While all courts strive for finality in criminal cases, there are constitutionally protected appeals rights in these cases at both the federal and state levels.


How do you appeal a federal court ruling?


It can be complicated. But we’ve broken down the steps for you to take may mak the appeal process easier to understand – and with an experienced lawyer on your side to help, appealing a federal court ruling doesn’t have to be that complicated.


The Basics


When you are convicted of a federal crime like fraud or embezzlement, the trial of the cases, as a general rule, originates in the jurisdiction where the offense occurred. After a conviction, you have 14 days in which to file a petition for appeal.


Why Federal Court Decisions Should Be Appealed


There are many reasons upon which an appeal may be based. After all, prosecutors trying the case and judges presiding over the trial can, and sometimes do, commit what is known as “reversible errors.” These errors must be such that they prejudice the defendant and render the trial fundamentally unfair.


Below are some of the reasons that can form the basis of anneapl:


  • Improper procedures followed by police, the court, the jury, or even the judge in a way that violated a citizen’s right to due process under the law
  • Unintentional or intentional errors by the court
  • New evidence that comes forward and changes the case against the defendant
  • A sentence that was unfair due to misinterpretation of the sentencing report or because of bias on the part of the judge
  • The defendant was illegally imprisoned, and that happened with proper legal justification, which can occur due to clerical errors or prosecutorial misconduct


What everyone should know about the appeals process is that they won’t hear a new case or new evidence in the appellate court. That court exists entirely to determine if the correct legal procedures were followed in the  original trial.


The only exception to this is when new evidence comes forward that proves innocence and could have previously resulted in the charges against the defendant being dropped.


Notice of Appeal


Once you have worked with an attorney and decided to appeal the ruling against you, the next step is to file an official notice of appeal. The notice must be filed in the same place that heard your case originally or directly with the appellate court – it depends on where you are located.


A fee will be needed when filing a notice of appeal, and a transcript of your case at the district court level will also be requested. After the appeal is officially filed, the clerk will gather the documentation necessary for review by the judge, which includes a brief that your defense attorney prepares on your behalf.


Legal Brief, Argument, and Decision


Another important reason to have an attorney help you through the federal appeals process is the brief that must be submitted to the judge with your appeal. This is a detailed outline of your case that describes what you and your attorney want the court to take into consideration. This includes things such as new evidence in the case or errors that may have led to your conviction.


There is then an oral argument presented by your lawyer before the judge presents their final opinion.