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What is a Federal Criminal Appeal, and How Long Does the Process Take?

 Posted on March 26, 2018 in Criminal Defense

Milwaukee criminal defense attorneys, federal criminal appeal, appeals process,  federal appeal, appealing a verdictMany people are familiar with the idea of appealing a verdict in a criminal trial and taking a case to a higher court if they did not receive a satisfactory outcome. However, the actual appeals process is complicated. Thus, it is important to understand the requirements that must be met and the process that must be followed during a federal appeal.

The Federal Appeals Process

A case cannot be appealed simply because one of the parties did not agree with the verdict; there must be a legal basis for the appeal, such as errors made during the trial or an incorrect interpretation of the law. Furthermore, in criminal cases, only a defendant is typically allowed to appeal a verdict—an appeal by the prosecution could result in the defendant being tried twice for the same crime (known as double jeopardy), which is prohibited by the U.S. Constitution.

Defendants convicted in a federal district court may appeal their case to the appellate court in their region (Wisconsin is covered by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which is located in Chicago, Illinois). In some cases, defendants convicted in state courts may appeal their case to the federal level by filing a writ of habeas corpus.

After a verdict has been entered in a district court, a defendant has 30 days to file a notice of appeal. He or she will also file a written brief which states his or her arguments for why the trial court’s decision was made in error. The prosecution will also file a brief answering these arguments. In addition to these briefs, the appeals court may also hear brief oral arguments from both sides.

After considering both sides’ arguments, the court will make a judgment either affirming or reversing the district court’s decision. If the decision is reversed, the court may decide to vacate the conviction, or the court may order the case to be retried in the district court.

Federal appeals cases can take a great deal of time to resolve. After the notice of appeal is filed, the process of writing and submitting briefs can take several months, and the court may take several more months to reach a decision after considering the briefs and oral arguments. Overall, the entire appeals process typically takes around one year.

Contact a Milwaukee Criminal Appeals Lawyer

If you have been convicted of a crime in state or federal courts, and you believe that legal errors were made during your trial, it is important to work with an experienced attorney to determine your options for appealing the verdict.

At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, we understand the appeals process, and we will draft the briefs and present arguments that will help you achieve a favorable result in your appeal. Contact our Milwaukee, WI criminal defense attorneys at 414-271-1440.





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