Pennsylvania Appellate Attorney

Experience Matters When Choosing Your Criminal Appeals Lawyer

The criminal case did not end as hoped. You or your loved one now stands convicted, and you don’t know where to turn. The research you’ve done so far has revealed a frightening truth: the substantial majority of criminal appeals in Pennsylvania and the federal system do not end in reversal or some other favorable outcome.

The best way to increase your odds is to hire an experienced Pennsylvania criminal appeals lawyer.

Most criminal attorneys claim that they handle appeals. But the appellate process in Pennsylvania and the federal system is highly complex. Picking a lawyer who only occasionally represents clients on appeal might leave you wondering why you did not select one possessing substantial familiarity with the criminal appeals system. That knowledge and expertise is only gained through experience.

Following my graduation with honors from Rutgers Law School, I accepted a position as an Assistant District Attorney in Philadelphia. I requested an assignment to the Law Division, where I authored briefs and presented arguments to Pennsylvania’s appellate courts on behalf of the Commonwealth. I also represented the Commonwealth in proceedings under the Post-Conviction Relief Act, which is commonly known in Pennsylvania as the PCRA.

Since entering private practice, I have used my experience in appellate practice and the PCRA to benefit my clients throughout Pennsylvania. I have also been a resource to my colleagues, who seek my assistance and advice on complex legal matters.

When you hire me for your criminal appeal or post-conviction proceeding in Pennsylvania, you get me. I will not pass your case off to another lawyer. I will provide you with the personalized attention that your case deserves because I realize that it is the greatest problem you are facing. I am in this business to help people. Though I cannot offer any guarantees on your case (and I suggest that you run from any lawyer who does), I will honestly answer your questions and present you with a better understanding of your best course of action. And I will not make false promises or give you false hope to get you to hire me.

Appellate and post-conviction practice is technical and complicated. They are likely the last chance to correct a substantial and terrible wrong. When the stakes are so high, is imperative that you choose an appellate lawyer who knows what he is doing and who will fight for you.


Timing Is Imperative

Do not wait to contact me. There are deadlines in appellate and post-conviction practice that the law refers to as “jurisdictional in nature.” This means that if you miss a filing deadline, your ability to appeal or file for post-conviction relief may be forever lost.

After conviction, a judge will set a sentencing date. It is best to contact me prior to sentencing, if possible. This will give us time to discuss your case and create a plan of action for your appeal. 

I am able to get involved in your appeal at a number of stages, so if you are finding this page after sentencing, you should still contact me. If your appeal is pending, I still might be able to get involved; otherwise, I can let you know about further actions you might take to attack your conviction.

If you lose your direct appeal, you have a limited time in which to file for post-conviction relief under the PCRA or federal habeas statute. These deadlines are the most unforgiving. For that reason, getting me involved early is incredibly important.

Types of Cases

I am ready and willing to represent people who were convicted of murder in Philadelphia, robbery in Harrisburg, or sexual assault in Pittsburgh. Regardless of the crime for which you were convicted or where it occurred – Allentown, State College, Erie, or anywhere else in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I am the experienced Pennsylvania criminal appeals lawyer for you. I stand ready to represent you in your direct appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, a discretionary appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, or in seeking post-conviction relief under the PCRA.

I also represent people convicted of federal crimes on appeal. I am able to represent you on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and in federal habeas corpus proceedings for federal and state prisoners.

About Predictions

One of the most frequent questions I get from potential clients is whether I think I can win their appeal. Lawyers who answer that question without a serious review of case materials are likely not being honest. They are probably trying to talk your money out of your pocket and into theirs.

When you hire a Pennsylvania criminal appeals attorney, you need to recognize that his job is to find and present issues to an appellate court. In my experience, I have found that most trials have at least one claim that can be presented. Whether it is successful is a different question that depends on the case. Hiring an experienced Pennsylvania appeals lawyer increases the chances of finding the best issues and raising the odds of success. Choosing an attorney with little appellate experience, or one who makes false promises about your likelihood of winning on appeal to get your business, is a recipe for disappointment.