There are significant opportunities for obtaining redress in the appeal/post-conviction process in cases involving white collar crimes as well as other federal crimes. Generally, a notice of appeal must be filed within ten days of the entry of the sentencing order. After notice of appeal is filed, the record must be requested from the court reporter. The record includes all of the documents filed with the clerk’s office in the case, as well as a verbatim transcript of all trial and other hearing testimony.
The defendant is required to pay the cost of production of the transcript or record of trial. When the transcript or record is produced, it is filed with the district clerk and forwarded to the appropriate circuit court of appeals. Shortly after receipt of the record, the court of appeals will issue a briefing notice to the attorney for the appellant (previously defendant).
The appellant’s brief is a written document that contains all requested relief, and arguments in support of relief requested. The appellant files the brief with the circuit court of appeals and serves a copy on the federal prosecutor’s office. The federal prosecutor has a limited number of days from receipt of the brief to submit his or her response. When the prosecutor submits his or her response, he or she is required by the Rules of Procedure to serve a copy upon the appellant’s counsel, and appellant’s counsel has to submit a short reply brief. In some cases, after receipt of all the briefs, the circuit court will set the case for oral argument and will decide the case after hearing such argument. In other cases, the circuit court will make its decision based only on the briefs filed.
If the relief requested in the circuit court is not obtained, there is the option of proceeding to the Supreme Court on a writ of certiorari. However, it is important to understand that the Supreme Court reviews a very small percentage of the cases presented to it for this discretionary form of review.
After the appeals process has run its course, the writ process is an avenue for obtaining redress. After the circuit court rules denying relief requested or the Supreme Court denies discretionary review, a defendant/appellant has the opportunity to file in the district court a petition for writ of habeas corpus arguing that constitutional rights were violated during the trial. The district court reviews the petition for writ of habeas corpus and any determination by the district court is subject to review at the circuit court at appellant level as well.
This process can be said to apply to most federal crimes and is not limited solely to white collar offenses.
To learn more about the federal process and criminal law see the related discussions below.