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Murder Conviction Appeals Federal Appeals Lawyers

Falling into the jurisdiction of the federal courts can be taxing in more ways than one. Yet, the battle for your freedom and reclaiming your socio-economic status is not over once you are convicted. The majority of federal cases (approximately 97 percent) end with a negotiated plea bargain that forgoes the risks of losing at trial for the certainty of a defined release date range. This may leave very few issues left for appeal. In fact, most prisoners don’t take a direct appeal unless there were aspects of discretion in the sentencing after an open plea that were unfair and open to debate.

What is a Direct Appeal?

In a federal criminal prosecution, the direct appeal is what follows trial and/or sentencing if it is pursued at all. In order to have grounds for a direct appeal, the defendant must have non-frivolous issues that would entitle them to relief related directly to the trial, sentencing, or other pre-trial matters. Nevertheless, if the trial attorney did not preserve these issues with a motion for reconsideration, various pretrial motions, or objections at trial, the issues require something called collateral relief proceedings before an appellate court can review them.

What is Collateral Relief?

Collateral relief is a type of appellate process that is mixed with trial procedures to call witnesses, present evidence, make legal arguments, and testify. In the federal courts, collateral relief comes in the form of federal habeas corpus proceedings under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. This is not to be confused with 28 U.S.C. § 2254 that applies only to state prisoners seeking a final level of review.

The habeas court is a continuation of the trial process but without the jury. The drawback of these proceedings is a lack of public attention and participation. This means that injustices can be committed behind closed doors and occur fairly regularly. Since judges are not held to any defined opinion writing standards, they can skip key arguments and make the evidence of your innocence disappear without even a discussion.

Generally, the habeas court will not consider any evidence unless there was some reason why it was not presented before at trial. In exceptional cases, the judge may allow evidence to be presented if the attorney cannot come up with a reason why he did not present evidence of an alibi or even issues that would have mitigated the sentencing. Although trial attorneys are given broad discretion regarding strategy, they cannot justify every error with an excuse.

Arguing that your trial counsel failed to present key evidence or had failed to consider critical elements of the law that would have lowered or avoided your plea and/or punishment are often pursued in habeas proceedings.

Post-Conviction Appeals

Once the U.S. District Court has ruled on a petition, the prisoner may be able to appeal it if they were granted a certificate of appealability (COA). The COA is the only way that the habeas corpus proceedings can be reviewed. And since the trial judge has an interest in maintaining his judgment, more often than not he will not issue one absent political pressure by the public force of the claims and financial capacity of the defendants. The defendants can seek a COA from the U.S. Supreme Court or the U.S. Court of Appeals in their circuit directly. However, these are rarely granted.

The Pitfalls of Federal Appellate Review

The bottlenecks and inability to obtain appellate review may be one reason why federal prisoners are more likely to plea bargain than state prisoners. The other reason may be the seriousness of the offenses and penalties that compel defendants to take a safe road rather than gambling in an arena that is hard to navigate. Acquiring competent counsel and wrestling with state officials who have a win-at-all-costs mentality can take a psychological toll on wrongfully convicted prisoners. For these reasons, the federal court system is in need of better checks and balances to ensure justice.


Charle Butler
Charle Butler
2021-03-12
Verified
I was hesitant to hire the Spodek Law Group. I read reviews and knew they have a great reputation. However, I thought I would spend money and not see or speak to my attorney. From the beginning to end of my case Todd and the entire staff were available and willing to help. We worked towards and end result that was way above my expectation and Todd delivered. I am forever grateful for patience and long days and night spent working on my case. Thanks Todd and the entire team!
Mesonista parsons
Mesonista parsons
2021-03-05
Verified
My attorney at Spodek was Abigail. She was very knowledgeable and helpful with all my questions and concerns, as well as responsive. Her fees are affordable and Abigail took the time to make sure I understood everything relating to my case. I highly recommend Abigail and will request her services in the future.
debabrata chakraborty
debabrata chakraborty
2021-03-03
Verified
Todd A Spodek is the experienced and best criminal lawyer at USA. He is very professional and always respond on time. Alex also very cooperative and always help me. They took care me and my problem like family member. I am 100% satisfied for their professional service. My result was unexpected and amazing. They dismissed my case. I am really grateful to them. I will recommend you to go there if you want to solve your problem. I wish all the best for them.
Asata Hendricks
Asata Hendricks
2021-03-02
Verified
Truly appreciate the work the guys did!. Exceptional team & I know they care about each and everyone of their clients. I am super thankful to be referred to Spodek Law Group and I am grateful Todd & Alex were able to work diligently to achieve an outcome I am pleased with. Despite COVID they stayed on top of things and kept me informed every step of the way. Very thankful.
Mike Moroff
Mike Moroff
2021-02-26
Verified
I'm very satisfied with the services rendered by Todd, Alex and Mary Lou. I whole heartedly recommend Spodek Law Group . I've worked with and have retained other attorneys in the past with Todd's firm being the cream of the crop for many reasons. A very serious legal matter was resolved after a year's hard work and effort. Todd expertly guided me through the process and was able to navigate and make the good journey bearable as well as successful. Mary Lou initially provided excellent assistance before referring my case to Todd. Alex's support was effective and timely. The customer portal (MyCase) is an invaluable communication tool that also kept track of my case. Various aspects of my case were explained and there were several options provided but I made the final decision of how the case would be handled. The legal fee was reasonable considering the effort and amount of work plus it was a flat fee regardless of the length of time required to conclude my case. Todd made himself available to me and we had many scheduled meetings to go over the progress and to discuss the next steps. I felt more confident after many discussions with him. You will not go wrong choosing Spodek Law Group for legal matters.
Josh Katz
Josh Katz
2021-02-24
Verified
Being that it was the first time that I was in need of an attorney, I was afraid and hesitant and knew I needed the absolute best. It is beyond understood why Spodek Law Group has a reputation of being the top, if not the best law firm in New York. Alex and Abigail were there every step of the way even at the most unconvenient hours. I could not have asked for more. They are extremely good at what they do and they delivered much much more than just winning my case. A big thank you to Alex and Abigail for all the guidance and counseling and their upmost loyal support that extended far more than just legally. If you need the absolute best than don't hesitate to hire Spodek Law Firm.
L.C.
L.C.
2021-02-24
Verified
I cannot tell you how thankful I am to Todd and Alex for their hard work and dedication to my case. I had never been in any trouble before but I had an unfortunate event occur and in the midst of COVID-19 at that therefore I knew I needed a team that was dedicated to my success. Today- my case has been finalized and I’m walking away with no record and can continue life as a mother and a Grad student worry free. I cannot express enough gratitude for their assistance.
AnnMarie Soliman
AnnMarie Soliman
2021-02-23
Verified
I received a summons and called Spodek law group for a free consultation. Alex took my call and was very quick and responsive. He was available anytime through multiple platforms and very reassuring when needed. They are extremely organized and thorough. They got my case dismissed! I’m very grateful. Thank you Alex and Todd!

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"Spodek Law Group have offered me excellent support and advice thru a very difficult time. I feel I've dealt with someone who truly cares and wants the best outcome for you and yours. I'm extremely grateful for all the help Spodek Law Group has offered me. I can't recommend them..."

David Bruce

"Spodek Law Group was incredibly professional and has given me the best advice I could wish for. They had been helpful and empathetic to my stressful situation. Would highly recommend Spodek Law Group to anyone I meet."

Rowlin Garcia

"Best service I ever had. Todd is absolutely class personified. You are in the safest hands with spodek. They have their clients interest in mind."

Francis Anim
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