20 Apr 23

Overturning A Guilty Verdict In A Federal Criminal Appeal

| by

Last Updated on: 6th August 2023, 02:20 am

Overturning a Guilty Verdict in a Federal Criminal Appeal: Understanding the Process

The legal process of court rulings from beginning to appeals is not something most people can explain off the top of their heads. While a not guilty verdict may be the end for some, a guilty verdict rarely means that the legal process is over. This is where federal criminal appeals come into play.

What Is A Federal Criminal Appeal?

A federal criminal appeal, also known as a special appeal, is a legal process wherein judgment or order of the court becomes challenged on legal grounds. The appeals often work to either retry the crime or dismiss it altogether for either lack of evidence or failure to follow procedure.

Motions If Wrongfully Convicted

If an individual believes they are wrongly convicted, there are several motions they can make:

– Requesting to overturn a verdict
– Reintroduction of not guilty plea
– Order for new trial (setting aside verdict)
– Mistrial motions
– Retrial
– Seeking writ (moving course to higher court)

Appeal Framework

State, federal and Supreme Court all follow nearly identical frameworks:

1. Local Trial Courts and Their Appellate Divisions

Local trial courts and their appellate divisions are always the first point of contact when filing an appeal.

2. Intermediate Court Systems

Intermediate court systems have panels of judges that confer with each other before making decisions.

3. Higher Courts – Supreme Courts

Higher courts consist of seven to nine judges who hear arguments presented by both sides before making their decision.

Written Briefs And Government Response

Written briefs argue mistakes made in case proceedings or request lessening sentences applied by judge/jury while government responds before taking up case hearing arguments.

Important Information In Overturning A Guilty Verdict

Courts cannot rule guilty cases into acquittals; however, judges can request new trials given any new evidence/proof after argued in front appellant courts.
Appellant judges typically review only evidence presented in original trial unless unique circumstances arise. Legal mistakes happen more than anyone wants, but courts will not overturn or request retrial over every minor error.

Fair trials are part of human rights in America (Lutwak v. the U.S., 344 U.S. 604 (1953)). Errors that contribute to breaking a person’s constitutional rights usually result in mistrial, but most errors found are harmless.
Appellant courts may not have power to overrule guilty verdicts; however, they can reduce sentencing orders when time served is not applied correctly to convict.

Withdrawing A Guilty Plea In Federal Court

Changing your plea may not be too late if you really want to fight and prove your innocence after pleading guilty in a federal criminal case. Is it still possible to withdraw the plea? Does withdrawing a please help the case?

If you’re considering withdrawing your guilty plea, get in touch with an experienced defense lawyer who can guide you through the process.

Can I Withdraw My Federal Criminal Plea?

As stipulated by the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, defendants have the right to withdraw their guilty pleas before sentencing if it is deemed fair and reasonable by court standards.

Should I Withdraw My Guilty Plea In Federal Court?

It’s always best practice for defendants unsure about their federal cases’ outcome or those questioning why they entered into a guilty plea should consult an experienced defense lawyer who can guide them through decision-making processes.

Federal Court Pleas And Plea Deals

To guarantee full information disclosure and understanding of all options available during legal proceedings, our legal defense team will be with clients every step of the way. Committed to aggressively defending clients’ best interests until everything possible has been done fighting for freedom while walking them through decision-making processes assessing numerous options available throughout their federal criminal cases.

Table: Four Tests For Withdrawing A Guilty Plea Before Sentencing

| Test | Description |
| — | — |
| Fair and Just Reason | The standard of fair and just reason has been set as the first in-line when determining whether withdrawal of a guilty plea will be granted. This standard is seen as one that mimics the other three standards. |
| Declaration Of Innocence | If a defendant fails to assert his or her innocence, withdrawal of a guilty plea will be automatically denied. For a declaration of innocence to be considered, the defendant must prove beyond reasonable doubt that they are innocent from the charges they face. |
| Duration for A Motion To Withdraw | Withdrawal of a guilty plea should be undertaken not long after the guilty plea was taken. The more time the defendant takes, the less likely that court will grant withdrawal. It is considered if defendants made their pleas by mistake; they would move quickly to withdraw them; otherwise, it may seem like strategic planning based on ulterior motives rather than actual innocence claims.
Prejudice To The Government: If defendants have managed to prove their innocence without undue delay, courts determine whether government will be prejudiced if it allows withdrawal of guilty pleas.


The federal criminal appeals process can often feel overwhelming and confusing for those unfamiliar with legal proceedings’ ins-and-outs. However, understanding how this process works can help individuals who believe they’ve been wrongly convicted seek justice through motions such as requesting verdict overturns or seeking writs moving courses higher up in court systems.

It’s essential always to consult experienced defense lawyers before making any decisions regarding withdrawing your guilt pleas or entering into new ones during federal criminal cases since these decisions could significantly impact outcomes throughout legal proceedings’ duration.

Our legal defense team is committed to aggressively defending clients’ best interests until everything possible has been done fighting for freedom while walking them through decision-making processes assessing numerous options available throughout their federal criminal cases – call us today!