Tallahassee Criminal Appeals Attorney
A criminal conviction can have serious consequences, but it isn’t always the end of the story. Indeed, defendants have a right to appeal their conviction to a higher court and argue that a mistake was made at trial that warrants a different outcome. Defendants can even appeal their guilty or no contest plea if the right to appeal was expressly reserved in the plea agreement. An appellate court has the power to overturn a conviction, modify a sentence, or send a case back for further proceedings. Luke Newman, P.A., can help.
Tallahassee criminal defense attorney Luke Newman is an experienced Tallahassee criminal appeals attorney known for his expertise in Florida and federal appellate law. In fact, Luke has been certified by the Florida Board of Legal Specialization as a specialist in criminal appellate law. He has also been certified as qualified to handle appeals in death penalty cases. If you or a loved one have recently been convicted of a crime in Tallahassee, call Luke Newman, P.A., for a consultation regarding whether an appeal might be worthwhile in your case. You could have a lot to gain by making this call, including you or your loved one’s freedom and/or your life.
Direct and Collateral Appeals in Florida and Federal Criminal Matters
Convicted defendants have a right to directly appeal their convictions to a higher court. Unless the error is considered to be a “fundamental error” a successful appeal must establish that the error which occurred at trial was “harmful” or negatively impacted the overall outcome of the case. This also applies to constitutional violations such as illegal searches and seizures or violation of Miranda rights. It is important that harmful errors are preserved on the record. This means a timely objection was raised at trial and ruled on by the judge. As an experienced criminal appellate attorney, Luke Newman can review the trial transcript and determine whether grounds for a direct appeal exist.
Common reasons for a direct appeal of a criminal conviction include:
- A wrongful conviction that is not supported by competent, substantial evidence or shows a plain error of law
- Evidence or testimony was allowed that should have been excluded
- Improper jury instructions were delivered by the judge
- Juror misconduct
- A judicial abuse of discretion
- An illegal sentence was imposed
- The wrong (too high) sentence was imposed
In addition to direct appeals, convicted defendants might have grounds to file what is known as a collateral appeal or application for post-conviction relief. The two most common reasons for a collateral appeal are:
- Allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel
- Newly discovered evidence that could change the outcome of the case
Unlike direct appeals which are a matter of right for the defendant, collateral appeals are discretionary. As an expert in criminal appeals, Luke Newman is the right person to draft a strong motion/petition that puts forward a compelling reason why the appeals court should accept the case.
Florida Bar Board Certified Criminal Appellate Lawyer
Luke Newman is one of only 41 lawyers currently certified by The Florida Bar in Criminal Appellate Law. The purpose of this certification, according to The Florida Bar, is to “identify those lawyers who practice criminal law and have the special knowledge, skills, and proficiency, as well as the character, ethics, and reputation for professionalism, to be properly identified to the public as board certified in criminal trial or appellate law.”
Minimum standards to be Florida Bar Board Certified in Criminal Appellate Law include:
- At least five years of experience in the practice of law (Luke Newman has 17 years and counting)
- Recent substantial involvement in the specialty of criminal appellate law
- Handling at least 25 criminal appellate actions
- Recent completion of 45 hours of continuing legal education in the field
- Peer review
- Passage of a written exam
Death-Qualified Appellate Lawyer
Luke Newman is also death-certified (capital-qualified) to appeal capital cases where the death penalty was imposed at trial. The Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure establish minimum standards for capital lawyers beyond what is required to represent defendants in run-of-the-mill criminal cases. These standards require that the attorney be reasonably skilled in the specialized practice of homicide representation, be zealously committed to the capital case, and have adequate time and resources for preparation.
Every judicial circuit in Florida maintains a list of counsel qualified to be appointed as appellate counsel in a capital case. This includes capital appeals in which the death penalty has been imposed as well as capital postconviction proceedings where the defendant is under a sentence of death.
These rules require an experienced and active practitioner with prior experience in homicide appeals who is familiar with appellate practice and procedure, has demonstrated the necessary proficiency and commitment which exemplify the quality of representation appropriate to capital cases, and has maintained continuing legal education specifically devoted to the defense of capital cases.
Additionally, capital-qualified post-conviction lawyers must have experience in capital sentencings, capital postconviction evidentiary hearings, capital collateral postconviction appeals, or capital federal habeas proceedings.
Get Immediate Help With a Criminal Appeal in Tallahassee
An appeal might be your last best chance to get out of jail, get your sentence corrected, or avoid the death penalty. Appeals must be timely filed, so you should act immediately after a trial to contact a qualified and experienced appellate attorney. For help with Florida or federal appeals in Tallahassee, call Luke Newman, P.A., for a confidential consultation regarding your grounds for an appeal or post-conviction relief.