Manor, TX asked in Appeals / Appellate Law, Criminal Law and Federal Crimes for Texas

Q: What is the process for appealing a life sentence handed down in federal court?

There may have been ineffective counsel who failed to argue adequately for motion to sever and during the sentencing phase.

1 Lawyer Answer
John Cucci Jr.
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Houston, TX

A: There is a short time-limit for filing a Federal Appeal. What's worse, in some instances you need to file a Motion for a New trial, before seeking an appeal. There is a lot to consider. But step one is usually, file a notice of appeal with the Court Clerk and check to see if you need to file the same with the Appeals Court.

Most Federal Appeals Courts ( Texas has the Fifth Circuit which is in New Orleans, LA ), have a Pro Se Clerk to help unrepresented people. Call them at every stage if you do not hire a lawyer.

The following a portion of the Federal Rules of Criminal Appeal:

(b) Appeal in a Criminal Case.

(1) Time for Filing a Notice of Appeal.

(A) In a criminal case, a defendant's notice of appeal must be filed in the district court within 14 days after the later of:

(i) the entry of either the judgment or the order being appealed; or

(ii) the filing of the government's notice of appeal.

(B) When the government is entitled to appeal, its notice of appeal must be filed in the district court within 30 days after the later of:

(i) the entry of the judgment or order being appealed; or

(ii) the filing of a notice of appeal by any defendant.

(2) Filing Before Entry of Judgment. A notice of appeal filed after the court announces a decision, sentence, or order—but before the entry of the judgment or order—is treated as filed on the date of and after the entry.

(3) Effect of a Motion on a Notice of Appeal.

(A) If a defendant timely makes any of the following motions under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the notice of appeal from a judgment of conviction must be filed within 14 days after the entry of the order disposing of the last such remaining motion, or within 14 days after the entry of the judgment of conviction, whichever period ends later. This provision applies to a timely motion:

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