The Champion

November 2015 , Page 51 

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Appellate Advocacy

By Amy Adelson

Appealing Despite An Appeal Waiver

Plea agreements are no longer “adjunct[s] to the criminal justice system; [they are] the criminal justice system.”1 In 2013, 97 percent of federal criminal cases were resolved by a plea.2 Since 1990, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit became the first federal appellate court to uphold an agreement in which the defendant waived her right to appeal her conviction and sentence,3 every federal court of appeals has approved of appeal waivers.4 A 2003 empirical study found that nearly two-thirds of federal plea agreements included some type of appeal waiver, and that three-quarters of those also included a waiver of the right to challenge the conviction or sentence in collateral proceedings.5 

The Recently Sentenced, Unhappy Client

This is the typical scenario: a client, or a potential client, who pled guilty and recently has been sentenced, is unhappy with the sentence and wants to appeal. Counsel suspects, and on quick rev

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