It’s really important, after a conviction, to determine whether you want to stay with your trial attorney or get a new attorney because you got a 30 day limit on filing your initial paperwork. And if that’s not done, although there are ways to get around and occasionally, it can be difficult and you sometimes are foreclosed from getting your appeal. So, you really need to do some research and locate an appellate attorney who has experience during that kind of work because not all the criminal attorneys, even though they’re good trial attorneys, do appellate work. I do both. But a lot of trial attorneys don’t like to do appellate work and they’re not as good at it as they are at trial work.
It is Imperative to Retain an Attorney Familiar with the Appellate Courts, Arraigning Legal Briefs and Researching Legal Issues for a Successful Appeal
You want somebody that is used to going to the appellate courts, arraigning legal briefs and doing legal research and knowing the issues that are successful on a direct appeal and for post-conviction motions as well. Again, many trial attorneys shy away from post-conviction motions just like they shy away from appellate work. Most of the public defender officers throughout the country divide the workload into trial attorneys and appellate attorneys, and that’s all they do. So, there’s this kind of bifurcation of the workload and depending on the individual, it may or may not have the requisite experience that you’d really want for appellate or post-conviction lawyer.
Not all Attorneys are Proficient in Post-Conviction Relief or Appellate Work
You want to make sure you find out about their credentials on that and how many cases they’ve appealed and have been successful on. Right now, I do probably 60 per cent appellate and post-conviction work and 40 per cent trial work where when I started practice over 30 years ago, I was probably doing 90 per cent trial work and only 10 per cent post-conviction work. So, it has changed for me but I recognize and I want you to understand that not all criminal attorneys do these post-conviction or appellate work and you want to make sure you get someone that’s competent to do it.