If you're appealing your conviction in a federal court, one of the first things you probably want to know is whether or not you can get out of jail while the appeal is pending? The answer depends on a couple of different factors. This is what you need to understand when you ask the judge for bail pending your appeal.
You are coming from a different position than you were pre-trial.
Prior to this point, you were only accused of a crime—now, you've actually been convicted and your freedom ultimately rests on whether or not your trail had enough significant errors in it to allow it to be overturned or retried. You have gone from a person that was presumed innocent, despite the charges, to a person that's now guilty as charged. It's important to understand this distinction because you have to convince the judge—likely the same judge that just sentenced you after your conviction—that you pose absolutely no flight risk whatsoever.
You need the judge to really believe that you won't try to run.
There are several ways that you can help cement this idea in the judge's mind:
- You're willing to turn over the majority of your funds and assets to a court-appointed trustee who will give you a modest monthly allowance (certainly not enough to use to start life over again in another country).
- You can point to significant emotional and physical ties to the area. You may find that some of the negatives in your life are actually positives for this purpose. Are you ill? Do you require a constant series of visits with specialists to manage your condition? Do you have elderly parents with medical problems? These are issues a judge might consider compelling when considering whether or not to give you bail.
- You have strong ties to your community and no other place. The more that you can show that you have a life deeply woven into the local area, the better.
Of course, the nature of your crime and your role in it also play a big part in the decision to grant you bail during your appeal. If you were convicted of a "white collar" financial crime you have a better shot of getting bail than you do if your conviction is for murder. A lack of a criminal history also helps, no matter what your conviction, because it can help the judge see this one act as an aberration, something totally out of character.
You also need to convince the judge that you stand a good chance on appeal.
A judge may also be reluctant to allow you to remain out on bond if there's very little chance that you'll have a successful appeal. The basic nature of your appeal may be important. If you are pointing to a host of procedural errors that the judge doesn't believe will amount to anything—meaning that you would have been convicted even if they hadn't occurred—the judge is unlikely to grant bail.
On the other hand, if you are alleging that your trial attorney misadvised you, worked out a deal with the prosecution behind your back and pushed you to take it, or evidence may have been tampered with, you stand a very good shot of being granted bail while you wait out your appeal, which can be lengthy. For example, famed author Michael Peterson, who was convicted of the murder of his wife Kathleen, was granted bail after 8 years in prison when it was determined he had a right to a new trial because an expert witness for the prosecution gave false testimony at the original trial.
Getting out of jail while your appeal is pending is possible, though you may have to work hard at convincing the judge. By understanding exactly what position you are coming from and what the judge has to believe, you can help your attorney craft an argument that will let you stay out of prison—hopefully, for good. For more information, talk to your appellate attorney today. You can find an attorney by visiting a site like http://www.pedersonlawrc.com.