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.