Being convicted of a crime can have lasting repercussions. But there still may be hope. Suppose overzealous prosecutors committed legal errors during the trial or the judge did not follow proper sentencing guidelines. When such errors occur, an experienced appellate attorney can be your lifeline.

As a leading Illinois appellate law firm, we regularly handle federal and state criminal appeals and post-conviction proceedings. When you consult with us, we will determine whether you have a legal basis to appeal and choose the best course of action. Above all, we recognize the importance of a well-executed appeals strategy in protecting your rights, freedom, and future. 

Representing Criminal Defendants in Federal Appeals

Federal appeals involve challenging a conviction or sentence imposed in a federal district court. Following a conviction, the defendant can file a notice of appeal to initiate the process. The appeal is heard by a federal appellate court, typically a panel of judges who review the trial court’s decisions for legal errors. The appellate court examines the trial record and briefs from both parties and may also allow oral arguments. Ultimately, the appellate court can affirm the lower court’s decision, reverse the conviction, or order a new trial.

Post-Conviction Proceedings

Post-conviction proceedings are a means to challenge a conviction or sentence once the direct appeal process has been exhausted. These proceedings typically involve claims of ineffective assistance of counsel, newly discovered evidence, or violations of constitutional rights. Post-conviction petitions must meet specific requirements, so you need a skilled appellate attorney who can navigate the complex procedural rules and present compelling arguments.

Federal Habeas Corpus

Individuals may seek federal habeas corpus relief to challenge state court convictions or sentences in federal court. Habeas corpus, Latin for “you shall have the body,” is a fundamental right that protects the accused against unlawful detention. The foundation of federal habeas corpus is the “writ of habeas corpus,” which grants a federal court the power to review the lawfulness of a person’s detention, a power derived from the U.S. Constitution

To seek federal habeas corpus relief, the petitioner must demonstrate that their conviction or sentence violates the Constitution. This means identifying errors in the state court proceedings that violated due process, the right to a fair trial, or other constitutional rights. 

Notably, the petitioner must first exhaust all available state court remedies to seek habeas corpus relief. This means that they must have presented their claims to the state appellate courts and, if necessary, to the state’s highest court. The federal court will evaluate whether the petitioner’s constitutional rights were violated and whether those violations had a substantial impact on the case.

Grounds for a Criminal Appeal

For an appeal to be successful, the person pursuing the appeal (the appellant) must establish that an error was made in the trial and that the error affected the case’s outcome. Common grounds for appeal in criminal trials include:

  • Improper admission of evidence – Evidence obtained illegally is inadmissible in court. If we determine that improperly obtained evidence was used at trial, our team will build a strong appeal.
  • False arrest –  This error occurs when law enforcement apprehends someone without probable cause or a proper warrant. If you have been wrongfully convicted of a crime as a result of a false arrest, we will exhaust all avenues to appeal the verdict and right this injustice. 
  • Lack of evidence – In a criminal case, the burden of proof rests squarely on the prosecution, requiring them to demonstrate the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the evidence presented during the trial fails to meet this exacting standard, our skilled appellate attorneys will demonstrate the insufficiency of evidence and seek a just resolution.
  • Sentencing errors – Judges must follow strict sentencing guidelines and provide clear reasons for the sentences they impose. If a judge deviates from proper sentencing protocols or commits an error in determining the sentence, our firm will meticulously review the case and seek a new sentence.
  • Ineffective counsel – Everyone accused of a crime is entitled to competent legal representation. If you believe your attorney failed to effectively advocate for your rights, and this failure influenced the outcome of your trial, we can help you appeal.
  • Prosecutorial misconduct – Prosecutors have a responsibility to uphold ethical standards throughout a criminal trial. However, instances of misconduct can occur. If you have been wrongfully convicted due to prosecutorial misconduct, we will vigorously challenge the conviction.

At The Keleher Appellate Law Group, we understand the nuances of federal and Illinois criminal appeals. We will thoroughly analyze your case, explore every viable ground for appeal, and craft a compelling argument to rectify any miscarriage of justice. 

Talk To Our Experienced Illinois Criminal Appellate Lawyer Today

If you have been convicted of state or federal charges, turn to The Keleher Appellate Law Group. Trust our experience and unwavering commitment to protecting your rights and pursuing a just outcome in your criminal appeal. Contact us today.

The Keleher Appellate Group is your premier choice for federal and state criminal appeals, serving clients in Chicago, Denver, St. Louis, and the surrounding areas in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Colorado.