The trial and conviction for a federal crime has just concluded and you are waiting for sentencing. It is a good time therefore, to start considering federal criminal appeals a bit more thoroughly. Before sentencing, you are allowed one vital chance to speak and try to mitigate the seriousness of your charges while pleading for leniency. The same trial judge about to pass sentence is the one that will rule if the case can go forward to appeals. If a conviction is the result of your defense endeavor, you will have only 14 days to file the notice of appeal.
To lodge an appeal is to return to court the trial case that sentencing has been passed on; to seek redress. One must consider two things before deciding whether or not to appeal. One, if the trial court sentence is lighter than what the federal prosecutor was arguing for; he or she may launch a cross-appeal to your appeal and the resulting sentence might be much stiffer! Two, if the legal representation you have used at trial is to be retained for the appeal or a more competent defense attorney with specific appeals experience hired.
Once the trial court has passed sentence on a federal criminal case, a notice of appeal is to be filed. Expediency is advisable as this must adhere to the court system’s statute of limitations for filing an appeal notice; which is 14 days. According to www.uscourts.gov, there are 12 regional circuits in the 94 federal judicial jurisdictions of the United States. In these circuits, there are 13 federal Courts of Appeal; which has a panel of justices who handle all appeals on the federal level in each circuit. Above them is the US Court of Appeal for federal Circuit which is the judicial institution that handles matters resulting from international trade, federal claims, constitutional and patent laws. A federal criminal appeals defendant must stay informed about the changes to court names and regulations; or locations of the courthouses.
After the notice of appeal has been dealt with, your lawyer can then file docketing statements; these are the statements that pertain to your trial. They will enable your case details to be is easily put together by the court clerks ready for referral to the appellate bench. In response to the filed notice; the court will issue a briefing schedule. Notification or communication towards the deadline of the briefing schedule is written to all parties, and the federal criminal appeals defendant has 45 days to prepare an opening brief. You must also get in touch with the court reporter who took notes of your proceedings. These notes have to be prepared into trial transcripts which take some time; the transcripts will be used to initiate your appeal defense.
After the briefing schedule has been published by the appellate court; the abilities of a capable federal criminal appeals lawyer will be required if not already acquired. Your counsel will help you to prepare an opening brief; this is the defendant’s first statement. The brief can be filed in a provided from, filled on judicial online portals or handwritten. The opening brief is a lengthy citation filled document; aiming to show the appellate court using references to other similar matters, that the lower court’s trial outcome did not meet either legal or other expectations in reference to your case.
The federal Court of Appeal receives your legal representatives’ arguments; and then it’s the turn of the federal prosecutor who files their opening brief in reply to yours. They reply to the arguments your counsel has put forward and strive to show the bench why the sentencing you received is legally just. The defense lawyer then has a few weeks to file a reply brief; either stressing firmly upon the opening briefs’ stronger points or passing tactical tackles to the prosecution’s arguments. The federal criminal appeals circuit court will then decide if the briefs meet the necessary requirements to pass a ruling. Based on the opening and reply briefs plus other docketed evidence filed by the defense; they can pass sentencing or opt to hear oral arguments from your lawyer against the prosecution. At oral arguments, each side has exactly 30 minutes to make its case; which can be an intense half hour. The discretion however, remains with the judge though parties can make applications in federal criminal appeals for their oral arguments to be heard.
Depending on the outcome of this appeal, the defendant makes the choice to either; be content with the appeal court’s sentence, appeal again at federal circuit level and to further take the matter all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States. The federal Circuit Court of Appeals bench has three judges that the president appoints and is on life tenure. Above this is the Supreme Court; which is the last stop for all appeals. There are however, many favorable outcomes to sentences that have gone through the federal criminal appeals process.
The federal court system has a great deal of control over American’s lives. In general, there are two possible types of activities that can be brought in front of the courts. A civil court case is a disagreement over a civil matter between two parties. A judge may find that one party owes the other party money. In contrast, the criminal courts are where more serious cases are heard. If found guilty, the person can be sentenced not only to heavy fines but also to a possibly lengthy prison term. One type of court where criminal cases are heard is are the federal courts. The federal court system is generally reserved for the most serious of all crimes. Someone accused of an act of terrorism may find themselves in the confines of the federal court system. The same might be true of many other types of serious crimes. This might apply to those who are accused of robbing a bank, engaging in carjacking or as part of hate crime.
Entering a Guilty Plea
Those who are charged in a federal court have the option of fighting the charges. They also have the option of deciding on a guilty plea. Many factors can go into a guilty plea. The person may be scared. They may have been informed there is overwhelming evidence against them. A person may be depressed. They can also be pressed to agree to this agreement by others who may have interests that are not in accordance with their own. A person can also be pressured by law enforcement officials into believing they have no other choice. While it may look like a guilty plea cannot be taken back, it is possible to do so. All those who are planning this course of action should understand what is involved as well as any possible consequences that may come up.
It’s important to know that you might not be able to withdraw a guilty plea. If you have already been sentenced, you might not be able to tell the courts you would like to enter a plea of innocence because you dislike the sentence you were given. However, you might plead guilty and, in turn, expect to receive a certain sentence. For example, you agreed to a guilty plea for possession and expect a year’s sentence. If the judge makes it clear they wish to give you a longer sentence, you have the right to turn around and say this is not your wish. In that case, it’s best to let your lawyer know any deal is off the table.
At the same time, you should also think about if this is in your best interest. When you decide to withdraw that plea, you are making the specific choice to go ahead within the confines of the court system and see if you can convince officials that you are not guilty as charged. Many defendants chose to engage in a process known as plea bargaining. During this process, your lawyer and government officials may discus many possible outcomes. The prosecutor may show you that they have evidence against you hat might be used against you if you decide to take the case forward. A prosecutor may also point out that you have a history of prior criminal activity. This can be seen as a negative even if you are not guilty of this particular crime. All such factors can influence your decision to enter a plea in the federal courts system.
In certain circumstances, it makes perfect sense to withdraw the guilty plea. At heart, if you are totally innocent of all charges, the last thing you want to do is plead guilty of a crime you did not do. You want to fight for justice if there’s a reasonable chance of a good outcome. A conviction in a federal court will have a serious impact on the rest of your life. You will probably face at least some prison time as well as a potential fine. You might be refused a professional license that you need to earn a living such as a state nursing license or the one you have right now might be revoked.
If you choose this course of action, make sure that you have the right legal counsel. The choice to move forward with a plea of innocence will mean new hurdles you might have to face. You could be moving past a plea deal that would have given you less jail time. They can help you decide if the evidence is on your side and how to make best use of it. If you’ve switched legal counsel, the new counsel can you see any evidence that might be used to help you get the results you want.
Can I Get Out Of Jail While My Federal Criminal Appeal Is Pending?
The U.S Justice System is complex, and there are so many things that people do not understand. If you or someone close to you has been convicted in a federal crime and currently serving a sentence, one of the legal channels through which one can challenge the conviction is an appeal. In a case where the defendant has already been convicted, many people assume that the defendant must be in prison serving a sentence even as the appeal process goes on. There is a possibility in law that a convicted defendant can get out of jail pending the hearing of the appeal. It is a possibility, but unfortunately, it is not known to many people. It is for such reasons why defendants in a federal criminal case need to hire the services of highly qualified lawyers who understand the legal system and how it works. If you want to get out of jail pending your appeal, they are two things that must be established.
The first thing that you must do is to prove to the court that you are not a danger to the legal process of establishing whether you were involved in the crime committed. You must also prove that you are not in a position to run in case you are released. By legal standards, a defendant is required to give clear and convincing evidence to be released. You must approve beyond reasonable doubt that you’re not in a capacity to hurt anyone involved in your conviction and prove that you have no capacity to run into hiding outside the country. By providing clear and convincing evidence, it means that you must substantiate to the judges that you have no ill intentions after being released. The judges should not be left with any doubt in mind whether you will cause problems once released from jail.
The other thing you must do in order to be released pending an appeal is that you must show there are high chances that you will win the appeal and therefore avoid spending time in prison. You have to show that the conviction was made out of errors that contributed to your conviction. You must show that the judge or jury got their facts wrong and that you are sure that you will win the appeal. The main problem in such a case is created by the fact that you are facing the same court that convicted you in the first place. In fact, you are trying to tell the same judge who convicted you that they made a mistake and you’d did not deserve to spend time in prison. Clearly, it is an issue that is tough to sell to the court.
When you are arguing for release pending your appeal, you must convince the court that you are not only looking for a lesser sentence but aiming at spending no time in prison at all. So, if at conviction you were sentenced to five years in jail, you should not try to show that you deserved three years yet you want to be released pending your appeal. If you can manage to convince the judges that you are winning the appeal, then they have the right to release you from prison until the appeal case is heard and determined.
Trying to move a motion which will see you released from prison pending your appeal can be a difficult task to move in a court of law since you are facing the people who convicted you. However, it is an option in the legal system that can be raised and exploited if you do not want to spend time in prison as you wait for the determination of your appeal. When dealing with such an intricate matter, you need the services of the best legal minds available. You need someone who understands the legal system so well that he can secure your release. Highly qualified federal criminal defense lawyer can assist you to get your freedom as you wait for determination.
The hardest part about such a case is convincing a judge that you deserve to be released pending the hearing of your federal criminal appeal. Proving that the trial court was wrong in the first time is the biggest hurdle. Hiring the services of a knowledgeable attorney will give you the chance of walking out free as you fight for your freedom at the appellate court.
A criminal charge has the possibility of negatively impacting your future and that of your family. So, when you find yourself facing such a case, you need to explore all the possible channels to see that justice is served. You do not want to leave anything to chance that might see you spending many years behind bars for a crime you may not have committed.