What issues Do People Raise In A Federal Criminal Appeal?

After a federal conviction or sentencing, many people want to bring an appeal. They want to keep fighting their federal criminal charges.

What many people don't know, though, is what issues they can fight in a federal criminal appeal.

In this short video, federal criminal defense attorney Matt Kaiser walks through four kinds of issues that people frequently raise in a federal criminal appeal.

Video Transcript:

If you are bringing an appeal to a Federal Court in a criminal case there are really four main things that people raise in these kinds of appeals.

The first thing that a lot of people raise are Pretrial Motions that were decided against them. For example, if evidence was collected against you through a search warrant or a statement to law enforcement and you filed the motion in the trial court saying that that collection of evidence violated your rights in the constitution, and you lost, you can raise that issue again. You can say that the evidence should not have been taken out of your office or your house. In the appellate court, you can say the district court, the trial court, got it wrong when they let that evidence come in.

The second thing you can raise are evidentiary issues. So if the district court judge kept someone from testifying in your defense and you thought they should have been allowed to testify, you can tell the court of appeals that the district court got it wrong on that score that the person should have been allowed to testify.

The next thing you can raise is the sufficiency of the evidence. If you think the Government didn’t give the jury enough evidence to find you guilty, you can raise that and bring that to the court of appeals. Those can be difficult cases to win but it's an option, it's something you can raise.

Finally, the fourth thing that people raise most often in a federal criminal appeal is sentencing. If the process that the judge followed when he imposed sentence wasn’t the right one, if it wasn’t fair, if he didn’t listen to your arguments, he didn’t listen to what you have to say about why you should get a lower sentence, or he just applied the wrong law. You can tell the court of appeals that and you can ask the court of appeals to order the judge to give you a new sentence and to follow the law when he or she does that.