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New Jersey Federal Appeals Lawyers

October 23, 2020 New Jersey Criminal Lawyers

The process of filing and defending a federal criminal appeal is challenging by design. This is not a procedure that most people are truly familiar with, and many criminal defense lawyers are not well-versed in federal criminal appeals unless they handle them regularly. It is an entirely separate process from the original trial and is not handled in the same court. This is why it is helpful to have a basic understanding of what to expect during a federal criminal appeal and consult with a trusted federal criminal appellate attorney to help strategize about your options.

One of the biggest misconceptions about the federal criminal appeals process is that it is essentially a retrial of the case that was tried at the district court level. To the contrary, federal criminal appeals focus on specific aspects of the original trial court case when there are errors that the defendant hopes to take up with the circuit court. The majority of the federal criminal appeals process occurs by filing briefs with the court. There are not many instances where the defendant is physically present in the courtroom for a hearing during the federal criminal appeals process. The appellate court almost never gets to hear new evidence that was not first introduced at the trial court level.

In addition, many defendants do not realize just how technical the federal criminal appeals process really is. Successful federal criminal appeals are likely won on procedural issues rather than arguments about the facts of the case. For example, if the trial court judge did not apply the proper analysis in deciding whether to exclude a piece of evidence, the defense attorney would research case law to argue about this procedural aspect of the trial and how it could have affected the ultimate outcome of the case. This requires a careful reading of the transcript from the district court trial by a knowledgeable federal criminal appeals lawyer so that no stone is left unturned in finding the types of important legal errors at trial that could give you an opening for a successful appeal.

One of the reasons why it is so helpful to consult with an experienced federal criminal appeals attorney early in your appeal is that they can help you decide whether the relief you might get from a successful appeal is worth it for you. In some cases, you may only be able to get a new trial by winning your appeal. This may not be the best outcome for you. There are other forms of post-conviction relief that may be available in your case and may offer a more helpful resolution to you. A seasoned federal criminal appeals lawyer can talk to you about ways to have your sentence modified or reduced so that you can move on from this experience and start rebuilding your life. Given that federal criminal appeals can be very time-consuming and move at a slow pace, you may want to think about other forms of post-conviction relief that would help you resolve your criminal matter faster. The deadlines for the federal criminal appeals process are set in stone, and there is no leeway for missing them. The sooner you discuss your case with a federal criminal appeals attorney, the more likely you are to keep on track with the deadlines so that your appeal is not dismissed by the court.

In sum, the federal criminal appeals process is often confusing and nuanced. Without the proper guidance of a trusted federal criminal appeals attorney, you are likely to make mistakes throughout the process because it takes significant time to learn the system. The majority of the work in pursuing federal criminal appeals is focused on legal research and writing, which is where a federal criminal appeals attorney could be extremely valuable to you. There is not room for error in this process if you want to prevail on appeal.

What Must be Established to Prove Ineffective Representation
Based on the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution all criminal defendants have a right to effective legal representation. Many who are convicted of a crime often believe they were found guilty because of ineffective representation. It can be a challenge to prove a person didn’t get a fair trial because their lawyer did not do a good job defending them, but it does happen.

Inadequate Representation
Simply because a lawyer lost his client’s case does not mean they did a bad job providing representation. It is accepted the most accurate measure of a lawyer’s performance is if it can be considered reasonable based on objective professional legal standards. There is not a set of predetermined rules that specifically states what is considered reasonable. Each case a lawyer represents is different. All defense lawyers are going to make important decisions concerning legal strategy. These decisions are always judgment calls. A course of action can be reasonable because of the evidence in a case, and it meeting legal professional standards.

Appeals Strategy
When someone receives a guilty verdict in their criminal case, their legal battle has not ended. In many cases, it is just the beginning. This is a time when they should review all their options for future legal actions. Many people decide to put in an appeal to get their sentence lowered or have their conviction overturned. An appeal may take a long time to be reviewed and be a challenge to win. People still have a right to appeal their conviction. A knowledgeable and experienced appellate attorney will know how to review a case and determine the best course of action. A good legal strategy could involve showing that an initial trial attorney’s representation was ineffective.

In most situations, a judge does not want to second-guess the judgment of a lawyer. They will assume an attorney knew how their client should have been defended. A defendant can prove they had ineffective representation in certain situations.

*An attorney advises their client, who holds a green card, to plead guilty to a reduced charge. They don’t explain to their client this plea could have immigration consequences. Their client is then unknowingly deported for their crime when other legal options were available.

*An attorney does not raise an objection when the prosecution introduces evidence that became available because of an illegal search. The reason is the attorney did not perform proper pretrial discovery to learn about the evidence and its source.

*An attorney files a motion to suppress evidence provided by the prosecution. They fail to include a memo detailing reasons why the prosecution’s evidence needs to be suppressed.

*An attorney does not hire an expert witness to counter what is testified to by the prosecution’s expert witness.

*An attorney behaves unprofessionally during the trial. This could involve wearing inappropriate clothing, not being on time for court, misinforming their clients about what is happening with their case, and more.

It is required for individuals to show they were prejudiced by their attorney’s ineffective representation. People will be required to show their lawyer’s mistakes were so significant they resulted in them not receiving a fair trial. They were deprived of an appropriate result. It must also be shown that an attorney did not do their job properly. It isn’t enough to show how a lawyer made mistakes during a trial. It must also be shown how those specific mistakes kept a convicted person from receiving a fair trial. Both of these elements must be proven to establish ineffective representation.

Statute of Limitations
When a motion is filed for ineffective representation, it is subject to specific time limitations known as a statute of limitations. This is the amount of time permitted to file this motion. The amount of time is determined by the state where the court action took place. It is common for the statute of limitations to be within two years after a defendant’s sentence and judgment becoming final. There are some exceptions.

*A defendant retained an attorney to file the motion within the acceptable time period, but the attorney failed to file it.

*The facts a defendant needs to file a claim were unknown to them or their attorney within the filing time period. It wasn’t reasonable for them to have been discovered.

*The fundamental constitutional right a defendant is asserting was not been established during the filing time period. The right was established during that time and determined to retroactively apply.

When a person believes they were found guilty because of ineffective representation, they have a right to appeal their case. It is time to hire a criminal appeals attorney. They will know how to review a case and determine the best possible approach toward an acceptable outcome. It can be complicated. The legal world has various barriers in place that make success a challenge. The attorneys at the Spodek Law Group have experience in handling such post-conviction appeals. They know the process and what is necessary to obtain an acceptable result.



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