September 2012 Archives

#212 So, You Say You Want To Know How To Perfect A Criminal Appeal?, Part 3 of 15

September 29, 2012

212 Post Depositphotos_2510286_XS.jpgAnd now, a special disclaimer: these are my steps. They are not specifically set forth in any other source of which I am aware (other than the sources upon which I rely - which are the rules and statutes themselves). I've put them together after perfecting many criminal appeals. Some may find certain steps missing or some that are overindulged in. However, this is just a starting point. You can get creative after a while, so long as you keep in mind what is mandated by the various rules and statutes. In fact, if you are to become efficient, after you have become proficient, it is expected that you will craft your own, personally-tailored series of steps for the perfecting of criminal appeals.

Once you have a feel for what all the steps are, only then should you feel free to take them out of order, and rearrange them, tailoring them to your own efficiencies and proficiencies.

So, the next question: do you need to "know this stuff cold"? Well, you certainly need to know most of it cold and, let's face it, your first few appeals will probably be painful learning experiences. However, once you get the "feel for appeals" it becomes much easier. In fact, believe it or not, a huge chunk of what you do in your first criminal appeal can be copied wholesale (especially the essential forms), with a few revisions, for your next appeal, so you do not have to keep "reinventing the wheel." Therefore, while you may not need to know this stuff cold - and probably won't the first time - it really does help you to get the criminal appeal done right the first time - so that you don't have to unlearn things that don't really apply.

Have fun discovering and exploring!

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#211 So, You Say You Want To Know How To Perfect A Criminal Appeal?, Part 2 of 15

September 29, 2012

211 Post Depositphotos_2510286_XS.jpgBefore you start this potentially daunting task of learning how to perfect a criminal appeal, it is probably best to figure out where to start and how to proceed from Step 1. The answer is simple: follow the numbers.

And, when you "follow the numbers", do yourself the favor of completing the entirety of the rule or statute before you return to or go to another rule or statute - unless you stumble upon a rule or statute number that immediately directs you to go to someplace else. Got it? In fact, you should "leave a trail" so that you don't get lost amidst the thicket of numbers and miss a step or two. Before long, you will discover these steps to be more like finding your way around and out of a maze than anything else. And, for the first few times that you will do it, that is exactly what it will feel like.

Also, for the sake of all you purists, I am specifically omitting those aspects of the Criminal Procedure Law relating to appeals, namely Articles 450, 460, and 470. Obviously, these statutes are instructive, but they are not necessarily essential for a basic knowledge of the appellate process for criminal appeals. Just as obviously, the more criminal appeals one perfects, the more well-advised it would be for one to be quite familiar with Articles 450, 460, and 470 of the Criminal Procedure Law and their interplay with the steps set forth herein.

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#210 So, You Say You Want To Know How To Perfect A Criminal Appeal?, Part 1 of 15

September 27, 2012

210 Post Depositphotos_2510286_XS.jpgSo, you say you want to know how to perfect a criminal appeal? Are you sure? Well, good luck with that. Because you really should be careful what you ask for. Scared yet?

The reality of the situation is that perfecting criminal appeals is actually easy - once you are able to navigate the incredibly complicated rules pertaining to them. This series will introduce you to how one actually goes about perfecting a criminal appeal, from the filing of the notice of appeal to the service on the client of the decision and order of the Court of Appeals not to accept the appeal from the Appellate Division (as they almost never accept appeals, except in rare circumstances), with notice of entry.

I actually enjoy the complexity of appellate work as I find it intellectually stimulating. Another great aspect of the work is that it tends to reward creativity; thinking "outside the box". Also, it goes without saying, that the more appeals you are able to perfect, the better you become at perfecting appeals; one becomes both more efficient and more proficient in the appellate process, the more work one does. In fact, the byzantine statutes and court rules which pertain to the entire process are so precise (and very often duplicative), that one is left with clear directives as to what shall be done in the perfection of a criminal appeal.

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#209 I Remember A Beautiful Late Summer Day, Obliterated

September 12, 2012

209 Post Depositphotos_1127392_XS.jpgI am largely a private person. And I do not like to wear my heart on my sleeve. What you see is what you get and if you don't like it then keep walking.

I've avoided talking about it. Not much to tell really. But, when this day comes round, I can't help thinking about the things I saw, the things I felt. How it feels as though I was present at the birth of a demon that still runs rampant. And how that simultaneously sickens and saddens me.

And, being a music aficionado, I hear the constant refrain at the end of that old BOC song, "Godzilla", swirling through my head this time of year.

I don't like to talk about it. In fact, I'd rather forget the whole damned thing. But I can't. After all these years, I still dream about it, though much less often than I used to. At least the nightmares are gone. Those were a bit rough. Far too realistic for my liking.

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