may even fail to object to inadmissible evidence or come up with a weak defense strategy. In such an instance, you can raise an issue of an incompetent attorney that failed to defend you appropriately.
Misconduct By the Juror
All jurors are bound by strict rules to adhere to during criminal proceedings in a federal court. If you find out their actions violated the rules that later affected the verdict and convicted or sentenced you, then you can raise such misconduct in a court of appeal. These actions may include speaking to witnesses, fellow jurors, lawyers, or even talking to the judge outside court.
Incorrect Instructions To The Jury
Once the courtroom proceedings are over and before the jury can make the final deliberation, the judge provides instructions to the jury, which guides the process of determining whether the accused is guilty or not. Under such cases, you may point out that the judge failed to provide the correct instruction or did not include particular relevant instructions altogether.
Challenging The Sentence
You may also decide to appeal and challenge the judge’s decision, arguing that the judge exceeded or swayed away from the federal guidelines on sentencing. By appealing against the sentence handed to you by the judge, you request the court of appeal to reconsider or reduce the sentence to fit within the federal guidelines.
Spodek law group has experienced Federal Criminal Appeal attorneys to pursue your right to appeal. We understand that appeals are available for a short time after the lower court verdict, so the faster you talk to an attorney, the better. The judge’s verdict may disappoint you and probably render you helpless but consulting a lawyer, an appeal may be successful and hence regain your freedom.
What Issues Do People Raise in a Federal Criminal Appeal?
After a criminal defendant gets a federal conviction at the conclusion of a trial, chances are high that they will consider bringing up an appeal. The upshot of a federal criminal appeal to a higher court is trying to get it to review the decision pronounced by the lower court. An appellant looks for any legal error that could have influenced the conclusion of the case in the lower court. When the appellant is successful in its appeal, the court may reverse the lower court decision delivered in part or as a whole. If the appeal is denied, then the decision pronounced by the lower court stands. Most people are not well conversant with federal criminal appeals, as they do not understand the issues to fight in the appeal. Here are some of the issues that people raise in federal criminal appeals. A federal criminal appeal seeks to challenge legal decisions that were specifically made in the lower court. An appellant must establish that a specific legal error transpired in the lower court. There are four main issues that an appellant ought to raise when appealing a federal conviction. Repression of Evidence If an appellant had brought a motion for repression of evidence in the pre-trial stage and the same was denied, the appellate court can look into it again. An appellant, who had, for instance, filed a motion claiming that the evidence collected against them was done in a manner that violated their rights and lost, they can raise the same issue again. The appellant can litigate on improperly seized or acquired evidence under the Fourth Amendment to the constitution of the United States. They can contend that the evidence used against them in the lower court ought not to have been removed from his/her office or home. The appellant can base their argument on the point that the lower court erred when it allowed such illegally obtained evidence to be on record and relied on it to reach a conclusion. Satisfactoriness of the Evidence If an appellant feels that the prosecution did not satisfactorily prove a certain issue that is necessary for conviction, they can raise this issue during the appeal. This is not often an easy point to prove to the appellate court, but it can be brought up to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence used against an appellant in the lower court. The prosecution ought to prove a fact beyond reasonable doubt to warrant a conviction, and it is possible to argue on insufficient evidence on appeal. Evidentiary Issues Issues touching on the introduction and admissibility of evidence in the lower court form an important issue that an appellant can raise on appeal. There are various rules of evidence that govern how evidence is admitted in court and they ought to be strictly adhered to. An appellant can challenge the rulings issued by the lower court regarding evidence. If at all the lower court denied a party from testifying on behalf of the appellant, then he can tell the appellate court that the lower court erred on that regard. Sentencing As much as the lower courts have broad discretion when it comes to sentencing, it cannot be said that they possess complete discretion. There are certain factors that the lower courts ought to adhere to before imposing a sentence on a criminal defendant. An appellant can bring out the issue of excessive sentencing if the process followed by the lower court when imposing the sentence was wrong, not fair, and did not consider his arguments. The same can be raised in an appeal if they feel that the lower court judge applied the wrong law when imposing the sentence. An appellant can tell the appellate court to pronounce a new sentence guided by the law in making its final decision. Conclusion If an appellant is successful on their appeal, the relief they get depends on their claim. When an appeal is successful on the competence of the evidence relied upon by the lower court, a reversal of the conviction will suffice. If the appellate court finds that an appellant was handed excessive sentencing, they will get a fresh sentencing hearing. If the appeal is successful on suppression and admissibility of evidence then, a new trial can be granted. After a federal conviction, many people would want to know what other legal options they have to fight for their freedom. Among the channels that have been created by the legal system is an “appeal.” An appeal gives a convicted criminal a chance to challenge the decision made by the trial court. However, there remains a lack of sufficient information in the public domain on some of the issues that should be addressed at the appeals stage. The appeal process gives a convicted person a chance to seek justice in case they feel that the trial court made a mistake. It is the last chance in the court legal system where the convict might get a chance to work out free or get a fairer sentence. Given the importance of this stage, convicted persons should ensure that they have the best legal representation. It is therefore important to hire the services of a highly qualified attorney who has experience dealing with appeal cases. As a defendant, you need to look at the history of the lawyer to determine whether he has a successful track record of winning appeal cases. For a federal criminal case, there are four issues that defendants can raise at the appeals stage. Denied of Pretrial Motions. When the defendant initiates an appeal process, one of the issues that can be raised at an appellate court is the denial of Pretrial Motions. A good example is where the prosecution collected information that was used in your conviction in a manner that did not follow the law yet you had filed a motion at the trial court disputing the manner in which the information was obtained. If the prosecution violated your constitutional rights by obtaining a search warrant or wiretapped your phone without following the due process of the law, you have an option to raise this matter with the appellate court. You can convince the appellate judges that the information was collected against your will and in a manner that infringed on your rights. You can prove to the appellate judges that the trial court or the district court made of a mistake by allowing such evidence to be used in the determination of the charges you are facing. Evidentiary issues Another issue that defendants can raise at the appellate court is that they were denied a chance to prove their defence. If the trial court denied you an opportunity to bring a witness who would have testified in your case, the appellate court could be called upon to look into the matter again. You can tell the court of appeals that are a crucial witness who could have absorbed you from charges was not allowed to take to the stand. Therefore, the evidence that was used by the trial court was insufficient to arrive at a conviction. The role of the court of appeals is to ensure that the trial process was conducted in a manner that followed the due process of the law and all the parties were heard and given a fair chance to present their evidence. Sufficiency of evidence This is one of the most difficult issues that one can raise at the appellate court. In this case, the defendant is raising the point that the information supplied by the government to the jury was not sufficient to warrant a conviction. At this stage, you will be looking to convince the court of appeals judges to weigh the evidence provided again and determine whether the sentence arrived was in tandem with the evidence provided. The court of appeals will consider whether the federal sentencing guidelines were followed in making the decision. This issue will see the appellate judges consider the sentence given, the crime committed and the evidence provided by the prosecution. Again, this is a very difficult issue to raise and therefore will need the defendant to have an able defense team to win. Sentencing The fourth issue that a defendant can bring to the appellate court for determination is whether the trial court followed the right process before arriving at the sentence. In this scenario, the defendant will try to show the appellate judges that the trial court did not use the right process and the sentence handed over was not fair. The defendant can provide evidence such as defense submissions that were not considered or even show that trial judges did not listen to his or her side of the story. This is also another opportunity where the defense can ask the appellate judges to consider lowering the sentence arrived at the trial court. The defense can also ask the court of appeal judges to consider coming up with a new sentence based on the evidence provided by both the prosecution and the defense. An appeal in the case of federal criminal charges can make a huge difference between staying behind bars for a long time, getting a lower sentence, or even walking out free. The defense should hire the best federal criminal defense attorneys to deal with such matters.