Criminal Appeals

We represent defendants pursuing criminal appeals in the Massachusetts appellate courts and in federal courts across the nation. We have won clients’ criminal cases both on direct appeal and by pursuing collateral appeals (habeas corpus claims). We are adept at identifying, analyzing, and presenting complicated criminal issues on appeal. Our lawyers combine a practical understanding of criminal trials, strong academic backgrounds, and a deep commitment to the rights of the accused. We carefully review the trial record and work with our clients to help develop the issues or claims most likely to succeed on appeal. Because we have hands-on experience trying many criminal cases, we thoroughly understand the dynamics of trial, which means that we can quickly spot and articulate important appeal issues. We are also skilled at identifying and explaining complex legal issues: six of our lawyers served as clerks on federal or state courts of appeals, learning firsthand how courts and individual judges approach criminal appeals by working directly with judges to analyze appeals and draft appellate decisions. In addition, in white collar cases, we frequently benefit from the knowledge and experience of Harvey Silverglate, who is of counsel to the firm and is the author of the 2011 book Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent.

We have represented clients in many of the federal circuits and before the Supreme Court. Our clients seek our help appealing their federal convictions of or sentences for crimes that range from racketeering, gun and drug offenses to white collar offenses (e.g., securities fraud, honest services fraud). For instance, in the First Circuit, we have represented clients in cases involving federal gambling and conspiracy laws, extortionate collection, and those raising sentencing appeals. In the Second Circuit, in a case involving the growing and selling of marijuana, we obtained a reversal of an 18-year sentence for his client. In the Ninth Circuit, we represented a lawyer appealing a securities fraud conviction. In the Eleventh Circuit, we represented a local politician appealing his conviction for honest services fraud. In the Supreme Court, we represented a client on the question of what it means to carry a firearm under a sentencing enhancement provision in the federal drug laws.

We have an active practice in the state appellate courts. For instance, in one case where our client was charged with murder and other offenses, but convicted only of a firearms charge after we represented him at trial, we then obtained a reversal of that firearms charge on appeal.

We also represent clients who are bringing habeas corpus (collateral) challenges to their convictions. For instance, one client’s conviction for murder was reversed after we raised Fifth Amendment issues before the First Circuit. We have also represented clients raising other constitutional challenges to their convictions, such as due process or speedy trial claims. In addition, we have advised a client about potential habeas corpus claims arising from a high-profile securities fraud prosecution.

Our lawyers also work to help shape criminal law by writing amicus briefs on behalf of other parties. For example, Inga Bernstein drafted a well-received amicus brief to the Supreme Court on behalf of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and Families Against Mandatory Minimums in a case involving sentencing of repeat offenders. Monica Shah submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Judicial Court on behalf of the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in a case concerning Massachusetts’ witness intimidation statute where the SJC ultimately reversed the defendant’s conviction for misleading a police officer.

If you are considering filing an appeal in a criminal matter and need legal advice, please call our attorneys at (617) 742-6020.

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