Ex-federal prosecutor says Sypher's chance of winning appeal is - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Ex-federal prosecutor says Sypher's chance of winning appeal is slim

Posted: Updated:
Karen Sypher Karen Sypher
James Faller, investigator for Sypher legal team James Faller, investigator for Sypher legal team
David Nolan, Sypher's attorney David Nolan, Sypher's attorney
Scott C. Cox Scott C. Cox

By Katie Bauer - email | bio

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – She has been convicted and sentenced, but Karen Sypher still has not gone to jail. Sypher's legal team is not giving up the fight. On Feb. 21, they filed another appeal. The question many people have is will this ever end? So we went to a former federal prosecutor to find out.

David Nolan, Sypher's attorney, filed the two page notice of appeal with the United States Sixth Circuit Court in Cincinnati. This process can usually take about a year and a half and Sypher's legal team says during that time they also want to keep her out of prison.

On Feb. 18, Sypher was sentenced by federal Judge Charles Simpson to seven years and three months in prison for the attempted extortion of University of Louisville coach Rick Pitino, lying to the FBI and retaliation against a witness. While Sypher's legal team continues the fight, getting her appeal heard won't be easy.

"The odds are overwhelming that Ms. Sypher will be in prison in the next six weeks and that she'll serve 85% of that 87 month sentence," said Scott C. Cox, a former federal prosecutor who is not associated with this case, he has followed it closely.

"The only thing that you can appeal are the legal rulings of the trial judge, you don't get to appeal the facts," said Cox. "This jury has established the facts and that's pretty much written in stone, but you look to see whether Judge Simpson made any errors, whether he let evidence in that he shouldn't have and so forth."

According to Cox, far fewer than 10 percent of appeals are won and after that your chances of getting out of prison are slim. Cox believes Sypher will lose this appeal.

"You really have one more alternative and that's a petition for Habeas Corpus and that's where most people who are in prison claim that their trial counsel was ineffective, basically that their trial lawyer did a bad job for them," said Cox.

Cox says the odds of winning something like that is about 1 percent.

Sypher's defense team also plans to file a motion to keep her out of jail on bond until the appeal process is over, but Cox says that's also highly unlikely.

"Frankly I'd be stunned if Judge Simpson gave her one, because he would have to find that he made errors himself that are likely to result in reversal in Cincinnati and if he felt that way, he would have given her a new trial," said Cox.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons will decide where and when Sypher will report in the next few weeks.

(Copyright 2011 WAVE News. All rights reserved.)