What are the ways to attack a federal criminal conviction? What's the difference between a federal criminal appeal and a 2255?

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Matt Kaiser, a Washington DC federal criminal defense attorney at The Kaiser Law Firm PLLC (http://www.tklf.com), discusses the ways you can challenge a federal criminal conviction.

People who want to challenge a federal criminal conviction can go two ways - either they can bring a direct appeal, and challenge what the trial court did, or they can bring a habeas petition. Most frequently these are used to say that their lawyer provided See more +

Matt Kaiser, a Washington DC federal criminal defense attorney at The Kaiser Law Firm PLLC (http://www.tklf.com), discusses the ways you can challenge a federal criminal conviction.

People who want to challenge a federal criminal conviction can go two ways - either they can bring a direct appeal, and challenge what the trial court did, or they can bring a habeas petition. Most frequently these are used to say that their lawyer provided ineffective assistance of counsel.

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:

If you or a loved one has been convicted with a crime in Federal Court often what you are eager to do is to find out ways to challenge that. You’re eager to find ways to try to get your family member home to undo the conviction.

There are really two main ways to attack a conviction in Federal Court.

The first is a direct appeal. That’s where you file a notice of appeal soon after sentencing – within fourteen days – and what you are talking about in a direct appeal is what the trial court did wrong, what the judge did wrong, what the jury did wrong. You are trying to say what happened in the court below wasn’t for the law, it wasn’t right. Importantly what you are talking about is the trial court judge’s errors or the jury’s errors.

The other thing you can do is you can bring what's called a 2255 it's named after the section of the United States code that establishes it, 28 U.S.C. section 2255. What a 2255 petition is? Is it's a habeas petition where you are saying I am locked up, I am in custody because of something that happened that violated my rights. And the main right that people are talking about in the habeas petition is their right to have an effective lawyer. So a 2255 is most often used as a way to complain about what your lawyer did during the case. So if your lawyer didn’t investigate evidence or your lawyer botched things you would bring a 2255.

And so it's important to know when you decide 2255 direct appeal that they are attacking very different things. A direct appeal is attacking what the trial court did and a 2255 is attacking what your lawyer did when he or she was representing you. Normally the timing is important in most courts in this country – you have to do a direct appeal first and then you do a 2255. That’s not the case in every court. But figuring out what you want to address, what you want the court to address will help you figure out which vehicle you want to ask the court for help. See less -

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Published In: Criminal Law Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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