A former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State physician was charged in December, 2017 of sexually abusing hundreds of women and girls under the guise of providing medical treatment and sentenced to 60 years in prison. The former physician was also later convicted in Michigan state court after a large collection of child pornography was found on the man’s computers.
After filing appeals in both federal and Michigan state court, the former physician’s federal appeal was denied. The federal appeal argued that the judge had erred and was procedurally “unreasonable” in ordering the former physician service his federal sentence after his state sentence. The ruling, however, found that the former physician had been appropriately sentenced. The exact outcome of the case, however, is still uncertain because the former physician currently has two more appeals pending in Michigan’s state courts.
This appeal provides an example of the complicated nature of sentencing appeals, which challenge the sentence associated with a conviction. There is a high standard in establishing that an error occurred.
Fixing Sentencing Errors With Appeals & Resentencing
While a large number of errors that happen in the courtroom are classified as “harmless,” there are errors on which a person can create the grounds for an appeal. In cases where sentencing errors occur, a successful appeal has the potential to result in a modified sentence or in some cases even a reversal of a previous conviction. Because there is much at stake involving sentence appeals, it is critical to obtain the assistance of a skilled federal criminal appeal attorney in these situations.
How Sentencing Errors are Made
If there is strong evidence that the trial court made sentencing errors, a person likely has strong grounds on which to base an appeal. A sentencing appeal is a request made to a higher federal court to review and change the lower court’s sentencing decision. If the court of appeals determines that a specific error was made or that the judge was unreasonable in making a sentence, the court of appeals will likely either provide the defendant with a new trial or reduce the sentence.
When Sentencing Errors are “Harmful”
Appeals made on the basis of sentencing errors are likely to be successful in modifying the sentence or providing a new trial if certain errors were made. Some of the types of sentencing errors that courts consider “harmful” include the following:
- The sentence assigned is too severe for the crime charged
- The sentence was based on reasons that were not valid
- The sentence was increased as the result of a legal theory that the jury did not accept as true beyond a reasonable doubt
Speak with a Skilled Federal Criminal Appeal Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been charged with a federal crime and needs assistance creating an appeal based on a sentencing error, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced federal appeal lawyer. Contact the Federal Criminal Law Center today to speak with an experienced attorney who can make sure that your appeal is as strong as possible.