Direct Appeals

In direct appeals you are saying there was an insufficient amount of evidence to convict you, a constitutional violation occurred, the judge made a mistake, or the United States Attorney acted improperly during the case. You can also appeal issues related to sentencing. In federal court, you appeal from the district court to the circuit court. Generally, you have 14 days from the date of sentencing to file a notice of appeal with the clerk in the district from which the conviction occurred. Once the notice of appeal is filed, the circuit orders Mr. Zeiger to file a docketing statement about the appeal. Once the docketing statement is filed, the circuit court issues a briefing schedule where the attorney usually has 45 days to file a brief.

Rule 35

A Rule 35 can be used in two contexts. First, you can file a motion under Rule 35 within 14 days of the date of sentencing to ask the judge to reconsider her decision. You can also file a motion under Rule 35 if you have provided substantial assistance to the government AFTER sentencing. For example, if you became a government cooperator after sentencing, you can file a Rule 35 to have your sentence reduced. A Rule 35 is not really an “appeal”, however, Rule 35 has a similar effect on the appellant’s status.

2255 – Federal Custody; Remedies on Motion Attacking Sentence

The 2255 is a very powerful tool that has many uses. However, in a 2255 where to origination of the case was from a federal prosecution, the 2255 s used to argue your lawyer did a poor job. Many tools exist in the 2255 appeals process that allow you to bring to light issues not on the original record from the trial court. This means that you can bring up issues for the first time about which your judge may not know. However, the main issue from a federal prosecution, is your lawyer made a mistake. The time limit on a 2255 is one year from the end of the last order in court, be it sentencing or the denial of your direct appeal. Also, to a file a 2255, you must be in custody. If you are out of jail, or if you have completely finished your sentence, you cannot file a 2255. If you lose your 2255, you would appeal to the circuit court the same as a direct appeal.

Mr. Zeiger is admitted to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of the United States. However, many circuit courts have reciprocity and will allow Mr. Zeiger to file an appeal pro hac vice.