Looking for a federal criminal appeals lawyer in Houston? Bennett & Bennett has the experienced and qualifications to competently and effectively represent individuals who need professional legal assistance challenging wrongful convictions, questioning court rulings, and petitioning for prison sentence reduction via the federal criminal appeals process.
Attorney Mark W. Bennett is admitted into and has appeared in numerous federal courts of appeal on behalf of our clients. We’ve successfully argued numerous appeals in federal court that many of our colleagues may have shied away from.
Contact the Bennett & Bennett law firm if you need to consult with our legal team. Our phone number is 713-224-1747.
The first step in the federal criminal appeals process is a guilty adjudgment. Once a person is convicted of a crime, they have the right to an appeal. Filing an appeal means asking a federal criminal appellate court to review a verdict. If the criminal appeals court affirms the conviction, the defendant has another option; petitioning to Supreme Court of the United States for a review of the case.
Moving Forward With a Federal Appeal
Appeals of federal criminal cases from Texas’ four federal judicial districts (Northern, Eastern, Western, and Southern) go to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
The Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure are full of traps for the unwary lawyer, and if you’ve been convicted by a jury in a federal court in Texas you’ll need exceptional counsel to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process.
For example: Your notice of appeal is due within fourteen days of the judgment (there is a hefty $500 filing fee), the record must be ordered within fourteen days after that, and the “brief” is should be filed with clerk of the U.S. Court of Appeals within 40 days after the record is filed.
Filing a Brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals
The “brief” is the document which explains to the appeals court the findings of the original court, the procedural history in the criminal court, the facts of the case, and the argument justifying the request to reverse the ruling or alter the prison sentence. Afterwards, the government will respond to the brief with its own argument brief at which point each side can file one additional rebuttal brief. The briefs will then be forwarded to a three-judge panel for final review. In some instances, oral arguments are requested but it’s rare, and the judges will often make their decision based on the written briefs.
Once the panel has issued their ruling, by reversing or affirming the sentence or conviction, there is still an opportunity for a final appeal by both sides. Either the defense lawyer or the prosecutor may file for a final type of criminal appeal that’s generally referred to as “reconsideration” and involves all the judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals. These type of hearings are rarely granted.
What if the Criminal Appeal Process Fails?
If the appeals process fails, there are other options such as filing a Writ of Certiorari to ask the Supreme Court to consider further appeals. Again, this is rare as getting the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a criminal appeal is a challenge considering the few cases they hear among the thousands of requests they receive.
When fighting a judge’s ruling and pursuing a successful appeal, things come at you fast, and a small slip-up can result in major damage. If you wish to hire experienced federal appellate counsel, call Bennett & Bennett at 713-224-1747 or send us a confidential message using our secure contact form. If you need to visit us in person, our law office is located in downtown Houston at 917 Franklin Street near the Harris County Criminal Justice Center.
Our law firm is led by Attorney Mark W. Bennett, an experienced federal criminal law & criminal defense attorney.