What issues Do People Raise In A Federal Criminal Appeal?
After a federal conviction, many people would want to know what other legal options they have to fight for their freedom. Among the channels that have been created by the legal system is an “appeal.” An appeal gives a convicted criminal a chance to challenge the decision made by the trial court. However, there remains a lack of sufficient information in the public domain on some of the issues that should be addressed at the appeals stage. The appeal process gives a convicted person a chance to seek justice in case they feel that the trial court made a mistake. It is the last chance in the court legal system where the convict might get a chance to work out free or get a fairer sentence.
Given the importance of this stage, convicted persons should ensure that they have the best legal representation. It is therefore important to hire the services of a highly qualified attorney who has experience dealing with appeal cases. As a defendant, you need to look at the history of the lawyer to determine whether he has a successful track record of winning appeal cases. For a federal criminal case, there are four issues that defendants can raise at the appeals stage.
Denied of Pretrial Motions.
When the defendant initiates an appeal process, one of the issues that can be raised at an appellate court is the denial of Pretrial Motions. A good example is where the prosecution collected information that was used in your conviction in a manner that did not follow the law yet you had filed a motion at the trial court disputing the manner in which the information was obtained. If the prosecution violated your constitutional rights by obtaining a search warrant or wiretapped your phone without following the due process of the law, you have an option to raise this matter with the appellate court. You can convince the appellate judges that the information was collected against your will and in a manner that infringed on your rights. You can prove to the appellate judges that the trial court or the district court made of a mistake by allowing such evidence to be used in the determination of the charges you are facing.
Another issue that defendants can raise at the appellate court is that they were denied a chance to prove their defence. If the trial court denied you an opportunity to bring a witness who would have testified in your case, the appellate court could be called upon to look into the matter again. You can tell the court of appeals that are a crucial witness who could have absorbed you from charges was not allowed to take to the stand. Therefore, the evidence that was used by the trial court was insufficient to arrive at a conviction. The role of the court of appeals is to ensure that the trial process was conducted in a manner that followed the due process of the law and all the parties were heard and given a fair chance to present their evidence.
Sufficiency of evidence
This is one of the most difficult issues that one can raise at the appellate court. In this case, the defendant is raising the point that the information supplied by the government to the jury was not sufficient to warrant a conviction. At this stage, you will be looking to convince the court of appeals judges to weigh the evidence provided again and determine whether the sentence arrived was in tandem with the evidence provided. The court of appeals will consider whether the federal sentencing guidelines were followed in making the decision. This issue will see the appellate judges consider the sentence given, the crime committed and the evidence provided by the prosecution. Again, this is a very difficult issue to raise and therefore will need the defendant to have an able defense team to win.
The fourth issue that a defendant can bring to the appellate court for determination is whether the trial court followed the right process before arriving at the sentence. In this scenario, the defendant will try to show the appellate judges that the trial court did not use the right process and the sentence handed over was not fair. The defendant can provide evidence such as defense submissions that were not considered or even show that trial judges did not listen to his or her side of the story. This is also another opportunity where the defense can ask the appellate judges to consider lowering the sentence arrived at the trial court. The defense can also ask the court of appeal judges to consider coming up with a new sentence based on the evidence provided by both the prosecution and the defense.
An appeal in the case of federal criminal charges can make a huge difference between staying behind bars for a long time, getting a lower sentence, or even walking out free. The defense should hire the best federal criminal defense attorneys to deal with such matters.