What Happens In A Federal Criminal Appeal
The federal court systems are a major part of the American justice system. These courts have been set up in order to hear certain types of crimes including bankruptcy. They have also been set up in order to pursue some of the most serious of all crimes. People can brought into federal court for prosecution if they are accused of very dangerous and violent crimes such as kidnapping and carjacking. A person may also be brought into the federal court system if they are accused of engaging in non-violent crimes that took place on federal court property such as military reservations or a national park. The same is true for crimes that involve the use of organizations that cross state lines such as using the mail system to engage in mail fraud.
A conviction of this kind can create many kinds of issues in the person’s life. They might be forced to leave a profession they like or have a business they’ve worked hard to develop seized by the federal government. Once the sentence is completed, having a conviction of this kind can cause all sorts of problems. People who have a record of this kind can be denied access to public housing and forced to reveal their past by law. Under such circumstances it is not surprising that many people find it best to fight a criminal conviction. After someone is found guilty, the process of having a conviction overturned is known as an appeal. An appeal is a formal set of circumstances. Some people may not wish to engage in this process as they are guilty and wish to serve their sentences and move on. Others, however, may want to get that conviction reversed as soon as possible.
The Formal Process
Filing an appeal has a specific process with specific steps that must be followed. If someone wants to file an appeal in the federal court system, they must file what is known as a notice of appeal. This is one form that needs highly conscious attention. The notice of appeal must be filed within fourteen days of the sentence. This date is one that needs extreme attention. If you miss the appeals filing deadline, even by a single day, you might not be allowed to appeal your case at all.
After this form is filed, it’s on the next part of the appellate process. You or your lawyer needs to file what are known as docketing statements. These are statements that indicate how the court system is supposed to handle the specifics of your case. You may also have to ask a court reporter to prepare a transcript of the case if you haven’t done so before. After that, a specific system is place that has deadlines that also need to be followed. You’ll get a briefing schedule from the courts. This briefing schedule indicates a deadline of roughly forty-five days for certain briefs that must be filed for the appeal to go through.
In this document, the lawyer directly lays out the case for an appeal. That lawyer will indicate what errors were made during the trial and why the court must take action. This brief may run to many pages. The overriding goal is to have the court hear and understand what happened in your case and why it was totally wrong. Once this opening brief is filed, the government gets to have a say. Officials at the government are given the chance to respond to such allegations. They get to make the case that the guilty verdict was the right one and all procedures were followed.
During the next few weeks, the process of crafting legal arguments and responding to them will continue apace. Your lawyer will respond to the government’s arguments with additional arguments of their own. This process can take some time to complete. Once it’s been completed, generally a few later depending on the court docket, your appeal will head to a judicial panel. The three judges who are appointed by the president to serve for life will hear your case and have a close look at all arguments both by your lawyer and those who are representing the government. Part of the process may involve oral arguments in front the panel. The panel may also agree to simply look at the briefings. At this point, the results are out of your hands. You and your lawyers can only hope that you’ve done your best to make a case that the lower courts were wrong.
The court will give you a verdict. If they decide to uphold the guilty verdict, you can still appeal the case all the way to the Supreme Court. A great lawyer can help you with this entire process and make sure it’s followed correctly.