When seeking a criminal appellate lawyer, there are several factors that should be taken into consideration. First off, the attorney should be willing to thoroughly review the case in order to determine if any evidence was improperly discussed during the original trial. Any mistakes made either on the part of the defense or by the court could be grounds for a mistrial, and many criminal appellate lawyers simply do not have the resources to investigate these details in depth. Another way to choose a good lawyer is to search for any new evidence that may have surfaced since the incarceration period began. Finally, the attorney's overall competence and his experience with similar matters should also be considered.
Every citizen has a right to a fair trial regardless if they are innocent or guilty, and the first thing any good criminal appellate lawyer will do is scour through the court logs to determine if anything was overlooked. Large firms will usually assign this task to an unlicensed paralegal or resident intern that has very little experience in interpreting law, so it is crucial to determine up front who will be conducting this research. Appeals in criminal trials are not automatically granted, so unless a sound reasoning is found for a second hearing, the funds paid to the criminal appellate attorney are wasted.
Once an appeal is granted, the individual has the benefit of firsthand experience from the first trial to know what the prosecution will present as evidence. A good criminal appellate lawyer will use these transcripts, along with the incarcerated person's statements, to construct a defense that has a much better chance of success. For this reason alone, it is important to seek a criminal appellate attorney that will take ample time to find a way to succeed where the previous defense failed. In many cases, a bond hearing is offered once an appeal has been granted, so interested parties should discuss this aspect of the case as well.
Many of these factors can not be determined from a single phone interview, so researching the legal firm's history with similar cases is normally imperative to locate a strong criminal appellate attorney. The lawyer should also be readily available to answer any questions about the case, the fee structure, or about the expectations once inside the courtroom. Whenever this level of professionalism is not apparent, consider choosing a different criminal appellate attorney.