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How to Select a Criminal Appeal Lawyer

Posted on 13 February, 2019 at 13:30 Comments comments (4137)

How to Select a Criminal Appeal Lawyer


Often criminal defendants who lost at trial want to appeal their conviction. Most of the time, a person convicted of a crime does not know what to look for when selecting a an attorney to handle an appeal.


Here are seven things you should look for when selecting a criminal appeal lawyer are: 


1.  A Criminal Appeal Lawyer Shows Actual Interest - A professional appellate lawyer will show a sincere interest in your case. The lawyer will ask questions regarding about the date of conviction and sentence. Also, a good appellate attorney will inquire about the hotly contested issues at trial. These contested issues will often form the basis of the appeal. A well-respected appellate lawyer will also inquire about pre-trial motions filed by the defense and the prosecution. Further, an appellate lawyer will also ask to review the jury instructions administered at trial.


2.  A Criminal Appeal Attorney Has an Initial Strategy - The good appellate lawyer will also develop an initial strategy after reviewing your case file. This strategy will provide a road map as to the appellate issues that need to be addressed by the appellate court. Of course, the smart appellate lawyer will pinpoint or modify additional appellate issues as the appellate brief is formulated.


3.  Research Driven Appeal- A professional criminal appeals lawyer should explain to you that much research will be needed to complete a strong appeal. You cannot wing an appeal. An appeal is won when strong appellate issues are identified by a criminal appeals lawyer. Thereafter, a compelling statement of facts supports powerful case law which results in a strong legal argument. However, this takes time and intensive research. A professional appellate lawyer will spend numerous hours scouring the trial transcript and researching dozens upon dozens of cases regarding the legal issues involved in your appeal. Simply put, tremendous research effort is needed for a successful criminal appeal.


4.  A Criminal Appeal Attorney Has Legal Writing that is Crisp and Persuasive - A good appellate attorney must have a clean, persuasive writing style. The brief cannot be too wordy nor can it delve into legal issues in a peripheral manner. This takes a tremendous skillset whereas a good criminal appeals lawyer must take voluminous trial transcripts and countless legal cases and boil them into a cohesive, powerful argument that is usually between 25-50 pages long. The average criminal attorney does not usually have this skill set. As a result, a professional criminal appeals lawyer is the appropriate attorney to handle a criminal appeal.


5.  A Good Criminal Appeal Attorney Learns the Record on Appeal- A good criminal appeal attorney reads the entire lower court record. The only way to understand the case and identify preserved issues is to read the indictment, review the motions and read the transcripts thoroughly. A lawyer who does not take this critical step seriously will rarely be able to construct a winning appellate argument.


6.  Returns Calls - Many lawyers rarely return client phone calls. This is not a good idea whereas constant, honest communication is required with the client and the criminal appellate lawyer. So make sure the criminal appeals attorney answers your calls quickly and readily before taking on the case. This is a good sign that communication is considered important and respected by the firm.


7.  Enjoys the Work of Appellate Law - The criminal appellate attorney you are considering is to be respected. Let them talk about your case and potential strategies on appeal. This will give you an opportunity to see whether this appellate lawyer shows a zest for appellate law. A competent criminal appellate attorney will exhibit enthusiasm and discuss the many legal issues involved in your case. So tell your side of the story, but then be prepared to listen.


Written by:   John V. Siskopoulos, Esq.

Telephone:   (617) 959-1628

Email           [email protected]


If you have a criminal appeal and would like to speak with an appellate attorney at Siskopoulos Law Firm, LLP, contact us at either (646) 942-1798 or (617) 959-1628.


Disclaimer: This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.


The Appellate Specialist

Posted on 22 February, 2017 at 11:10 Comments comments (14156)

An appellate specialist is simply someone who is certified by their state to specialize in appeals. However, only certain states allow for the certification and designation of a specialty in appeals. Other states simply do not recognize certifications and prohibit the use of the term "specialist." When you call attorneys in a state that does not recognize certifications and ask if they are a specialist in appeals or an appellate specialist, they will most likely tell you that the rules do not permit an attorney to hold themselves out as a specialist. In their state, they would be right.


The proper question to ask when looking for an appellate attorney, is whether the attorney is experienced in appellate law or whether they are an experienced appellate attorney. An experienced appellate attorney will have years of experience in taking an appeal, writing appellate briefs, perfecting the appeal, and arguing appeals.


Additionally, appellate attorneys generally have experience in both criminal appeals and civil appeals. This is because appellate attorneys look for appealable issues and do not retry the case. They explain to the appellate court, through their arguments, how the trial court made prejudicial legal errors during your case. These appealable errors can range from evidentiary errors to a misapplication of the relevant law. As such, appellate attorneys generally are able to handle both criminal appeals and civil appeals.


So if you are looking for an appellate specialist, you may simply not find one because your state may prohibit use of the term. What you need ask, is whether an attorney is experienced in appeals.


Written by:   Alexandra Siskopoulos, Esq.

Telephone:    (646) 942-1798

Email:          [email protected]


Disclaimer: This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Appellate Briefs 101: Know Your Colors

Posted on 11 May, 2015 at 14:30 Comments comments (763)

The task of writing an appellate brief is a difficult challenge. A good appellate brief blends an exciting and compelling statement of facts with clear and cogent case law that supports your legal argument. This is all done with the ultimate goal of winning your case. However, after you finish writing a great appellate brief, do not forget that the cover each brief has a particular color. 


Most appellate courts require that the briefs submitted to the appellate court have certain assigned colors. For instance, in Massachusetts the appellant's brief must have a blue cover page while the appellee's brief must have a red cover page. SeeMassachusetts Rules of Appellate Procedure, Rule 20 (stating that "[t]he cover of the brief of the appellant shall be blue; that of the appellee, red; that of an intervenor or amicus curiae, green; that of any reply brief, gray.")  In New York, the Fourth Department rule for colors of briefs is as follows: "the cover of a brief of an appellant or petitioner shall be blue; the cover of a brief of a respondent shall be red; the cover of a reply brief shall be gray." 22 NYCRR §1000.4(f)(5).


As you can see, you not only need to know the law and how to write a brief, but you also need to pay attention to all the procedural rules involved in an appeal. One of those appellate procedural rules is that you need to know your colors. 


 

Written by:   John V. Siskopoulos, Esq.

Telephone:   (617) 959-1628

Email:           [email protected]


 

If you have a civil appeal or criminal appeal and would like to speak with an appellate attorney at Siskopoulos Law Firm, LLP, contact us at either (646) 942-1798 or (617) 959-1628.


 

Disclaimer: This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.


Hiring an Appellate Attorney 101

Posted on 1 April, 2015 at 11:50 Comments comments (7342)

Hiring an Appellate Attorney 101: 

 

1.   Make sure your Notice of Appeal has been properly filed. 


2.   Begin contacting appellate attorneys.  These are attorneys who have actual experience in perfecting and arguing appeals. 


3.   You should feel comfortable with your appellate attorney. Trust is important in the attorney-client relationship.  You should not retain someone you do not feel is competent to handle your appeal. Also, do not hire someone who constantly agrees with you.  No appeal is perfect and your appellate attorney should be able to explain to you the weaknesses in your case as well as its strengths. 


4.   Make sure you obtain copies of all the relevant documents in your appeal. Appellate attorneys are bound by the record in the lower court, and therefore an attorney cannot tell if you have valid appellate issues to raise in the appeal unless they look at the documents involved.  Beware of an appellate attorney who is willing to take your case before reviewing any documents in the case. 


5.   Make sure your appellate attorney provides you with a written retainer agreement.

 

Written by:   Alexandra Siskopoulos, Esq.

Telephone:   (646) 942-1798

Email:           [email protected] 

 

If you have a civil appeal or criminal appeal and would like to speak with an appellate attorney at Siskopoulos Law Firm, LLP, contact us at either (646) 942-1798 or (617) 959-1628.


Disclaimer: This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

What is an Appeal?

Posted on 21 January, 2015 at 11:35 Comments comments (2969)

After a loss in the trial court, whether the case is decided on a motion or after a trial, the losing party can seek review of the decision to an appellate court.   This is called an appeal.  An appeal is a legal proceeding where an attorney is asking a higher court to review the decision of a lower court.   This is because it is the function of appellate courts to act as an internal system of review of lower court decisions. Just as any person can make a mistake, so can a court.  The American judicial system takes this into account and understands that a judge can make a mistake and it is the job to the appellate courts to review the decisions of lower courts to ensure that no egregious mistakes were made by the lower court.


It is important to understand that this review by the appellate court is not automatic.  It is a right that must be exercised by the parties to the lawsuit.   This is where an appellate attorney’s services are invaluable as they know the proper procedures for triggering an appeal and properly perfecting the appeal so that it is heard by the appellate court. 

 

Written by:   Alexandra Siskopoulos, Esq.

Telephone:   (646) 942-1798

Email:           [email protected]


If you have a civil appeal or criminal appeal and would like to speak with an appellate attorney at Siskopoulos Law Firm, LLP, contact us at either (646) 942-1798 or (617) 959-1628.


Disclaimer:   This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher.  The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

The Best Stories are Told by Liars

Posted on 2 December, 2014 at 13:15 Comments comments (2203)

Appellate Attorney John Siskopoulos, Esq. of the Siskopoulos Law Firm, LLP discusses restraining orders, their impact on individuals and the changes that should be implemented to make it a more fair and equitable system.  To see the full interview regarding restraining orders and appeals click here. 

 

Written by:  Alexandra Siskopoulos, Esq.

Telephone:   (646) 942-1798

Email:           [email protected] 

 

If you have a civil appeal or criminal appeal and would like to speak with an appellate attorney at Siskopoulos Law Firm, LLP, contact us at either (646) 942-1798 or (617) 959-1628.


Disclaimer:   This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice.  By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher.  The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

First Things First: File the Notice of Appeal

Posted on 4 September, 2013 at 11:25 Comments comments (3208)

At the end of a case there is a winner and a loser.  People on the losing end of a case often become emotionally upset.  The losing party begins questioning everything about their case.  Was their lawyer prepared?   Did the judge issue the correct rulings during trial?  Did the other side play fair?


The losing party mourns their loss day after day - week after week - month after month.  This is not the attitude or mind set you need for a successful appeal.   Your case was lost at the trial level, but that does not mean it is over.   Your case can be won at the appellate level.  However, you cannot win an appeal without first starting an appeal.  To start an appeal, in most states, you need to file a Notice of Appeal.  Stop licking your wounds, and start preparing for your appeal.


A Notice of Appeal is a relatively simple document.  It is generally only a few pages long and it is usually filed in the trial court.  In certain courts, additional papers such as a Pre-Argument Statement or a Request for Appellate Division Intervention must be filed with the Notice of Appeal as well.


The Notice of Appeal signifies to the court and the opposing side that you intend to appeal the judgment or decision of the trial court. If you are complaining about your loss in the trial court and worrying about the future, you will forget the most important thing in the present.  That is, file the Notice of Appeal.  This simple legal document starts the appellate process.   Obviously, you cannot win an appeal without starting an appeal.   Even if you decide not to pursue your appeal, at least you have preserved your appellate rights.


Remember, many cases that were lost at the trial level were reversed on appeal.   You may very well have an appellate victory in your future, but no one has ever won an appeal without first filing a Notice of Appeal.   Get up and get down to the court to file your Notice of Appeal.


Written by:  Alexandra C. Siskopoulos, Esq.

Telephone:   (646) 942-1798

Email:          [email protected]


If you have a civil appeal or criminal appeal and would like to speak with an appellate attorney at Siskopoulos Law Firm, LLP, contact us at either (646) 942-1798 or (617) 959-1628.


Disclaimer:   This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice.  By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher.  The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.