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Accused of stalking Alec Baldwin. The case garnered nationwide attention, with USAToday, NYPost, and other media outlets following it closely.

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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.

Todd Spodek is a second generation attorney with immense experience. He has many years of experience handling 100’s of tough and hard to win trials. He’s been featured on major news outlets, such as New York Post, Newsweek, Fox 5 New York, South China Morning Post, Insider.com, and many others.

In 2022, Netflix released a series about one of Todd’s clients: Anna Delvey/Anna Sorokin.

Why Clients Choose Spodek Law Group

The reason is simple: clients want white glove service, and lawyers who can win. Every single client who works with the Spodek Law Group is aware that the attorney they hire could drastically change the outcome of their case. Hiring the Spodek Law Group means you’re taking your future seriously. Our lawyers handle cases nationwide, ranging from NYC to LA. Our philosophy is fair and simple: our nyc criminal lawyers only take on clients who we know will benefit from our services.

We’re selective about the clients we work with, and only take on cases we know align with our experience – and where we can make a difference. This is different from other law firms who are not invested in your success nor care about your outcome.

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Federal Appeals and Post-Conviction Relief

By Spodek Law Group | October 19, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 20, 2023)

Last Updated on: 20th October 2023, 09:23 am

Federal Appeals and Post-Conviction Relief

Getting convicted of a federal crime can be devastating. Many folks feel like their life is over. But there is still hope! Just because you got convicted doesn’t mean all is lost. You still have rights and options. This article will break down how the appeal process works and what you can do after a conviction.

Direct Appeal of a Federal Conviction

After being convicted at trial or pleading guilty in federal court, the first option for challenging the conviction or sentence is to file a direct appeal. The direct appeal goes to the Court of Appeals for the circuit where the district court is located.

For example, appeals from district courts in California would go to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The direct appeal can challenge issues like:

  • Insufficient evidence
  • Procedural errors
  • Sentencing errors
  • Ineffective assistance of counsel

However, the issues raised are limited to the trial court record. The appeals court will not consider new evidence that wasn’t introduced at trial.

The deadline for filing a notice of direct appeal is 14 days from the entry of judgment. This deadline is strict, so don’t delay in consulting with an appellate attorney.

Some key strategies in direct appeal include:

  • Claiming insufficient evidence to convict beyond a reasonable doubt
  • Arguing the trial court made procedural errors like admitting improper evidence
  • Asserting the sentence is illegal or based on incorrect calculations
  • Claiming ineffective assistance of trial counsel

The appeals court may affirm the conviction and sentence, reverse it entirely, or sometimes order a new trial or sentencing. But relief is limited since the appeals court can only consider the trial court record.

Federal Habeas Corpus Petitions

After a direct appeal, the next option is filing a habeas corpus petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The petition is filed directly in the district court where the person was convicted.

Habeas corpus provides another chance to challenge the conviction or sentence. A habeas petition can raise issues like:

  • Prosecutorial misconduct
  • Law enforcement misconduct
  • Newly discovered evidence of innocence
  • Ineffective assistance of counsel
  • Unconstitutional sentences

It also allows presenting new evidence outside the trial record, like:

  • Affidavits from witnesses recanting their testimony
  • Expert reports questioning the forensic evidence
  • Records showing the defendant’s mental illness or disability
  • Evidence of good character

This extra-record evidence can provide grounds for the court to vacate the conviction, order a new trial, or correct the sentence.

Overcoming Procedural Barriers

Various procedural rules limit federal appeals and habeas petitions, so it’s important to work with an experienced post-conviction attorney. Some requirements include:

  • Meeting strict deadlines for filing notices of appeal and habeas petitions
  • Exhausting claims in state court before raising them in federal habeas
  • Showing cause and prejudice to bring procedurally defaulted claims
  • Overcoming the high bar for successive petitions

An attorney can help navigate these complex procedural rules to ensure claims are properly raised and preserved.

Sentence Reduction Options

In addition to challenging the conviction itself, there are options for reducing excessive prison sentences:

  • Direct appeal of sentence – the appeals court can find an illegal sentence or incorrect calculations
  • Habeas petition – can raise claims like unconstitutional sentencing enhancements
  • Clemency petition – requesting the President or Governor reduce the sentence as a matter of discretion
  • Compassionate release motion – asking the Bureau of Prisons to reduce the sentence for elderly or sick inmates

An experienced post-conviction attorney can pursue these avenues for sentence reductions either separately or alongside challenges to the conviction itself.

How Post-Conviction Attorneys Can Help

The appeals process after a federal conviction can seem daunting. Post-conviction attorneys have experience identifying the best strategies for overturning wrongful convictions or excessive sentences. Their skills include:

  • Reviewing the trial record to find appealable errors
  • Collecting new evidence like witness statements and forensic proof of innocence
  • Crafting persuasive legal arguments to meet the high standards on appeal and habeas
  • Navigating complex federal post-conviction rules and procedures
  • Negotiating with prosecutors to correct injustices

Rather than going it alone, consult with a dedicated federal post-conviction attorney. Having an experienced lawyer greatly improves the chances of success on appeal or habeas.


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