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A few things you should know about federal appeals

Appeals are heard by appellate courts and there are no court reporters, witness stands or jurors.  The only goal of an appeal is to consider and resolve legal arguments after the facts of a case have been heard.  For the most part, appeals take place in writing and the judges who are involved use legal briefs to examine the issues involved.

In general, the appeals process can take a long time, perhaps many months, and in some cases, more than a year.  This is because federal courts are crowded, and the nature of an appeal is slow.  Courts must consider each case individually, and most times, the legal issues that are involved can be highly complex with lots of supporting documentation to review.  Judges must not only read, but research and review legal arguments, and that takes time.

Most appeals are decided “on the briefs” meaning that the written arguments are filed, the courts consider them, and after a period of time, a decision arrives either by mail or email.

Options after your federal appeal

Despite best efforts, not every defendant will win a federal appeal.  Depending on the specifics of a case, there are many other legal actions that can be taken after a conviction and appeal take place.  One of those actions might include a petition for a rehearing asking that a full court rehear the appeal instead of a panel of three judges.  Another action your attorney can take is to file a motion of habeas corpus, which literally means “give us the body.”  This is a separate lawsuit that is filed by the litigant who seeks to challenge the legality of his or her detention by the federal government.  Both of these actions have specific and strict timelines, meaning that you and your attorney must act quickly to make every attempt to preserve your freedom.

The Law Office of Ginger Kelley serves clients in Newport Beach, Santa Ana and communities throughout Orange County, California.