I was convicted of a crime in a Federal court but believe I am innocent. What are my options?
If you’ve been convicted of a crime in federal court you have basically two options; one is to appeal your conviction and you have two weeks or 14 days to file a notice of appeal from the date of your conviction either a jury found you guilty or a judge found you guilty of that offense and you have been sentenced.
So it’s 14 days from the date you’ve been formally sentenced in federal court and you can file that appeal. In Texas, the appeals go to the fifth circuit court of appeals in New Orleans, Louisiana and the court can rule on various issues in the case that hopefully either the evidence was insufficient, the court made improper rulings or your sentencing was improper in some way, shape or form; a good experienced appellate attorney can help spot those issues.
The other vehicle that you can have if the deadline to file your notice of appeal is run is what we call basically a writ of habeas corpus. You can raise the same issues in that writ of habeas corpus, but the main issue that you generally raise in the writ of habeas corpus is what we call ineffective assistance of counsel. If your lawyer did not do the job he’s required to do or you think he made some errors, that’s the best vehicle to bring that claim.
And so those are the two ways that you can challenge your conviction if you’ve been convicted and believe you are innocent.