What Is The Federal Appeals Process?
For Criminal Matters:
It is important to retain appellate counsel as soon as possible following a conviction. A Notice of Appeal must be filed (usually within 14 days) following the entry of the Judgement. Then, the case will be assigned a docket number with the Federal Circuit Court, and the counsel of record will enter their appearance. Once the complete record and all transcripts of hearings or trials are transferred and filed in the Court of Appeals, the Clerk issues a briefing schedule, setting deadlines for each side to file their briefs. After briefing is concluded, the Court decides whether oral argument should be granted or if it will decide the appeal based solely on the submission of the briefs. The final step (either after oral argument or submission of the briefs) is for the Court to issue its decision.
Should My Original Trial Attorney Handle My Federal Court Appeal?
Your trial attorney does not have to handle your federal court appeal. Oftentimes, trial attorneys prefer to have a different attorney involved in the appeal in order to have new eyes with a fresh perspective review the case. Also, appeals and trials require a different skill set, which your trial attorney may not feel they possess.
How Will My Appellate Attorney Get Up To Speed On My Case?
Normally, your appellate attorney will obtain a complete copy of the trial court record, as well as audio, video, or transcribed copies of transcripts for any hearings or trials that took place before the trial court. In addition, the appellate attorney will speak to you, the client, and the trial attorney to discuss any potential issues ripe for appeal.
If I Win My Federal Appeal, Is My Case Over?
If your win your federal appeal, the most common response is for the Court to “remand” the case, or send it back, to the trial court responsible for the conviction or sentence.
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