The United States Supreme Court has been particularly influential in shaping public policy as well as deciding how various criminal laws are prosecuted. Given the Supreme Court’s significant power, people who appeal criminal cases commonly wonder about what cases can be pursued all the way to the United States Supreme Court. For people who are pursuing criminal appeals at these levels, it is important to obtain the assistance of a seasoned criminal defense attorney who understands how to navigate the various issues that can arise. It is also important to understand the scope of the Supreme Court.
The Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court
There are both federal and state courts in the United States. While state courts can hear many different types of state and federal cases, federal courts only hear cases over which they have jurisdiction. These cases almost always either involve a question of federal law or matters where the parties are from different states and the claims in question are over $75,000. When a person appeals a conviction from a federal district court, they can appeal the outcome of the case to a circuit court. After the circuit court issues a decision in the case, a person can then appeal to the United States Supreme Court.
The United States Supreme Court, however, has discretion over what cases to hear. The Supreme Court hears cases from the 13 federal circuit courts as well as appeals that come from the state court systems from each of the 50 states. As a result, the Supreme Court hears only a small number of appeals that are made. The Supreme Court is also able to decline to hear a case without providing any reason for why they have declined to hear the cases. Denying cases in this manner is referred to as denying certiorari.
What Types of Criminal Appeals the Supreme Court Hears
While it is impossible to say for certain if the Supreme Court will hear a particular criminal appeal, there are some types of cases that the court tends to hear. The Supreme Court often decides to hear cases where disagreement exists among the 13 federal appellate courts on the issue of law. The Supreme Court also tends to hear cases in which the justices of the Supreme Court want to provide clarification on an unanswered area of law. A seasoned appellate attorney is often able to help a person determine the likely outcome of their appeal and whether the case is likely to be heard by the Supreme Court.
Speak to a Knowledgeable Appellate Lawyer Today
If you believe that you have not received the proper outcome in your criminal case, you are likely considering the option of an appeal. The appellate process, however, is particularly complicated and involves a complex series of laws. The Federal Criminal Law Center is focused on helping you navigate the appellate process and knows what it takes to make sure your case resolves in the best possible manner. Contact our law office today for a free case evaluation.