Covered by NYDaily News. Las Vegas man accused of threatening a prominent attorney and making vile remarks.
Covered by New York Times, and other outlets. Fake heiress accused of conning the city’s wealthy, and has an HBO special being made about her.
Accused of stalking Alec Baldwin. The case garnered nationwide attention, with USAToday, NYPost, and other media outlets following it closely.
Juror who prompted calls for new Ghislaine Maxwell trial turns to lawyer who defended Anna Sorokin.
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Last Updated on: 20th October 2023, 11:32 am
Dealing with a federal conviction can be overwhelming. You may feel like your life is over and there are no options left. But don’t lose hope! There are still legal avenues you can pursue to try and move on from your conviction.
One of the first things to consider is appealing your conviction. This involves asking a higher court to review your case and determine if there were any legal errors that affected the outcome. For a federal conviction, you would appeal to the Circuit Court of Appeals that covers the district where you were convicted. The appeal must be filed within 14 days after sentencing. Grounds for an appeal include:
If the Appeals Court finds there were prejudicial errors, they can order a new trial, dismiss the charges, or modify your sentence. But appeals rarely succeed – only around 10-20% of federal appeals result in reversals. And the appeals process can take over a year to resolve.
Another option is to seek clemency or a pardon. This involves asking the President to show mercy and forgive your crime. A pardon forgives the offense completely, while clemency simply reduces your sentence. The Office of the Pardon Attorney reviews clemency petitions and recommends candidates to the President. To be eligible, you must have completed at least 5 years of your sentence. Factors considered include:
Over the past decade, clemency grants have been relatively rare. President Obama granted over 1,700 petitions, more than any recent president. But President Trump only approved 94 petitions during his term. The process can also take 2-3 years for a decision.
Compassionate release allows courts to reduce your sentence for “extraordinary and compelling” circumstances. It’s meant for cases like terminal illness or elder age. But the criteria was expanded after the First Step Act of 2018. Now courts can consider things like:
You can file a motion yourself or through your lawyer after exhausting appeals. The court will consider factors like public safety, your criminal history, and release plans. If approved, you’ll be placed on supervised release. Approval rates are low – around 6% of motions are granted. But it’s an option if you meet the criteria.
You can also petition for your sentence to be commuted or reduced by the President. This is different from a pardon – your conviction still stands, but your punishment is lessened. For federal sentences, you can apply to the Office of the Pardon Attorney. They review applications and recommend candidates based on factors like:
If your petition is approved, your sentence can be reduced to time served. But sentence commutations are rare – only a few hundred have been approved in the past decade. The process also takes over a year typically.
You can request a presidential pardon, which forgives your offense and some civil disabilities. A pardon doesn’t expunge your conviction, but it shows you’ve been rehabilitated. Pardons are granted based on factors like:
Over 10,000 petitions are filed annually, but only a few hundred are approved. Pardons are rare for serious offenses – only around 6% of petitions are granted. But it may be an option if you meet the criteria and have turned your life around.
For some minor federal offenses, you may be able to get your record expunged or cleared. This seals your conviction from public view and removes some legal restrictions. Offenses like low-level drug possession may qualify if you meet requirements like:
You’ll have to petition the court and prove you deserve expungement. It’s a long process and not guaranteed, but can open doors if you qualify. Many states also allow expungement for certain crimes – so check if this is an option where your offense occurred.
A federal conviction feels devastating, but there are still ways to find relief. Consider appealing your conviction, seeking clemency or a pardon, requesting compassionate release or commutation, or asking for expungement. The processes are long and challenging. But don’t lose hope – take it step by step and pursue any options you may qualify for. With hard work and commitment to rehabilitation, a second chance is possible.
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