Practice Areas

Defending You in Federal Criminal Court

Federal Criminal Defense is a highly specialized field.  There are many important differences between the law, and practice, of state crimes and federal crimes.  Simply because an attorney is experienced in state criminal defense does not mean they will succeed in federal practice.  They must know federal law and the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure which can vary drastically from the state. 

Laguzzi Law, P.C. concentrates on federal criminal defense and provides you with experience and knowledge of this field. When making decisions that may impact your life and liberty, it is necessary to have all of the information necessary to make an intelligent choice.  Our practice is assuring clients that they have all of the facts, in addition to risk factors, potential outcomes, and an overview of possible collateral consequences.

As a former prosecutor in Philadelphia, Carina Laguzzi practiced in state and federal courts as a criminal defense lawyer for decades.  She understands criminal law from both sides and can provide clients realistic expectations.

Her experience has been focused solely on federal cases since 2012.  She represents clients accused of drug possession and delivery, gun trafficking, robbery, Hobbs Act robbery, wire fraud, and all major felonies in federal court.

After a federal conviction, the next step is sentencing.  Federal district Judges have much discretion, in most cases, with their sentencing authority.  Sentencing hearings typically take about one hour.  A sentencing in federal court is an elaborate process that requires several steps. 

First, a United States Probation Officer ("USPO") will interview the defendant about all aspects of their life.  Second, the USPO will draft a report known as a presentence investigation report for the Court.  The defendant and their attorney have a limited time to present any objections they have to the draft report.  Third, the attorney for the defendant will prepare a sentencing memorandum which will include mitigation and any objections that remain to the presentence report. Finally, at the hearing, the Court will determine the guideline range for the defendant before imposing sentence.

A well-prepared defense at sentencing is critical to a defendant.  Ms. Laguzzi has written hundreds of sentencing memorandums and defended numerous clients at sentencing.  This has resulted in lower-than-expected guideline range sentences for her clients including probation and time served sentences.  Many clients have come to Laguzzi Law after being dissatisfied with their trial attorney.  They know you need a strong force at sentencing to ensure the best possible outcome.

Please contact the office today if you have a pending sentencing hearing and want the most effective representation.

After a conviction in federal court, a direct appeal is many times the next step in wining justice for yourself or a loved one.  The most important step in an appeal for an effective, aggressive defense is "issue spotting."  Knowing what issues to raise on appeal, and the order in which to raise them is imperative to success in the Court of Appeals.

Even if you pled guilty to a crime, some issues may be necessary to raise on appeal.  This is usually true if the sentence was not expected, or had claims that were not ruled on in the client's favor.

If you have lost your direct appeal in the Court of Appeals, the next step in securing justice is usually filing a Motion to Set Aside, Vacate or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Section 2255.  A 2255 motion can be used to argue a prior attorney's ineffective assistance of counsel.  It can be used to correct a mistake in the sentence.  This motion can also be used to argue changes in the law.

Several changes in federal criminal law, including to the definitions of "crime of violence" and to predicates for Armed Career Criminal, ("ACCA") can reduce your sentence.

A full review of your case is sometimes necessary to determine any and all claims to raise on a 2255 motion.  Any claims not initially raised can be deemed waived by a court, so the motion must be complete before filed.

It is important to know the changes in the law and how they can affect you.  If you are looking to review your case for a possible 2255 motion, contact us.

If you were convicted in state court, once your appeal is denied and you have raised a Post Conviction Relief Act claim(s) which were denied by the state court, you can then litigate your case at the federal level.  This is done via a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Section 2254.

Much like a 2255 motion, a 2254 petition must be complete to ensure no issues are waived.  However, any claim raised must have been litigated in the state court first.  Otherwise, it cannot be raised on a 2254 motion.

A review of your case is sometimes necessary to determine what issues to raise on a 2254 petition.  Sometimes it is necessary to go back to the state court to litigate an issue before pursuing a 2254 motion in federal court.

If you or a family member needs help with a 2254 petition or motion call the office for help.

Habeas Corpus simply means a writ, or petition, from a person under arrest to be brought before a Judge or into court to request their release.  The application argues that there is no lawful ground to keep the person detained.

In federal court, the two most common forms of relief sought for habeas corpus are either a 2255 motion, or a 2254 petition.

At Laguzzi Law, we understand the importance at ensuing no one is detained unlawfully.  Contact us if you need help securing relief.

Writ of coram nobis is an Order allowing a Judge to correct its original judgment.  It is a Latin term that describes a request to the Court to reopen and reconsider a matter that has already been decided. The basis for the request is a claim that decision was based on a mistake of fact, which can now be fixed.

This writ is done when there is a fundamental error that did not appear in the records of the original judgment's proceedings.  The error, if shown at the time of the original proceeding, would not have allowed the judgment from being entered in its current form.

Writ for coram nobis is not as frequently used, but at Laguzzi Law we have handled these requests in the past.  We are familiar with the procedure and proper format to litigate a writ for coram nobis when a client qualifies for this relief.  Contact the office if you have any questions as to this request, or if you believe you may qualify.