Sunday, September 04, 2011


Many of the Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyers and CJA lawyers may not be aware that on Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, the new appellate rules go into effect. Just when you think you understand them, the legal rules always change.

For Federal lawyer's who have an appeal it's always important to review the rules before you file a brief. There aren't many changes, mostly nuances and reorganization of the 11th Circuit Clerk's office.  Many appeals will either be based on an entire trial or will involve an appeal of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines or the way the Court interprets and applies the guidelines or the law itself such as an appeal on whether false imprisonment of lawyers is a violent crime under the federal law - it isn't.

One important change is the re-designation of the “Statement of Jurisdiction” section of the initial brief to “Statement of Subject-Matter and Appellate Jurisdiction.” 11th Cir. R. 28-1(g). This may sound trivial, but the Court likes procedural conformity, so it is a good idea to comply. For briefs filed on or after Monday, August 1, 2011, change the jurisdictional section in your template and now entitled it: "Statement of Subject-Matter and Appellate Jurisdiction." As per the contents of the jurisdictional statement, 11th Cir. R. 28-1(g) has been amended to note that the "jurisdictional statement must contain all information required by FRAP 28(a)(4) through (D)." 
Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure 28(a)(4)(A) through (D) specify that the jurisdictional statement include the basis for the district court’s jurisdiction {18 U.S.C. § 3231 in criminal appeals} and the appellate court’s jurisdiction {18 U.S.C. § 3742 in most sentencing appeals; 28 U.S.C. § 1291 in most other types of criminal appeals}, with citations to the applicable statutes and relevant facts establishing jurisdiction, the filing dates establishing the timeliness of the appeal, and an assertion that the appeal is from a final order or judgment. 

It's also important in grinding federal cases to never give up hope. Often federal defense lawyers seem beaten down by harsh results and the overwhelming complexity of the appeals process. Never forget the successes which federal appeals have brought countless defendants to restrict harsh unfair drug sentencing such as the crack to cocaine ratio as redefined by Congress and the Courts due to countless defense appeals from lawyers who never forgot simple plain fairness.