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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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Criminal Appeals for Federal Cases

By Spodek Law Group | May 21, 2023
(Last Updated On: June 2, 2023)

Last Updated on: 2nd June 2023, 05:30 pm

Understanding Federal Criminal Appeals: 10 Things You Should Know

Table of Contents

  1. A Federal Criminal Appeal Is Not a Retrial or Rehearing of the Evidence
  2. A “Notice of Appeal” Is Not the Same as an Appeal
  3. Federal Criminal Appeals Are Generally Slow
  4. The Vast Majority of Appeals Are Resolved “On the Briefs”
  5. You Want Your Case to Be Orally Argued
  6. The Little Things Count On Appeal
  7. Appeals Can Be Costly
  8. Appeals Live and Die By What Happened In the District Court
  9. You May Not Want What the Appellate Court Has to Give

Navigating federal criminal appeals can be confusing and challenging. Most clients, and even some attorneys, may have limited experience with federal appellate practice. In this article, Todd Spodek and the Spodek Law Group, explain federal criminal appeals and provide answers to common questions for those considering this legal process.

Complete understanding of the appeal system

Federal criminal appeals: What they are, how they work, what the benefits are in filing, and potential risks of learning the system from a legal expert.

1. A Federal Criminal Appeal Is Not a Retrial or Rehearing of the Evidence

Federal courts and methods for federal criminal appeals allow you to focus on the legal inaccuracies committed in the original trial. Click to learn the process and the pitfalls.

People initially assume that an appeal is a chance to reopen the facts developed at trial. A federal criminal appeal or direct appeal is actually a legal proceeding in which the judgment or order of the court (usually a district court) is challenged on the basis of an alleged legal error or errors[1].

It is important to remember the factual record of a case remains unchanged after arriving at the appeals court. A qualified appellate attorney who is well versed in legal research is crucial to meet the technical requirements of the court and give detailed citations to statutes, evidence, and past cases referencing the proceeding.

2. A “Notice of Appeal” Is Not the Same as an Appeal

A notice of appeal is filed within 14 days of the entry of the judgment or order being appealed.

A common misconception is the assumption that the similarly named “notice of appeal” and the actual appeal itself are indistinct entities. In actuality, a notice of appeal is a relatively straightforward process – this one or two-page document signals to the expressing intent to appeal. Swiftly filing a legal retainer is prudent given the 14-day requirement as subsequent filings involve greater detail of the case[2].

3. Federal Criminal Appeals Are Generally Slow

Bear in mind that federal criminal appeals consume time; cases on appeal in the federal system take around a year[3]. Court processes tend to be sluggish as individual judges closely study, analyze and consider the presented arguments, in which caseloads per enforcer can influence resolution times simultaneously.

4. The Vast Majority of Appeals Are Resolved “On the Briefs”

A significant proportion of federal appellate cases, 74 percent in 2019, are resolved “on the briefs”, as their content is the most important part of the valid appeal[4]. This leads to three significant types of briefs to consider when refining critical arguments; an opening brief or principal brief sets up the proposed argument alongside the interpretation of the facts of the presented case, after which the responding responsive appellate brief takes the opposing government side of the case with fact-based counteraccuracy, leading the appellant to file their marked reply brief.

With findings for cases commonly known as legal precedent, what results is an incomparable system relying primarily on clear distinctions between legal thinking and historical mistakes[5].

5. You Want Your Case to Be Orally Argued.

As an attorney, we want the opportunity to reinforce our case via greater detail and argument alongside bipartisan approval.

Oral argument before a panel of judges is seen to be instrumental in convincing the court of contention for legal precedent, especially in criminal cases. With commonly answered questions relevant to public law, legal theory and past rulings, an oral argument presents an essential opportunity to argue eloquently persuading judges simultaneously with fellow representation.

6. The Little Things Count On Appeal

Often, small technical errors can lead to aggravating results on failed motions prior to and including the appeal process .Procedural failures are an age-old reason for appellate courts to decline to correct error[6]. This emphasizes the importance of preserving error and diligently recording case evidence in a meaningful way at the district court level. Appellate review relies upon accurate input, identifying that correct procedure was followed in the original trial, primarily the rulings made by the trial judge[7].

7. Appeals Can Be Costly

Appeals become increasingly more expensive the more complicated the case or the district proceedings Costs remain true throughout as litigators retry cases, examine responses closely and increase the case workload within individual cases. With many appeals reaching medium times, multiple two-sided appeals may flow continuously-resulting in costs associated with presenting or dismissing certain orders[8]. While trial transcripts traditionally act as documentation that warrants additional thousands of dollars, record excerpts seek to reduce costs errand[9].

8. Appeals Live and Die By What Happened In the District Court

The trial courts presume when an appropriate or impartial order or case is placed for appeal review, each appellate relies heavily on listening through accurate research and examination of wrongdoing/error in the specification of cases contained in prior documents or convictions [10]. With trial courts acting vigilantly, erroneous rulings will come before appeal courts and test whether ethical procedure was followed throughout legislation.

Todd Spodek is the founder and Managing Partner of the Spodek Law Group. He is a highly knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in New York with extensive experience in both federal and state criminal law. Winnings recognitions numerous times for the success he achieves in the area of criminal appeals, along with outstanding client service are proof of his commitment to excellence. 

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