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The importance of the criminal appeals process

| May 23, 2016 | Criminal Appeals |

Last year, the nation was shocked to learn of the serious allegations leveled against the man who was the face of Subway restaurants. In 2015, law enforcement agencies investigated Jared Fogle and subsequently charged him with a range of sex crimes, including possession of child pornography and traveling across state lines to engage in commercial sex with a minor.

Fogle cooperated with authorities, took a plea deal and was sentenced about six months ago. Recently, however, Fogle and his attorneys have decided to appeal his nearly 16-year prison sentence, based on a number of factors that they believe were not given due consideration.

In response to Jared Fogle’s guilty plea, prosecutors recommended a sentence of 12.5 years. But the judge exceeded that recommendation by sentencing Fogle to 15 years, 8 months in prison. Fogle’s attorneys have argued that the sentence was unreasonable in light of several factors, including the fact that Fogle took responsibility for his actions, admitted his guilt, showed remorse and sought treatment

News articles about the appeal also list counterarguments made by those who believe that Fogle’s sentence is appropriate and should not be shortened. Because we had no direct connection to this case, it is not worth debating the merits of either side’s arguments – there is simply too much information that cannot be known from an outsider’s perspective.

But this high-profile case does highlight some aspects of the appeals process worth noting. First of all, this case shows that even when a person takes a plea deal and admits culpability, there are no guarantees when it comes to sentencing. Judges often heed the recommendations of prosecutors, but not always.

Second, it shows that reasonable people can disagree on what constitutes a reasonable sentence in any given case. And because judges sometimes face sentencing considerations beyond the details of the crime (the defendant’s celebrity status, for instance), they don’t always issue an unbiased and fair sentence.

Finally, it is a reminder that a case doesn’t always end with a conviction. Appealing a conviction or sentence is important if you believe that mistakes were made or that you did not receive a fair trial. A dedicated criminal defense attorney will be ready to continue fighting on your behalf through all levels of post-conviction motions, if necessary.

To learn more about how our firm approaches the appeals process, feel free to visit the violent crime appeals page on our website.


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