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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Client Reviews
I hired Mr. Duncan to deal with a very sensitive issue that my daughter had. Since the first contact, I had a very good impression of him. He transmitted confidence and appeared to know exactly what to do. I called and emailed him many times, he was polite and comprehensible with the anxiety of a father and appeared to know every step to solve the case. I strongly recommend Mr. Duncan. Flavio Lajoia
If you are reading this review, it means either you or a family member is in trouble and needs immediate legal counsel. Please know your search can end right now because Zalkind, Duncan & Bernstein is the law firm to hire. They are honest, responsive, compassionate and have the experience and expertise to bring... Client
I contacted Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein to assist with a Title IX case. From our initial conversation, Naomi Shatz had a strong understanding of Title IX policies and conducted each step of the process with professionalism, honesty and a responsiveness that did not disappoint. Ms. Shatz displayed confidence and just as important, compassion when needed. Client
I worked with Emma Quinn-Judge and Monica Shah. And from my first contact on the phone, on to my first meeting in their office and during the trial, I found them and the firm's entire team to be a group of consummate legal professionals who are very knowledgeable, patient, dedicated, fair, honest and caring... Chantal C.
I am forever grateful to all the staff at this firm, but in particular, Ms. Shah, Mr. Zalkind and Mr. Silverglate. They represented my son who was being sought for extradition to Scotland. The case took years to fight, covering new legal ground, setting precedence. But each one of these legal eagles went above and beyond the duty of office... Suzanne D.