Tallahassee Federal Appeals Attorney
If you have been convicted of a crime in federal court, you have the right to an appeal. An appeal is not a new trial–although it can lead to one. Rather, an appeal allows a higher court to review the trial itself and decide if there were any legal errors made that unfairly prejudiced you. If successful, an appeal can lead to a new trial–and in some cases federal prosecutors may simply elect to drop the case if they do not believe they can win at retrial.
Many criminal defendants opt to retain new counsel for their appeal. This is often because a Tallahassee federal appeals attorney has specialized knowledge of the appellate process. At Luke Newman, P.A., we represent clients from Tallahassee and throughout northern Florida who are looking to overturn their federal criminal convictions.
How Federal Appeals Work
The federal government maintains a court system that is separate and distinct from the Florida state courts. Congress has divided Florida into three federal judicial districts–Tallahassee is in the Northern District–each of which has its own District Court. This is where federal criminal cases are tried.
If a defendant is acquitted at trial, no appeal is necessary. The government cannot appeal a “not guilty” verdict. If, however, the defendant is convicted of any criminal offense, they have the right to file a Notice of Appeal. For cases originating in Florida’s Northern District, all appeals are heard by the same court–the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. This court has federal appellate jurisdiction over all District Courts in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama.
Federal appeals are typically heard by a panel of three judges randomly assigned by the 11th Circuit. These judges do not conduct a new trial. Rather, they receive written briefs from the defendant and the government. In some appeals, the panel may ask for oral arguments, which give both sides a brief amount of time to present their case and answer any questions from the judges. The panel then decides the appeal by majority vote.
If a majority of the panel agrees with the defendant, the most common course of action is to order a new trial. If the panel rules in favor of the government, the defendant may elect to pursue further appeals. However, these appeals are not “by right.” Instead, the defendant must ask for permission to appeal further. This can include petitioning the 11th Circuit to rehear the case, or even asking the United States Supreme Court to intervene.
Speak with Florida Criminal Appellate Lawyer Luke Newman Today
An appeal does not work the same way as a trial. A successful appeal often requires working with an attorney who understands the differences between the two proceedings and uses their experience to benefit the client. At Luke Newman, P.A., our practice is built on criminal appeals. Let us help you. If you, or someone you care about, has been convicted of a federal crime and you need legal advice on what steps to take next, contact us today to schedule a consultation.