No system is perfect. In Hillsborough County, mistakes made during trials have led to wrongful convictions and cases that should be brought before the court for federal appeal. The undeserved penalties that accompany false allegations and wrongful convictions can be devastating to the victims they impact and may also cause permanent lasting damages to their lives and the lives of their loved ones. This is especially true where wrongful sex crimes convictions have taken place. When you petition for a federal appeal, a Florida federal appeals lawyer will ask that a higher court reviews your conviction and consequent sentencing.
At Joffe Law, P.A., we believe legal errors and injustices require proper correction. Our dedicated team of experienced federal attorneys in Tampa, Hillsborough County and throughout Florida can give your unique federal appeals case the time and attention that it truly requires. Knowing what your rights are and understanding how the federal appeal process is handled is the first step toward repairing any damages done by wrongful convictions. Below, we will answer a few questions commonly asked regarding federal appeals.
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What do federal criminal appeals do?
In its most basic form, the federal appeals process takes place when a criminal conviction and subsequent sentence becomes subject for review by a higher United States court system. Interestingly enough, there is no constitutional right that guarantees convicted individuals access to appeals. Fortunately, through a process of establishment stemming from statutes put in place by both state and federal governing bodies, appeals courts now exist to handle and review judgments given by lower courts. These appeals court systems include the US Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. The appeals process can get fairly complex. Below, we have summarized some of the basic principles of criminal appeals. Your Tampa federal appeals lawyer will be able to walk you through the process from start to finish. They will be able to advise you and help to protect your legal rights as you submit convictions and sentencing for the review of federal court systems.
How does The United States Court of Appeals operate?
In our federal system, the United States Court of Appeals reviews judgments from district courts in their designated circuits. The Supreme Court of the United States reviews judgments that have been passed by the federal courts of appeals and also from the highest appeals United States court systems. Essentially, higher courts exist to help ensure that all appealed trials have been executed legally and correctly.
What does the process of filing federal appeals look like?
When federal appeals are filed, a defense attorney will ask higher court systems to review cases in-depth and to examine instances of legal error. For the most part, legal errors or misrepresentations that may have occurred during specified past trial proceedings will be used to determine the outcome of an appeals case. The federal appeals process may take anywhere from nine to sixteen months depending on the federal court circuit. Trial court judgments will either be affirmed or reversed based on the final decisions of the court of appeals.
What does it mean to file a Notice of Appeal?
A defendant will have to wait until all final judgments and convictions have been passed before they may start the appeal process. This process will start with the filing of a Notice of Appeal. This notice will include a detailed transcript of the court proceedings as well as all court records from the case that is being appealed. Experienced legal professionals will know how to properly gather court records and file a Notice of Appeal in a way that will ensure its review. No new evidence will be included with a federal appeal. Appeals have been structured to look only at cases that have already passed through lower court systems. Please take note that all notices of appeal must be filed within fourteen days of judgment. This essential step must be taken to ensure that a case will be heard.
When are the necessary case items submitted?
Generally, the Court of Appeals enters an order that establishes the schedule for filing briefs sometime after the initial Notice of Appeal has been filed. All necessary transcripts and court proceeding records from the case being appealed must be gathered and assembled by the party appealing or the attorney representing the party appealing, the case. Some of the items that may be needed include:
- all relevant motions filed in the case
- any transcripts of relevant proceedings
- the trial exhibits
Your federal appeals attorney will be familiar with the required items and assembly and will also help you to coordinate with the prosecutors responsible for handling the included items and appeal.
How are arguments submitted?
Both the prosecuting parties and appealing parties will now be asked to submit briefs. This is the most important document that will be considered in an appeals case. All relevant arguments for either affirming or denying a judgment will be included in the brief submission process. Arguments absolutely must be presented completely and clearly. Judges will not consider arguments that have not been included in the submitted briefs. Your lawyer Hillsborough County federal criminal attorney will help to ensure that all arguments are submitted correctly for the review of presiding judges.
When will federal judges decide cases?
In most situations, the court of appeals will divide into different panels to decide what the outcome of a case will be. Each panel will be made up of three judges. The panel that has been assigned to your case and party will take into account all court records, read the submitted briefs, consider your arguments, and decide the case. Most criminal appeals cases will be decided almost entirely based on the briefs. Oral arguments aren’t common in federal appeals cases. A detailed written decision will be given explaining the opinions of the judges based on all submitted items and arguments from both parties. In rare cases, the court of appeals may issue a “per curiam,” which approves or denies a case without any discussion.
Can a sex crime be appealed federally?
If an individual feels that they have been wrongfully convicted of a sex crime or believes that the sentences imposed are too harsh, they may be able to exercise their right to an appeal. Sex crimes appeals are difficult to win. This is just one of the reasons that seeking expert legal representation is wise. Remember, after fourteen days of the original judgment, all notices of appeal must be filed correctly. Your Tampa federal appeals attorney can help you gather all necessary items and records to help you reach the best possible outcome in your appeals case.
Federal appeals lawyers who fight for justice
Florida residents who have been wrongfully convicted of a sex crime or of any crime should seek a qualified Tampa federal appeals attorney immediately. If you are live in Hillsborough County or elsewhere in Florida, Joffe Law, P.A. is ready and willing to fight for your rights. Our legal team has the extensive knowledge base and years of experience needed to work on complicated trials and appeals.