Having recently handled a capital habeas matter, Hurles v. Shiro, which resulted in the 9th Circuit initially overturning the sentence of death for our client, and which received national media attention, Michael and the firm remain active in appellate and post-conviction relief practices, where they have particular skill and experience

Deadlines for Appeals and Petitions

In Arizona, two basic forms of relief are usually considered: Direct Appeals & Petitions for Post-conviction Relief Pursuant to Ariz.R.Crim.P 32 . Both are limited by both stringent deadlines and the type of claims available. If you or a loved one have just been convicted it is, in our view, especially important that you contact qualified criminal defense appellate counsel immediately, as well as your trial counsel, and let both know that you are considering an appeal or other petition for post-conviction relief.   Most trial attorneys, if you ask them, will at the least file a Notice of Appeal which is requisite to filing an appeal later.

Direct Appeals vs. Rule 32 Petitions: Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

Direct Appeals from conviction after trial are usually the place that the journey begins, and these appeals cover legal error that occurred in the case. The direct appeal is heard by a higher court, either the Arizona Court of Appeals or the Arizona Supreme Court. These appeals cover the majority of legal errors that may have occurred either before or during trial.

By contrast, post-conviction relief pursuant to Ariz.R.Crim.P 32, is heard initially by the trial judge and covers only certain other types of error, most often ineffective assistance of trial counsel, and a few other areas where the error is particularly egregious. Deciding which form of relief, whether one or both, is appropriate and sensible is the job of your criminal defense appellate counsel.

The Appellate Review Process

The appellate process should begin with not only a thorough meeting with the client, but a through independent review of the entire record, including not just the trial transcript, but the transcripts of every motion hearing, and every witness interview conducted, along with all other work in the file, including attorney rough notes. It is the criminal defense appellate attorney’s job to, in our view, review everything available, and look for appellate issues, some of which are often overlooked. It is the initial review process, in our view, that is key to success.

Federal Matters

Michael and the firm have particular experience with federal appellate and post-conviction matters including that involve a petition for writ of habeas corpus (both §§2254 & 55), and a petition for writ of error coram nobis.   Michael has appeared before both the 5th and 9th Circuits in a variety of matters ranging from tax, to immigration, to death penalty.

If you are looking for a highly accomplished criminal defense lawyer with a notable practice and particular appellate experience, we invite you to call 520.624.3500 to discuss the matter.