Federal Criminal Appeals

West Virginia Federal Criminal Appeal Lawyer

The Wolfe Law Firm has represented citizens convicted of Federal Crimes in the Northern District of West Virginia for over twenty-three years. If you or a loved one are convicted of a Federal Crime and need to hire an attorney representation on appeal, you can contact us for a free consultation concerning the rights of a defendant in an appeal. Call 1-877-637-5756 for a free consultation with the Wolfe Law Firm today.

Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure requires that a defendant must file their notice of appeal in the District Court within 14 days of the entry of the judgment or the order which is being appealed. Please do not delay if you or a love one feel you should appeal a Federal Conviction. You must file a Notice of Appeal immediately. Contact a Federal Appellant Lawyer to discuss your rights.

There are many ground which can be raised on a direct appeal of the District Court’s Sentence. Some of the grounds for appeal include:

  • Failure to properly calculate the guidelines
  • Treating the Guidelines as mandatory
  • No giving adequate reasons to support the sentence
  • Basing a sentence on clearly erroneous facts
  • Failing to consider statutory factors
  • Sentence which improperly consider prior arrest
  • Not adequately considering arguments for leniency
  • Failing to allow defendant to speak
  • Misapplying fact to the sentencing guidelines

The Appellate Court can only review the record, which consists of District Court Orders and transcripts of your sentencing, to see if the District Judge has committed any errors. The Court of appeals lacks the ability to look behind the scenes for issues if a ruling is not entered or there is no order to be appealed. If an issue was brought to the attention of a District Judge and a ruling was entered then the Court of Appeals can review to see if the ruling was proper.

It is important for an attorney to create proper records, which means in order to preserve an issue for an appeal you need to present written objections, and renew the objections orally at sentencing. The Defendant bears the burden to carefully create and lay grounds for appeal on the record. Failure to preserve error generally results in the application of the standard of review on appeal as “plain error”. This is a difficult standard to prove on appeal.

The United States Supreme Court held in United States v. Olano, an appellate court cannot consider an unreserved issues unless the defendant shows (1) error (2) that was plain and (3) that affected substantial rights. 507 U.S. 725, 732 (1993). Even if all these requirements are met, the court can exercise its discretion to reverse only if the error “seriously affect[ed] the fairness, integrity or public reputation of judicial proceedings.” Id. In United States v. Olano, the United States Supreme Court held, an appellate.

Appeals For Claims Of Ineffective Assistance Of Counsel

Many client’s after sentence feel that the lawyer who represented them on the underlying criminal case may not have done an adequate job defending the case. This type of claim is commonly call ineffective assistance of counsel. A claim of ineffective assistance of counsel is not one that the Court of Appeals encourages filing on a direct appeal. The reason is there has not been a record developed to address whether the lawyer breached his duties to the client.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal in the case of U.S. vs. Powell 680 F.3d 350 (4th Circuit 2012); and U.S. v. McDonald 707 F.3d 522 (4th Cir. 2013), both provide that claims of ineffective assistance of counsel are normally raised before the district court via 28 U.S.C. § 2255.

Finally, Powell claims that his trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective. Claims of ineffective assistance of counsel are normally raised before the district court via 28 U.S.C. § 2255 and are cognizable on direct appeal only where it conclusively appears on the record that defense counsel did not provide effective representation. United States v. Allen, 491 F.3d 178, 191 92 (4th Cir.2007). Here, we cannot say the record conclusively establishes that the performance of Powell's counsel was deficient or prejudicial. See Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984). Thus, Powell's claim is premature. He may, of course, reassert it through a § 2255 habeas petition.

Copeland's argument that his trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective because she failed to move for a continuance before his sentencing hearing also fails. Claims of ineffective assistance of counsel are normally raised before the district court via 28 U.S.C. § 2255 and are cognizable on direct appeal only where it conclusively appears on the record that defense counsel did not provide effective representation. United States v. Powell, 680 F.3d 350, 359 (4th Cir.2012) (internal citation and quotation omitted). There is no such conclusive appearance here.

In Order to bring up the issue of ineffective assistance of counsel the District Court is Required to have a hearing to develop this claim of constitutional violations and whether they occurred. Under section 2255 a person alleged violations of your Constitutional rights can be properly addresses. Section 2255 allows a federal prisoner to move to vacate, set aside or correct a federal sentence upon the ground that the sentence was imposted in violation of the Constitution. In Order to file a 2255 you are required to exhaust all appellate remedies. Federal Courts generally will not allow a § 2255 motion or a direct appeal.

Examples of Federal Criminal Appeals

The Wolfe Law firm has represented citizen accused of Federal Crimes for over twenty-three years in the United States District Court Northern District of West Virginia. The United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia has four points of holdings, Clarksburg, Elkins, Martinsburg and Wheeling.

If you or your love one wish to speak to an experienced Federal Criminal lawyer concerning your rights in an underlying case or a potential appeal call today for a free consultation at 1-877-637-5756.