The first thing a lot of appellate lawyers will tell you is that it’s hard to win an appeal.
The first thing I’ll tell you is that I can shorten those odds.
Just like a trial is a story, an appeal is, too. There are four ways to win an appeal. You can show that the jury got it wrong, that the judge made an error, that the prosecutor engaged in misconduct, or that your lawyer didn’t competently represent you.
Your appellate lawyer has to tell one of those stories, or some combination of them. I do that very well. If you check out my blog, which I’ve been doing for ten years, you’ll see that my writing style is easy to read and easy to understand. Not much use in trying to convince a judge to overturn your conviction if he falls asleep halfway through your brief.
But even more important than presentingyour arguments in a logical and compelling fashion is finding the arguments to present. Sometimes, that’s just a matter of knowing the intricacies of the law.
In State v. Weimer, for example, I represented the defendant in an appeal from her conviction of aggravated murder and aggravated burglary, and a 44-to-life sentence. The trial took three weeks. The State presented 32 witnesses and over 300 exhibits. The transcript ran 2,500 pages. I got it reversed because of thirty pages of testimony and knowing what the co-conspirator exception to the hearsay rule was.
And sometimes it’s not just knowing the law, but figuring out the law. In State v. Tatum, the defendant’s attorney tried to argue that the victim claimed he’d been robbed at gunpoint because he was upset over my client selling him bad drugs. The judge wouldn’t let the lawyer present that to the jury, holding that he was “arguing facts not in evidence.” Instead of debating that, I changed the argument: the attorney was presenting his inferences from the evidence, and not letting him do that violated the defendant’s 6th Amendment right to the effective assistance of counsel. The court of appeals agreed, and Tatum’s six-year sentence became a one-year time served sentence.
Finding and figuring out the law that will help you, and putting it together in a compelling narrative, is what I do. Let me do it for you.