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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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Overturning A Guilty Verdict In A Federal Criminal Appeal

Overturning A Guilty Verdict In A Federal Criminal Appeal

The process of court rulings from beginning to appeals is not something most people explain off of the top of their heads. A not guilty verdict is the ending for some , but a guilty verdict rarely means the legal process is over .

What is a federal criminal appeal ? A federal criminal appeal, also known as a special appeal, is a legal process in where a judgment or order of the court becomes challenged on legal grounds.

Motions if Wrongfully Convicted

The process for an individual who believes they are wrongly convicted is a good start.

  • A request to a judge to overturn a verdict is a normal thing to do when a guilty verdict is in play. The reintroduction of a verdict comes with the reiteration of a not guilty plea.
  • An order for a new trial is typical in the process of justice. It includes setting aside the verdict, mistrial motions, retrial, etc.
  • Seeking a writ is normal in precedings . The particular motion is to move the course to a higher court to get a different verdict or appeal the existing one.

The appeals often work to either retry the crime or dismiss it all together for either lack of evidence or failure to follow procedure.

What is the appeal framework

State, federal, and The Supreme Court all follow nearly the exact framework.

  • Local trial courts and their appellate divisions is always the first point of contact.
  • Intermediate court systems have panels of judges that confer to make decisions.
  • The higher courts are known as the supreme courts . They consist of seven to nine judges.

Written briefs argue mistakes made in the case or a request made to lessen the sentence applied by the judge or jury .

The government will respond to the written brief about the appeal before taking up the case to hear arguments.

The hardest part of the process is that it often takes months to hear back from an appellate court . The caseload they handle is massive and while expediency is part of justice, is not as easy as it should be.

The ladder of courts start there, and if it ends up at The Supreme Court, it is within their purview to refuse to listen to a case . The Justices only take a handful of cases compared to how many requests they receive .

Important Information in Overturning a Guilty Verdict

Courts cannot rule a guilty case into an acquittal . However, the judges can request a new trial given any new evidence or proof of innocence after argued in front of appellant courts.

Appellant judges typically will only review the evidence presented in the original trial unless unique circumstances arise. Rarely does “new” evidence rise to the quality for a panel to examine any information presented at the original conviction.

Legal mistakes happen more than anyone wants. However, courts will not overturn or request a retrial over every minor error. The exception to the rule is if the mistake had a direct effect on the overall verdict.

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 is usually a mistrial, but most errors are found to be harmless.

Appellant courts may not have the power to overrule a guilty verdict. However, they can reduce sentencing orders when time served is not applied correctly to a convict.

The first and foremost important thing is finding an attorney that specializes in dealing with Federal criminal appeals . It is important to find the right fit for the right circumstances when challenging any charges, much less a guilty verdict through the Federal appeal process.

Withdrawing a Guilty Plea in Federal Court

Changing your plea may not be too late if you really want to fight to prove your innocence after you have been pleaded guilty in a federal criminal case. Is it still possible to withdraw the plea? Does withdrawing a please help the case? If you are considering withdrawing your guilty plea, get in touch with a knowledgeable defense lawyer and know more about the steps you should be taking.

If you or your loved ones have entered a guilty plea and now question that decision, reach out to our legal defense team as soon as possible. Our licensed federal attorneys are always available to begin guiding you through your criminal case. As one of the most experienced legal firms, we know that the federal criminal process can be intimidating, and we truly understand that there are various reasons why a person may enter a plea that they later want to withdraw. If you worked with a public defender, they may not have adequate time to devote to winning your criminal case, and you could feel like a guilty plea gives you a better chance at a favorable result. On the other hand, you may not understand what the difference in plea types is, and you might merely change your mind, or find new information relevant to your federal case. Our defense lawyers are ready to walk you through—no matter what the reason behind your desire to change your federal criminal plea. Visit our firm today or contact us via phone or online for a free initial case analysis and to learn more on how we can begin fighting for your rights and freedom. Rest assured, we will not rest until everything possible has been done to protect you or your loved one.

Can I Withdraw My Federal Criminal Plea?  

As simply stated in the language of the rule in regards to withdrawing a plea, you can withdraw your guilty plea if it is in the interest of justice. There are various situations that can fit the interest of justice requirement as stipulated in the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. You could withdraw your plea and have a second chance to fight for justice if your defense attorney did not properly advise you during the decision process, or was otherwise ineffective. You may equally be granted to withdraw your plea if there were misunderstandings or other issues with the judge or in entering the plea. If you have been asked to enter a plea and still have sufficient time to reach out to a knowledgeable defense attorney, contact our legal defense team right away. If you have already entered a guilty plea but are uncertain if that was the right decision, it is not too late to contact an attorney. What do you have to lose by simply asking? Let us know any questions you may have and let our legal team fight for you.

Should I Withdraw My Guilty Plea in Federal Court?

You may be wondering why you have entered a guilty plea. You may also be questioning yourself if you should withdraw your plea. Even when it is possible to withdraw a guilty plea, it is not always the best idea. This is why it is extremely important to consult an experienced defense lawyer who can guide you through the decision-making process. Discuss it with your lawyer and if both of you think you can win at trial, you should withdraw your plea. If you are uncertain about your federal case, it may be clever to seek a reduced sentence and stick with a guilty plea. It is always a difficult and case-specific decision—get in touch with a skilled and knowledgeable defense lawyer as quickly as possible so you have plenty of time to consider every possibility.

Federal Court Pleas and Plea Deals

To guarantee you are fully informed and that you understand every option available to you, our legal defense team will be with you every step of the way. Committed to aggressively defending your best interests, our top-tier federal attorneys will not rest until everything possible has been done to fight for your freedom. Let us walk you through the decision-making process and help you assess the innumerable options available in your federal criminal case. Call our toll free number or send us a message online.

The federal rule of criminal procedure allows defendants the right to withdraw a guilty plea before sentencing. However, this is not an absolute right since the court has to decide whether the reason for withdrawing is fair and reasonable. For a court of law to determine if the defendant has the right to withdraw a guilty plea, some standards have to be met. There are four tests that an attempt to withdraw a guilty plea must be subjected to. One, the defendant must establish that the reason for withdrawal is fair and reasonable. The defendant must also prove that he or she is legally innocent from the charges pressed against him or her. The court must also consider the time taken between the guilty plea and the motion of withdrawing. Finally, the court must decide whether and the government will be prejudiced in case the person facing federal charges chooses to apply for withdrawal of a guilty plea.

A 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 the court will grant the withdrawal. It is considered that if a defendant made a guilty plea by mistake, he or she would move quickly to withdraw it. If it takes longer to withdraw, the matter may be considered as a strategic plan based on ulterior motives and not necessarily based on the innocence of the defendant.

Prejudice to the government

If a defendant has managed to prove his innocence without undue delay, the courts will have to determine whether the government will be prejudiced if it allows the withdrawal of the guilty plea. The court will have to determine whether the government will be in a position to present a case in a subsequent trial in case the defendant is released. If the defendant can’t be located or the witnesses will be interfered with, the courts might decide not to give the warrant. In most cases, the court will not deny the defendant the right to withdraw a guilty plea based on prejudice, but it will raise the bar for admissible justification. The defendant must prove that the reasons for withdrawal outweigh the potential of prejudice to the government.

When a court considers these four factors, it will decide whether the defendant should be allowed to withdraw the guilty plea before sentencing.

One of the reasons a defendant might consider withdrawing a guilty plea is a change in the law. If there is a change in the law affecting charges the defendant is facing, then a withdrawal is valid. If a law decriminalizes the charges which the defendant had pleaded guilty to, he or she should be considered innocent legally. It is therefore clear that innocence can be established if changes related to the crime contained in the guilty plea are effected.

When judges have received an indication that the defendant is not guilty or maybe did not understand the ramifications of pleading guilty, they might allow withdrawing of a guilty plea. Judges will also want to consider whether the defendant had legal representation at the time of taking the guilty plea. If the defendant lacked a legal counsel, there are high chances that the withdrawal plea will be granted.

Other reasons that might compel judges to allow a defendant to withdraw their guilty plea include cases where lawyers have entered into a guilty plea without the consent of their clients, in cases where the defendant was not informed of the ramifications of taking a guilty plea, new evidence of innocence is established, if the defendant entered into a guilty plea out of threats or off-the-record promises, and if the defendant pleaded guilty under the influence of substance abuse.

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