Appeals are a fundamental right granted to defendants in the United States criminal justice system. An appeal should never feel like a routine, throwaway action. Federal judges and juries do make mistakes, and appeals are a proven way to rectify those errors.
Your lawyer may appeal one or more aspects of your case. Prosecutorial misconduct, misinterpretation of the facts by judge or jury, or other aspects of your case may be highlights of your appeal. Ultimately, your appeal will argue that the verdict or sentence in your case was unjust.
What Are Grounds for Appealing a Federal Conviction?
Every defendant convicted of a federal offense is entitled to an appeal. However, you do not want to waste your opportunity when you do file an appeal. You should have clear grounds for appealing, and your lawyer will make sure to clarify precisely why you are filing an appeal.
Some possible grounds for appealing a federal criminal conviction or sentence include:
- The judge made one or more erroneous decisions that likely affected the outcome of the trial
- The sentence is not commensurate with the alleged offense
- The jury erred in its ruling, perhaps because it did not properly understand their instructions, the nature of the offense, or some other element of the case
- The prosecutor engaged in misconduct
Each federal criminal case is unique, and so each resulting appeal is unique. A dynamic attorney will craft an appeal based on the facts of your case, highlighting all potential reasons to overturn your conviction or sentence.
The Appeal Process for Federal Criminal Cases in New Jersey
Someone who files an appeal is an appellant, as you have shed the “defendant” title upon the conclusion of your trial.
Per the United States Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals hears all appeals arising from federal criminal cases in New Jersey. As your attorney argues your appeal, they will be up against the U.S. Attorney's Office's Appeals Division.
The appeals process is far from a mini-trial. Often flooded with appeals, the Third Circuit Court will require your attorney to be pointed in their arguments, documenting any specific errors that prompted the appeal. This proceeding will not involve witnesses or a parade of evidence, as a trial generally does.
Circuit courts rely heavily on written appeal briefs to make their decisions. If necessary, the court will call your attorney to make an oral argument, but the written brief generally stands on its own merits.
If Your Attorney Wins Their Appeal in Third Circuit Court…
The Offices of the United States Attorneys explains that a Circuit Court can grant an appeal and:
- Reverse your conviction
- Alter your sentence
- Order a new trial
If you have been convicted, you should consider either of these options positive. Your attorney can explain precisely what the Circuit Court's ruling on your appeal says and means.
Initial appeals are not always successful, though. If the Third Circuit Court overseeing appeals from New Jersey's District Court denies your appeal, your lawyer may proceed to the next step in the federal court process.
You Lost Your Appeal in the Third Circuit Court. What Now?
The United States Supreme Court is the next stop after the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court does not rule on every appeal it receives, and your lawyer will need to first file a petition asking for a “writ of certiorari” before appealing to the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court approves your petition, it will review your appeal.
The statistical likelihood of the Supreme Court hearing your appeal are not high. Per U.S. Courts, the Supreme Court grants between 100 and 150 of the 7,000 appeal petitions it receives each year. Your attorney will discuss the pros and cons of filing this petition should your case reach this stage.
If you face a lengthy prison sentence or similarly weighty criminal penalties, it may be worth seeing the appeals process through to its end. Appeals are yet another area of the federal court process where a capable attorney will be invaluable. Your lawyer will draft, file, and argue your appeal, and may secure the solution you seek.
Hire Attorney Joseph D. Lento to Defend You Against Federal Prosecution in New Jersey.
Simply reading about the federal court process in New Jersey can be exhausting. As you will soon realize, living through the federal court process is far more difficult. The stress of the legal process, the complications of the criminal justice system, and the challenges of mounting a proper defense are too much for most defendants to handle alone.
The good news: You're not alone, and the team at the Lento Law Firm will represent you through the entirety of your case. Federal criminal defense is one of our foremost practice areas, and we understand what is at stake in your case.
We handle a variety of federal case types, including domestic violence cases, fraud charges, drug-related cases, and other cases that rise to the federal level. No case is too big or too small for the Lento Law Firm.
Federal convictions change lives for the worse. You may be separated from your children, lose your job, lose your freedom, and face a permanent stain on your reputation. Let attorney Joseph D. Lento seek a dismissal, exoneration, or other positive outcome for you.
Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 or contact us online. Your case will be personal to us, and we will use all of our resources as we fight for you.