Your attorney will not give up after a conviction, and you should not either. You have the chance to appeal a conviction in Pennsylvania's Eastern and Middle Districts, and you should take advantage of this opportunity. Though an appeal can be time-consuming, energy-intensive, and even frustrating, appealing is your fundamental right—and can provide much-needed hope following a conviction.
Your attorney may appeal:
- Your conviction
- The sentence stemming from your conviction
It may be worth appealing both of these legal outcomes.
How Does the Appeals Process Work in Pennsylvania's Eastern and Middle Districts?
Once you start an appeal, you become the appellant (rather than the defendant). Your attorney will first appeal your case with a circuit court of appeals. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals generally hears appeals for all federal cases in Pennsylvania, including the Eastern and Middle Districts.
The Third Circuit Court may hear your attorney's case for overturning a judge or jury's decision, whether it is a sentence or conviction. When making this case, your attorney will not have the leeway that they did during trial. Your lawyer will not present witnesses or evidence but instead highlight procedural errors, misinterpretation of facts, or other constitutional, legal, or factual errors that affected your case's outcome.
The Third Circuit Court explains that oral arguments are “granted rarely” and that the court relies primarily on your appeal brief to make a decision. This puts great pressure on your attorney to prepare a thorough, accurate, and to-the-point appeal brief.
If your attorney wins their appeal in the Third District Court of Appeals, your case may:
- Return to district court for a new trial
- Return to district court for a new sentencing hearing
- Be altered in some other way
The outcome of a successful appeal depends on why you appealed, what you were appealing, and how the appellate court rules. You may have the opportunity to post bail if the appellate court overturns your conviction and orders a new trial.
What If My Attorney Does Not Win Their Appeal with the Third Circuit Court?
If your attorney does not win their appeal in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, your lawyer may pursue an appeal with the United States Supreme Court. Your attorney must file a petition asking for a “writ of certiorari.” If the Supreme Court grants this petition, it agrees to review your case.
Per U.S. Courts, the Supreme Court hears between 100 and 150 of the 7,000 appeals it receives petitions for each year. This means that the Supreme Court hears between 1% and 2% of requested appeals each year, and it may be difficult for your attorney to get an audience with the Supreme Court.
Your case will need to contain an issue related to federal law in order for the Supreme Court to hear your appeal. If the Supreme Court does not grant your attorney's appeal request or your lawyer does not win your appeal in front of the Supreme Court, then your case may be final.
If your lawyer wins an appeal in front of the Supreme Court, your case may return to trial courts for reconsideration. Your attorney can explain the ramifications of your appeal, including specific details of your case.
What Are Grounds for Appealing a Federal Conviction?
The American Bar Association (ABA) explains that someone convicted of a crime cannot assume they have the right to appeal. You must have valid grounds for a court to hear your appeal.
Some potential grounds for appealing a federal criminal conviction or sentencing include the following:
- That the judge erred in allowing (or suppressing) certain evidence, allowing certain witness testimony, or managing other aspects of the trial
- That the judge rendered an overly punitive sentence
- That the jury did not interpret the facts of the case properly
- That there was some other material error in your case
Some individuals convicted of a federal crime will appeal to a sitting president for pardon or clemency. This may be a last-gasp effort and may not be realistic except in cases of high-profile appellants.
Hire the Lento Law Firm to Handle Every Step of Your Federal Criminal Case in Pennsylvania
As you now see, federal criminal cases in Pennsylvania's Eastern and Middle Districts are complicated. There are many stages to cases like yours, each of which requires substantial attention.
Our team represents those facing the most serious criminal charges. From domestic violence cases to sexual abuse allegations, fraud charges, and any other federal case that you may face, the Lento Law Firm has defense experience.
This experience is absolutely critical when you are facing a potential prison sentence, hefty fine, and other life-changing legal consequences. A conviction will have an effect on your personal life, and likely not a positive one. Our firm wants to secure the best possible outcome for your federal case in Pennsylvania.
Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 or contact us online. They will provide the personal, impassioned defense that you need when facing the federal government. Don't wait to call, as we want to start building your defense as quickly as possible.