During the course of a trial, you develop a working relationship with your attorney. It is not unrealistic to want them to continue to represent you through to the appeal stage as well. But is it really the best idea?
In this post, we will look at what type of lawyer you would need for a criminal appeal.
A Trial Lawyer Might Not Be Good At Appellate Work
Appeals are very complex and require a very different set of skills to trials. A trial will often boil down to how good a case the attorney can make to the jurors. In principle, the side with the best legal case should prevail.
In practice, however, it might end up being the side that explains their case best to a set of jurors not practiced in law.
In direct contrast, an appeal means dealing with a judiciary panel or a judge. This panel is very well-read when it comes to the letter of the law, and so the arguments need to be carefully considered. Legal arguments need to be well-researched, and the attorney must be able to field difficult queries from the judges.
And, while an attorney may be extremely good at trial law, they may not be as practiced at appellate law.
So, do you need two different attorneys? In most cases, the answer would be yes. Think of it this way; you take your car to a mechanic to be fixed. They work on the engine, install the new parts, etc. and do a good job.
But if something goes wrong with the auto-electric system, it needs much more careful handling, and so they send it to an auto-electrician.
It makes sense to find a specialist attorney that has experience in the field to represent you. They will be able to thoroughly assess your case and circumstances and give you a realistic view of what your chances for an appeal are.
They will be able to narrow down on precedents that could be applied in your case. They will need to file appeals timeously, write convincing legal arguments and appear on your behalf in court.
There is a lot of work that goes into the appeal process, and not all trial lawyers are willing or able to cope with it. An appeal is also not something that your trial lawyer will automatically apply for so it is something that you will need to discuss with them more fully.
In most cases, you need to specifically tell your attorney that you want to file a motion to appeal your conviction or sentencing.
What it boils down to at the end of the day is getting the best possible results for your case. Your trial lawyer would have worked on getting a good outcome for you, but because trial law and appellate law are so different, they might not be the right person to represent you during your appeal.
And, when the stakes are so high, you really don’t want to take a chance, do you?