Federal drug trafficking cases can often be legal matters that are prosecuted intensely by law enforcement officials who are zealous in their job performance. Federal Drug Enforcement Agency officers are as serious as federal prosecutors when they think they have the goods on a large scale drug trafficker. This combination of factors regarding the attitude of prosecutors can easily encourage a federal court judge to impose a sentence that is not necessarily in line with established codified sentencing guidelines, even when a case brought before the court is based on borderline evidence. The final result of a trial with this undercurrent can easily be a harsher sentence than the crime actually merits. Luckily, there is an appeals process that allows a defendant to bring a case back to court for a reassessment of the appropriateness of the punishment and evaluation according to the federal sentencing guidelines. However, this cannot be accomplished with the help and legal expertise of an experienced New York criminal defense lawyer who understands both the appeals process and initial prosecution case development.
Information Restrictions in Appeals Court
Cases that are brought for appeal are viewed differently than when a trial court evaluates evidence and passes judgement. When cases go to trial the determinations of the jury will also be evaluated, and all information delivered by the prosecutor can be reviewed. Decisions and legal interpretations for the bench can be reviewed as well, with the decision of the judge often being a primary contention in the sentencing hearing. Prosecutors can also make errors in assessing certain classes of a drug trafficking case, which can also have a significant impact on a final sentence. All aspects of the trial court procedure can also be re-examined by the appeals judges, but no new evidence can be brought into the case for consideration. An appeal is not another trial. It is a double check on the proper disposition of justice by the original trial court.
Reconsideration of Evidence
The appeals level can also be very important regarding the actually validity of the evidence used to prosecute the defendant. Many trial courts do a very poor job of ensuring that evidence is gathered according to the proper search and seizure protocols while hiding the fact that coercion may be a component of the actual acquiring of evidence. All warrants used to seize evidence of drug trafficking or officer testimony can be reviewed for constitutional acceptance, along with ensuring that all legal rights of the defendant were respected. It is important to understand that appealing a case is essentially a submission of briefs from attorneys on both sides that are re-evaluated by the appeals judges, along with the appropriate sentencing. The appeals court will either uphold the ruling or remand it back to the lower court for reconsideration or dismissal according to the findings of the appellate court. Having an aggressive and detailed New York criminal defense lawyer presenting your argument can be a major advantage when discussing the primary aspects and admissible evidence in a case, especially when they are a former federal prosecutor.
The Importance of an Experienced Appeals Attorney
The appeals process may be the most important phase of a legal matter when the federal government actually has a solid case. The Drug Enforcement Agency rarely gets involved in small prosecutions. Those cases are usually left for the states to settle unless drug trafficking is occurring regularly across state lines. Sometimes the best representation can be an experienced former prosecutor who understands how federal prosecutors build cases and how to best address weaknesses in those assertions.