Criminal Appeals Attorneys

Criminal Appeals

If you have been convicted of a crime, it is important to consult with a criminal appeal lawyer. A criminal appellate attorney understands the specific evidentiary and constitutional issues often involved in criminal cases and understands how these issues need to be presented in order to make an effective argument in the appellate courts. Criminal appeals are complicated and are governed by strict time constraints. A criminal appeal is usually a defendant's best chance at reversing a conviction. It is where a defendant can explain how errors made by the trial court resulted in a wrongful conviction or resulted in sentencing errors. A criminal appeal attorney knows that trials are often won and lost based upon the evidence admitted and the evidence that is precluded. Judges often exclude relevant testimony and evidence. Sometimes trials are tainted by the introduction of inflammatory and prejudicial evidence. Defense counsel is often stopped from conducting an effective cross-examination or presenting rebuttal testimony or evidence. These issues go to the heart of a defendant's constitutional right to a fair trial. Only by reviewing the record with an experienced eye can an appellate attorney uncover the procedural, evidentiary and constitutional issues which can call into question the strength of the criminal conviction.

Many criminal appeals attorneys, however, have one argument in their arsenal and attempt to argue ineffective assistance of counsel as the sole basis for each criminal appeal they file. Although this can be a basis for a criminal appeal, it usually is not a winning appellate argument. Instead, an experienced criminal appeals attorney focuses on jugular issues that will lead to a reversal of a conviction. This analysis of appellate issues begins with a careful combing of the appellate record so that our attorneys can identify and highlight critical appellate issues and bring them to the court's attention. Thereafter, our attorneys carefully craft the appellate brief to illuminate the errors of law that greatly prejudiced the client at trial. The careful crafting of the appellate brief encompasses a compelling statement of facts, a skillfully prepared statement of issues presented, and a powerful legal argument section. A well crafted appellate brief is needed for a criminal appellant to achieve victory in the appeals court. Our experienced criminal appeals attorneys consistently produce well crafted and well presented appellate briefs that have secured the reversal of criminal convictions at the appellate level.

Our firm, if appropriate, may consider handling a criminal appeal within your jurisdiction.

Issues that Criminal Appeal Attorneys Analyze

Criminal appellate attorneys look at a number of potential appellate issues when reviewing a case on appeal. Some of the issues that can be raised on appeal are as follows:

Improper Jury Instructions - Jury instructions are the set of legal rules the jury must follow when deciding the case. These instructions usually include the elements of the crime that the prosecution must prove at trial, the burden of proof, and limiting instructions on evidence. If a jury is improperly instructed on the law, this can result in a criminal conviction based upon a misapplication of the law.

Evidentiary Issues - Evidence is the proof presented at trial through witnesses, documents, exhibits, records and documents. Issues arise when the trial court makes an error admitting certain evidence. Appellate issues also arise when the judge makes an error improperly precluding evidence. Errors regarding both the admission and preclusion of evidence can result in prejudicial error warranting a reversal.

Juror Misconduct- Jurors are usually given explicit instructions from the trial judge when they sit on a jury. These instructions usually involve an instruction not to do any independent research, and to not engage in any improper communications with other jurors, witnesses or attorneys. Jurors are also not permitted to conceal information that is relevant to the case, such as, having a relationship with a party or witness. If there is juror misconduct, this can prejudice the deliberations warranting a reversal. 

Prosecutorial Misconduct- Although prosecutors have discretion to handle cases in the manner they want, prosecutors cannot engage in illegal or unethical behavior. Some examples of prosecutorial misconduct are soliciting perjury or false evidence, withholding exculpatory evidence and improperly vouching for witnesses. This impermissible behavior by the prosecution can be grounds for the reversal of a conviction and can also be grounds for post-conviction relief.

Biased Jury- Defendants are entitled to an impartial jury. This cornerstone of a defendant's right to a fair trial can be compromised when the prosecution attempts to stack the jury with individuals who hold a bias against the defendant. When a defendant's constitutional right to an impartial jury is infringed upon, substantial prejudice warranting a reversal can arise.

Constitutional Issues- Appellate attorneys are adept at analyzing constitutional issues that arise in a criminal appeal. Miranda rights violations, Brady violations, the right to cross-examine witness, and numerous other due process violations are complex issues that must be fully analyzed and presented to the appeals court. Violations of an individual's constitutional rights are highly important issues that can result in substantial prejudice to a defendant warranting a reversal.

Sentencing Issues- Sometimes the issues on appeal in a criminal case involve improper sentencing. When a court violates the sentencing guidelines, a defendant may find that they have been given a lengthy prison sentence that is unjust. This usually occurs when the trial court applies the wrong penalty provisions or sentencing provisions warranting a reversal.

Federal Criminal Appeals

Federal criminal convictions are appealed to federal appellate courts. If you are seeking an attorney to appeal a conviction to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, Second Circuit, Sixth Circuit, Eighth Circuit, Ninth Circuit or to the Supreme Court of the United States, contact our firm to speak with an experienced criminal appeal attorney.

Criminal Appeal Decisions of Interest

Our criminal appeal attorneys overturn conviction in Commonwealth v Ramsey - 76 Mass. App. Ct. 844 - The appellate court found that violation of the first complaint doctrine resulted in prejudicial error warranting a reversal.

Our criminal appeal attorneys win reversal of conviction in Commonwealth v McKay - 76 Mass. App. Ct. 396 - The appellate court overturned the defendant's conviction on a violation of a no contact order under G. L. c. 209A finding prejudicial error occurred. The court found that the defendant was entitled to a jury instruction on mistake or error finding that the statute did not intend to make accidents or mistakes crimes.

Criminal appeal attorney obtains reversal in People v Boone - 2017 NY Slip Op 08713 -The appeals court found that the trial court committed reversible error by denying the defendant's request for a cross-racial identification jury charge. The court held that where an identifying witness and defendant appear to be of different races, upon request, a party is entitled to a charge on cross-racial identification.

Criminal appeal attorneys in People v Ataroua - 2019 NY Slip Op 00197 - win a reversal of a conviction for murder in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. The appellate court vacated the convictions and remanded the case for a new trial finding that the trial court's failure to instruct the jury as the the definition of the word "deprive" constituted reversible error as it could have impacted the jury's decision making ability to determine the elements of the underlying felony on the felony murder charge.

Criminal appeal attorney wins reversal in People v Lawrence - 2017 NY Slip Op 08538 - The appellate court found that the defense counsel created a conflict of interest by interviewing the prosecution's main witness alone whereby he made himself the only person who could testify to that witness's recantation warranting a reversal.

Criminal appeals attorney overturns conviction in People v Davis - 2017 NY Slip Op 01223 - Appellate court found that failure of the Supreme Court to submit manslaughter in the second degree and criminally negligent homicide as lesser-included offenses deprived the defendant of a fair trial.

Criminal appeals attorneys obtain reversal in People v Mercado - 2017 NY Slip Op 01439 - Criminal appeals court reversed decision on motion to vacate the judgment of conviction, on the law, and the motion granted to the extent of remanding the matter for a hearing on defendant's claim of ineffective assistance of counsel and a decision de novo on the motion. Issues involving a Sandoval hearing, expert testimony and the right of defendant to testify on his own behalf warranted reversal.

Criminal appellate attorneys win reversal - People v Atkins - 2017 NY Slip Op 07342 - The appellant was granted a reversal of his conviction of criminal possession of a weapon. The appellate court found that the trial court committed error by conducting the trial without the defendant because a "defendant has a constitutional and a statutory right to be present at his or her trial." 

Criminal appeals attorneys successfully obtain reversal - People v Slocum - 2015 NY Slip Op 08203 - Appellate court found statements made by defendant when attorney was not present should not have been admitted at trial warranting a reversal of the triple homicide conviction.

Criminal appeals attorneys vacate conviction on one count and reverse conviction on remaining counts in United States v. Mergen - No. 12-2873 (2d Cir. 2014) - Appellate court vacated one conviction because it was error to exclude, on hearsay and authentication grounds, a recording in which an FBI agent assured the defendant that he had done nothing wrong in connection with the underlying arson. The remaining convictions were reversed (for drug distribution, attempted robbery, firearm possession, and related conspiracies), because the wording of the defendant's cooperation agreement did not toll the (expired) statute of limitations for those offenses.

Criminal appeals attorneys obtain reversal and dismissal of indictment for possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute and aiding and abetting in United States v. Washington - No. 14-7017 (10th Cir. 2015) - Appellate court reversed the conviction and dismissed the indictment because it was the government's burden to prove the passenger in the car knew there were drugs in the car. The court found that the mere presence of the defendant and speculation about his knowledge, even in combination, would not constitute sufficient evidence for the jury to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Criminal appeal attorneys reverse conviction in People v Ghee 2017 - NY Slip Op 01564 - Appeals court reverses of a conviction of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. The appellate court ordered a new trial finding that failure to administer Miranda warnings warranted suppression of both the oral and written statements of the defendant.

Criminal appeals attorney obtains reversal of conviction in People v Clay - 2017 NY Slip Op 01074 - Appellate court reverses a conviction on criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. The appeals court ordered a new trial finding that the trial court erred in permitting an officer to identify defendant as the person in the vehicle in the absence of notice pursuant to CPL 710.30(1)(b). The failure of the prosecutor to serve notice did not fit any exceptions to the notice requirement warranting a reversal.

Criminal appeals attorney win reversal of convictions in People v Pellecier - 2017 NY Slip Op 50132(U) - In the interests of justice the appellate court reversed the convictions and dismissed the accusatory instruments on the charges. The appeals court found that the one-year delay between the end of the trial and the verdict is unreasonable in light of the fact that this was an uncomplicated legal case involving disorderly conduct.

Criminal appeal attorney obtains reversal of guilty plea in People v Cabrera - 2017 NY Slip Op 50328(U) - The appellate court reversed and dismissed the defendant's guilty plea finding that the short and ambiguous plea colloquy underlying the conviction fails to establish that his plea was knowing, intelligent and voluntary.

Criminal appeals attorneys obtain reversal of conviction in People v Placido - 2017 NY Slip Op 02694 - The appellate court reversed and dismissed defendant's conviction of conspiracy in the fourth degree under count two of the indictment,without prejudice, and vacated the sentence. The appellate court found that the lower court committed error by denying defendant's motion to dismiss the count two for conspiracy as facially defective. 

Criminal appeals attorneys win reversal of conviction and new trial in People v Mcguire - 2017 NY Slip Op 02206 - The appellate court found that defendant's motion to sever trial as to two counts should have been granted. The court found the core of the co-defendants' defenses were in conflict leading to a significant danger that a jury could infer guilt requiring severance of the trials and warranting a reversal.

Criminal appellate attorneys obtain reversal and dismissal in People v Kwas - 2017 NY Slip Op 50147(U) - The appellate court found that the defendant's guilty plea to criminal contempt should be reversed because the recitation of the facts cast doubt as to the defendant's actual guilt and therefore the lower court should have made a further inquiry before accepting the plea.

Criminal appellate attorneys obtain reversal and new trial in People v Scerbo - 2017 NY Slip Op 01073 - The appellate court reversed the defendant's conviction on counts of reckless driving, driving while intoxicated and manslaughter. The appellate found that the lower court abused its discretion in not allowing defense counsel to use his last peremptory challenge as to the last juror selected and ordered a new trial.

Criminal appeal attorneys overturn conviction for attempted rape in the second degree in People v Colon-Colon - 2019 NY Slip Op 01039 - The appellate court reversed the conviction finding that the written indictment waiver in this case was jurisdictionally defective because it failed to comply with CPL 195.20. The court held that the failure to adhere to the statutory procedure for waiving an indictment is a jurisdictional defect requiring a reversal.

Criminal appeal lawyers obtain reversal in People v Akbar - 2019 NY Slip Op 00894 - The appeals court overturned a conviction for assault in the first degree finding that the trial court inadequately charged the jury regarding the defendant's justification defense warranting a reversal of the conviction and a remand for a new trial. 

Criminal appellate attorneys win reversal of conviction for assault in the first degree on a theory of accessory liability and a dismissal of the indictment in People v Fonerin - 2018 NY Slip Op 01480 - The appeal court found that the weight of the evidence did not support the conviction warranting a reversal and dismissal of the indictment.

Criminal appeal attorneys in People v Chazbani - 2017 NY Slip Op 06370 - obtain a reversal of a conviction of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree. The appellate court found that evidence should have been suppressed due to lack of probable cause to conduct the search concluding that the trial court erred by denying the motion to suppress physical evidence and statements to law enforcement officials.

Criminal appellate lawyer obtains reversal of defendant's conviction of conspiracy in the second degree resulting in dismissal of the indictment on that count based on the appellate court's finding that the State's evidence was legally insufficient to prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in People v Cochran - 2016 NY Slip Op 04255.

Criminal appeal lawyer obtains reversal of convictions for criminal sexual acts in People v Madsen - 2019 NY Slip Op 00003 - The appellate court reversed the convictions finding that the charges in the indictment were duplicitous because the indictment contains multiple counts that charge the same crimes against the same victims during the same time periods. The court stated that where "the trial testimony provides evidence of repeated acts that cannot be individually related to specific counts in the indictment, the prohibition against duplicitousness has been violated"

Criminal appeal attorneys successfully obtain reversal and remand for a new trial in People v Brith - 2018 NY Slip Op 07250 - The appellate court held that the defendant's conviction for criminal sale of controlled substance required a reversal because the court should have granted the defendant's for cause challenge of a prospective juror. The court reasoned that the totality of the juror's statements showed that he would have issues being fair and impartial. 

Criminal appellate lawyers win reversal of conviction for sex trafficking in United States v. Ballard -No. 17-427-cr (2d Cir. Mar. 16, 2018) - The appeals court found prosecutorial misconduct in the summation argument warranted a reversal and remand for new trial because the government's improper arguments risked minimizing their burden of proof.  

Criminal appeal lawyers obtain reversal of convictions for criminal possession of a weapon in the second and third degree and menacing in the second degree in People v. Bailey - 2018 NY Slip Op 05856 - The appellate court found that where the police search of the vehicle was improper because the police lacked a reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle. The omnibus motion to suppress should have been granted because the firearms were obtained from an illegal search and any statements to police should also have been suppressed as fruit of the poisonous tree.

Criminal appeal attorneys obtain reversal of a conviction for assault in the second and third degrees and resisting arrest in People v Watson - 2019 NY Slip Op 00217 - The appellate court reversed and dismissed the charges finding that the trial court failed to abide by the appellate court's instructions on a remand for a Batson reconstruction proceeding. 

Criminal appeal lawyers obtain reversal in People v Stephans - 2019 NY Slip Op 00473 - The appellate court reversed and ordered a new trial finding that defendant's omnibus motion to suppress statements to law enforcement officials should have been granted by the trial court because the police failed to issue Miranda warnings before the defendant made incriminating statements to police.   

Criminal appeal attorneys in People v Rivera - 2018 NY Slip Op 08750 - win reversal of a conviction for assault in the first degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree. The appellate court found that the court committed prejudicial error in denying the defendant's challenge for cause of a prospective juror warranting a new trial.

Criminal appeal lawyer obtains reversal of conviction for assault in the second degree, vehicular assault in the first degree and two counts of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol in People v Carter - 2018 NY Slip Op 08745 - The appeals court found that the appellant had established a case for ineffective assistance of counsel where her trial court counsel did not try to obtain an expert witness to testify because he was unaware of the availability of a court appointed expert. 

Criminal appeal attorneys in People v Rivera - 2018 NY Slip Op 08750 - win reversal of a conviction for assault in the first degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree. The appellate court found that the court committed prejudicial error in denying the defendant's challenge for cause of a prospective juror warranting a new trial.

Criminal appellate attorneys win reversal in People v Montgomery - 2018 NY Slip Op 00351 - The appeals court found that the defendant was deprived of due process and the right to present a defense when the trial court precluded him from presenting reverse Molineux evidence showing that another person had committed three uncharged robberies similar to the four robberies for which defendant was indicted.

Criminal appeal attorneys win reversal in People v Holmes - 2018 NY Slip Op 08178 - The defendant's conviction for robbery in the first degree was unanimously reversed. The appeals court found that the trial court committed reversible error when it refused the defendant's request to charge third degree robbery as a lesser included offense. The court also found that the trial court should have granted defendant's request for an adverse inference where the police had destroyed some of the surveillance photos obtained at the scene of the crime arguing that they had retained the most relevant photos. The appellate court found that both errors were prejudicial warranting a reversal and remand for a new trial.

Criminal appeals attorneys obtain reversal of conviction and new trial in People v Flores - 2017 NY Slip Op 05457 - The appellate court reversed the conviction of defendants on numerous counts of gang assault and ordered a new trial. The appellate court found that the trial court's empaneling of an anonymous jury, in violation of CPL 270.15, deprived the defendants of their right to a fair trial, and was not harmless error.

Criminal appellate attorneys win unanimous reversal and new trial in People v Hayward-Crawford - 2017 NY Slip Op 04581 - The appellate court reversed the defendant's conviction based on a jury verdict of arson in the third degree, attempted insurance fraud in the second degree, conspiracy in the fifth degree, and two counts of arson in the fourth degree. The appeals court found that the defendant was denied a fair trial based upon the cumulative effect of the prosecutor's misconduct during jury selection, cross-examination and summation.

Criminal appeal attorneys win reversal and vacatur of plea deal in People v Burca (Ruslan) - 2018 NY Slip Op 50040(U) - The appeals court found that the record on appeal did not affirmatively demonstrate that defendant's plea was knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily entered into warranting a reversal and dismissal of the charges.

Criminal appellate attorneys win reversal of conviction for criminal possession of a weapon in People v Golden - 2017 NY Slip Op 00661 - The appellate court reversed finding that the jury charge on constructive possession was in error. The court held that the impermissible constructive possession charge could not be deemed harmless error because it would be impossible to determine if the jury based its verdict on the illegal jury charge.

Criminal appeal attorneys win reversal of conviction for assault and criminal possession of a weapon in People v Fletcher - 2018 NY Slip Op 07747 - The appellate court found that the trial court failed to give the jury proper instructions warranting a new trial. The court found that failing to give a jury instruction on a defense of lawful possession resulted in harmful error.

Criminal appellate attorneys overturn a conviction for enterprise corruption under New York State's Organized Crime Control Act in People v Jones - 2018 NY Slip Op 08058 - The New York Court of Appeals found that the order of the appellate division should be reversed because the prosecution failed to establish all the essential elements of the crime. The court found that the evidence introduced at trial was insufficient as a matter of law to prove the knowledge and intent elements of the crime charged.

Siskopoulos Law Firm, LLP

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Siskopoulos Law Firm, LLP

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Phone: (617) 959-1628

The Siskopoulos Law Firm, LLP has experience in handling a wide variety of criminal appeals. If you would like to speak with an appellate attorney regarding your appeal, call either the New York Office at (646) 942-1798 or the Boston Office at (617) 959-1628.