Federal Appeal – How Long Do I Have

My boyfriend was found guilty of a charge in federal court and his sentencing isn’t for another four months. He was told he has to appeal within ten days of the guilty verdict. Is this correct?

NO, this is incorrent. Your boyfriend got some bad information, which is unfortunately a common thing in criminal cases. Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure states that a defendant has ten days to file a Notice of Appeal from the moment a final judgment is entered. The Judge will enter the final judgment shortly after he or she hands down the sentence. That means your boyfriend doesn’t have to file an appeal until after he is sentenced. As a matter of advocacy, it is never a good idea to tell the Judge that an appeal is coming until after the sentence is pronounced – there’s no reason to give the Judge information that might negatively affect the sentence.

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