Federal Criminal Defense Attorney - Overturning A Guilty Verdict in a Federal Criminal Appeal

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Matt Kaiser, a Washington DC federal criminal defense attorney at The Kaiser Law Firm PLLC (http://www.tklf.com), discusses what you have to show to overturn a guilty verdict on appeal in a federal criminal case.

If you'd like more information for people facing federal criminal charges, under investigation for a federal crime, or trying to appeal a criminal conviction in federal court, please visit our webpage See more +

Matt Kaiser, a Washington DC federal criminal defense attorney at The Kaiser Law Firm PLLC (http://www.tklf.com), discusses what you have to show to overturn a guilty verdict on appeal in a federal criminal case.

If you'd like more information for people facing federal criminal charges, under investigation for a federal crime, or trying to appeal a criminal conviction in federal court, please visit our webpage at:

http://www.thekaiserlawfirm.com

If you'd like more information, you can read our blog - which describes every published opinion in a federal criminal appeal where the defendant wins - you can read it here:

http://www.federalcriminalappealsblog.com

Video Transcript:

Often if someone has been convicted in a jury trial in a Federal criminal case what they want on appeal is to be able to challenge that jury finding. They want to be able to say, “The jury got it wrong. I am not guilty” and they want to ask the Court of Appeals to say - to agree with it - to say the jury got it wrong, to say “I am not guilty”, or that the person is not guilty; to take care of the case that way. This makes sense. You can understand how anyone in that situation wants to assert their innocence, but these are very difficult appeals to bring. They are difficult for two reasons: First, because the standard courts use when they look at whether a jury verdict should be upset is a difficult standard to meet. The standard is whether there is any person on the jury who is reasonable, who looked at the evidence that was introduced and came up with a conclusion that the person was guilty. If there is any reasonable interpretation of the evidence that’s consistent with guilt - looking at what the Government introduced, what the prosecutor introduced and also looking at what the person who is on trial introduced - then the Court of Appeals will say “We are not going to overturn this verdict, we are not going to take away the conviction.” The second reason is, often I find when I talk to people who want to bring this kind of challenge to a conviction, what they want, what they want to argue is to say “…but the jury didn’t hear from this witness or the jury didn’t see this document and if they had seen this document or they has heard from this witness the conclusion they would have reached - the conclusion they would have had to have reached - would have been different.”

Unfortunately, in an appeal in a Federal criminal case, you are stuck with what came in during the trial. So if there is some great evidence out there that didn’t make it in front of the jury, you are not going to be able to bring that to the Court of Appeals’ attention when you are making your appeal in the criminal case. Often where you see these kinds of challenges work, where you see this kind of an argument work on appeal, is that there is some technical element of the statute that the Government is not very good about introducing. If something needs to have crossed the state line and the Government just forgot to show that the gun crossed the state line; if the bank had to have been FDIC- insured and the Government neglected to introduce evidence that the bank was FDIC- insured, then that can be a nice snap-rifle-shot way to win an appeal. But those are rare; these can be hard appeals to bring if you want to try to use a Court of Appeals to overturn a jury’s verdict.

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