Five Common Myths About Federal Criminal Appeals

Federal criminal appeals comprise a particularly complicated body of law, which is why it should come as no surprise that many people have a large number of questions about how they work. This article will tackle some of the most commonly perpetuated myths about federal criminal appeals in the United States.

Myth: A Federal Appeal Involves a Retrial of Evidence

Many people think that appeals allow a second opportunity to hear facts that were originally introduced at trial. This is not true. Instead, during an appeal, the factual record of the case is almost always already settled. An appeal is a proceeding in which the law behind a lower court’s decision is reviewed. Appeals do not contain many elements of trials including juries, reporters, and witness stands.

Myth: A Notice of Appeal is the Same as an Appeal

A notice of appeal is very different from the appeal itself. While a notice of appeal is a short document that notifies the district court and appellate court of a party’s intention to appeal, an appeal is the process itself and is much more complicated. Because a notice of appeal must be filed within 10 days of the entry of the judgment or order that is appealed, however, many people end up making the mistake of thinking that they must appeal within a period of 10 days. This is not true.

Myth: Appeals are Fast Moving

Federal criminal courts are often crowded, which means that appeals frequently take a long time. Technology has helped to speed up the process slightly, but it still takes a significant amount of time for an appeal.

Myth: Appeals Always Involve Oral Arguments

US Courts’ statistics reveal that 74% of federal appellate cases throughout the country were resolved without any oral argument in 2007. As a result, briefs or written documents that are filed by the party appealing are often the most important part of a successful appeal. As a result, it is likely that your case will proceed without any oral argument at all.

Myth: Losing an Appeal is the End of the Line

Losing a direct appeal is better thought of as the beginning rather than the end of post-conviction proceedings. Depending on the case, there are many other types of post-conviction proceedings. Each federal appellate court has its own procedures for matters. Another potential remedy is a writ of habeas corpus, which in many federal criminal cases follows after a direct appeal. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to outline the various additional proceedings that are available to challenge criminal convictions in a federal court.

Discover How a Criminal Appeal Attorney can Help

If you need assistance making sure that your appellate case resolves in the best possible manner, contact the Federal Criminal Law Center today. Our legal counsel has helped a large number of people with successful appeals and understands what it takes to make sure that your case resolves in a positive manner.