Criminal Appeals

Were you or a loved one recently found guilty of committing a crime at trial? If so, you have rights to appeal your conviction, but you have a very small window of opportunity to file a notice of appeal once you are convicted.

Habeas Corpus & Post-Conviction Relief Motions

Was your or your loved one’s appeal just denied? You may have one more option for relief. Habeas Corpus or PCR Motions (known by various names in the states and as §2255 or §2254 motions in the federal system) have evolved to become the appeal after the appeal for individuals convicted of crimes.

Sentencing Issues

Although most defendants who enter the criminal justice system start out being concerned about beating a state’s claims against them, there is another concern which is just as important: the sentence. The defendant’s sentence determines how many years of his or her life will be spent with a part of their liberty restrained by the state or federal government.

Specific Offense Issues

When it comes to sexual offenses, every state in this country, and the federal government, have designated special regulations imposed on the defendant after finishing their sentence in prison, on probation or on parole.

Appeals

Were you or a loved one recently found guilty of committing a crime at trial? If so, you have rights to appeal your conviction, but you have a very small window of opportunity to file a notice of appeal once you are convicted. Once a notice of appeal has been filed with the trial court, at least one appellate court will review the case, either at the state or federal level, depending on your type of case. Appeals deal more with questions of law and less with questions of fact. An appellate attorney’s job is to review the entire record of the case, to determine if any issues exist, which might change the outcome of the case for the appellant. After identifying these issues, the attorney is responsible for conducting legal research, amending the record (is possible and necessary) and argue to the court that an error was made, which requires a change to the result of the case. Appeals generally have strict guidelines for parties wishing to appeal, so it is very important to find an attorney who will handle an appeal. Please call Mark today to discuss your options.

Habeas Corpus & Post-Conviction Relief Motions

Was your or your loved one’s appeal just denied? You may have one more option for relief. Habeas Corpus or PCR Motions (known by various names in the states and as §2255 or §2254 motions in the federal system) have evolved to become the appeal after the appeal for individuals convicted of crimes. A habeas petition is filed after an appeal has been denied. Habeas petitions normally trigger civil proceedings, even though the subject matter are of criminal trials, therefore, it is an extremely specialized practice requiring familiarity with both areas.

Habeas petitions can allege different issues ranging from ineffective assistance of counsel, to a change in law which could now benefit the defendant post-trial or appeal. Since habeas petitions typically allege that the defendant’s previous attorney(s) were ineffective in some way, the attorney reviewing the case would need to know what to look for to make that ineffectiveness claim. In addition, knowledge of the procedures involved in habeas practice distinguish the handful of attorneys who regularly handle habeas petitions from those who do not—including the inmates who try to represent themselves in court.

Before taking on a habeas case, an attorney charges a fee to review the case. In order to review the case, the attorney would need to obtain the case file from the defendant’s former attorney(s) and also the file from the district attorney’s office. Call Mark today to discuss your or your loved one’s case and to find out the fee to review the case.

Sentencing Issues

Although most defendants who enter the criminal justice system start out being concerned about beating a state’s claims against them, there is another concern which is just as important: the sentence. The defendant’s sentence determines how many years of his or her life will be spent with a part of their liberty restrained by the state or federal government. A favorable sentence can allow a defendant to serve his or her debt to society and then to re-enter it as a productive and law-abiding citizen. A more severe sentence can have a defendant spend most of his or her living years – if not their entire life – behind bars.

The fact that a defendant has been convicted does not automatically define the sentence he or she will receive. Both state and federal courts take into account a number of factors, such as criminal history, characteristics of the crime and personal characteristics/history of the defendant, to arrive at an appropriate sentence. An experienced attorney can help shape a court’s view of those sentencing factors in a light most favorable to minimizing the deprivation of freedom suffered by his client. That attorney can also identify and exploit procedural issues to assure minimum sentencing. In certain circumstances, attorneys can also seek modification or reduction of a sentence based on changed circumstances or factors which should have been, but were not, considered at the original sentencing.

Specific Offense Issues

When it comes to sexual offenses, every state in this country, and the federal government, have designated special regulations imposed on the defendant after finishing their sentence in prison, on probation or on parole. Sex offenders are usually required to register with local authorities and provide other personal information to allow various law enforcement agencies to scrutinize their everyday lives. The list of offenses deemed “sex offenses” has gotten larger over the fifteen to twenty years these laws have been in place. If you have been convicted of a sexual offense, there are restrictions which can be imposed on you, such as: where you can live, where you work, how you use computers, who you can interact with—including your own family and children.

In an effort to keep children out of harm’s way, many jurisdictions have created obstacles for offenders who have completed their sentences and are now fully law-abiding citizens and are no longer a threat to anyone. Some states have allowed offenders the opportunity to be removed from sexual offender registries. Other states allow offenders to minimize the requirements imposed on them. Either way, you will need an experienced attorney to handle these proceedings. Please call me so we can discuss your case.