February 13, 2010 By Wallin & Klarich

If your sentence for committing a federal crime contains some type of error, you must challenge the sentence within the time limits set by law, or you risk waiving your rights to contest the sentence altogether. In U.S. v. Aguirre-Ganceda (2010) 2010 DJDAR 890, the defendant filed a petition for a writ of certiorari asking the United States Supreme Court to review his conviction for error. The United States Supreme Court denied cert, meaning that the Court declined to hear the case, and let the conviction stand. The defendant then filed a petition for rehearing of that denial. While his motion for rehearing was pending, the defendant also filed a motion to vacate, set aside or correct his prison sentence, believing that his prison sentence contained errors.

The trial court denied the motion to vacate, set aside, or correct the prison sentence because the trial court held that the motion was untimely. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed and affirmed the trial court’s denial. The Court of Appeal held that section 2255 of the United States Code, which applies to the type of motion the defendant filed, sets forth a one-year period of limitation. Additionally, this one year limitation period begins to run when the Supreme Court denies cert (declines to hear the case), making the judgment “final.” Because the defendant and his lawyer incorrectly believed that the limitations period started when the defendant’s petition for rehearing was denied, the defendant forfeited his right to contest his prison sentence.

Failure to comply with time limits can cause you to give up substantial rights. If you or a loved one is appealing a criminal conviction or sentence, it is extremely important that you retain the advice of a competent and knowledgeable appellate attorney. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have been handling criminal appeals and serious felony cases for more than 30 years. Our lawyers will look at the unique facts of your case and aggressively represent you through the appellate process, while making sure that your rights are protected. Call Wallin & Klarich today at (888) 280-6839 and visit us on the web at www.wklaw.com for more valuable information.

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