Appellate Practice

In my 40 years of practice, I have filed at least 500 appellate briefs, along with other original proceedings and extraordinary writs filed at the trial level.  My appellate work has taken me to all five Florida Courts of Appeal, the Florida Supreme Court, four Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal, the United States Supreme Court and five other states (Arizona, California, Illinois, New York, and Washington).  Appellate practice is difficult and demanding—no appellate attorney wins all his or her cases—but it is professionally rewarding as well.  There is no better feeling than opening up an appellate court letter (or e-mails now, as all appellate courts have adopted electronic filing) to discover I have won a reversal of a conviction and/or sentence for my client.  About 50% of my present practice consists of direct appeals and post-conviction cases.

Over the years, I have obtained reversals in about 10% of my cases.  Following is a non-complete list of some of these reversals and other significant cases:

  • United States v. Levy, 545 U.S. 1101, 126 S.Ct. 643 (2006)
  • United States v. Machado, 333 F.3d 1225 (11th Cir. 2003)
  • United States v. Lowery, 166 F.3d 119 (11th Cir. 1999)
  • United States v. Beasley, 72 F.3d 1518 (11th Cir. 1999)
  • United States v. Ferraro, 537 Fed. Appx. 913 (11th Cir. 2013)
  • Consulate General of Mexico v. Phillips, 17 F.Supp.2d 1318 (S.D. Fla. 1998)
  • Pardo v. State, 596 So. 2d 665 (Fla. 1992)
  • Hernandez v. State, 186 So. 3d 1103 (Fla. 3d DCA 2016)
  • Errico v. State, 121 So. 3d 651 (Fla. 4th DCA 2013)
  • Cueto v. State, 88 So. 3d 1064 (Fla. 3d DCA 2012)
  • Richards v. State, 39 So. 3d 431 (Fla. 2d DCA 2010)
  • Masaka v. State, 4 So. 3d 1274 (Fla. 2d DCA 1274)
  • State v. Magner, 956 P.2d 519 (Ariz. App. Div. 1 1998)(wrote brief)
  • United States v. Baker, 432 F.3d 1189 (11th Cir. 2005)(wrote brief for appellant Ben Johnson)

Due to this large volume of appellate work, I have accumulated a large brief bank and research database I can use to research and prepare new appellate cases.  The database includes not only briefs but various procedural motions and appeal-specific paperwork from which to derive guidance and inspiration in new cases.  I have also engaged in about 100 oral arguments in front of courts at all levels except the United States Supreme Court, although this is one of my career goals I still plan to accomplish. 

My appellate experience also includes extensive post-conviction litigation at both the trial and appellate level in state and federal courts.  Once again, I have filed at least 100 post-convictions motions of all sorts, including motions to set aside conviction, to correct sentence, and to vacate judgments and sentences.  Finally, I have filed extraordinary writs in both state and federal courts, in an attempt to re-open closed criminal cases using common law principles.  These include writs of mandamus, prohibition, certiorari, and habeas corpus.

When all else fails, a criminal defendant can seek executive clemency once he or she has exhausted all of his or her possible reliefs in the courts.  This means taking your case to the Governor or (in federal cases) to the President of the United States.  I have filed requests for pardon and sentence commutation in both forums.  I also have filed numerous motions to seal or expunge criminal records in closed cases and have all the forms necessary for these procedures.