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What Happens In A Federal Criminal Appeal

If you or a loved one has been convicted of a federal crime or you have reason to believe that the conclusion the jury came to was wrong, or that your trial was biased or unfair in some way, you may be interested in an appeal. Or, you may be interested in appealing a sentence imposed by a judge which you have reason to believe is an unfair and unwarranted length of prison time. The appeal process, whether you are looking to appeal a conviction received at trial or you are looking to appeal a prison sentence handed down by a judge, is relatively standard.

What are the steps of a federal criminal appeal?

Your appeal will begin when your attorney files a notice of appeal with the court. There are strict timelines for the filing of this document, which is why it is imperative that you are represented at your trial by an experienced federal criminal law defense attorney who is well aware of the timelines and requirements of the trial process as well as the federal appeals process.

After your appeal has been filed, you will need to order and obtain copies of the case transcripts if you have not already done so. Docketing files will need to be filed with the Clerk of the Court as well, so that the Clerk can begin to schedule the appropriate hearings before the court. The court will then issue what’s known as a briefing schedule and you will be given about 45 days to prepare and file the opening brief with the court. A brief is a legal document which lays out the trial, what happened during the trial, what laws/rules/guidelines were not adhered to properly, why the court should take a second look at your trial and also may offer a proposed solution or outcome that you will ask of the court. A brief also seeks to persuade as well as to inform the court of the technical and legal basis and details upon which your appeal will be based. The federal government (prosecutor) will also file its brief, responding to yours and responding to the allegations contained in your brief.

Following the briefing process (there may be multiple briefs filed depending on the unique circumstances of your appeal), both parties will appeal before a panel of three federal circuit court judges. The judges can hold an appeal with or without oral arguments (where you will get to orally present and argue your case and your appeal) and then the panel of judges will deliberate and decide your appeal.

If you have been convicted of a federal crime and wish to appeal either your conviction or your sentence it is crucial that you are represented by a defense attorney with the experience to challenge the initial findings of the court. Do not let what you do not understand or know about the criminal justice system be used against you. Named a top Southern California lawyer by Los Angeles magazine, Attorney David Elden can help no matter how complex the charges might be. Call us today at 1-800-455-6200 for a free case consultation.

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