It’s not at all uncommon within the legal field for a trial lawyer to ask for fresh eyes to look at a proposed appeal. We sometimes refer clients out even after we did a trial, if there’s likely to be an appeal, and we will very often accept appeals that come from other firms and other lawyers. The lawyers who send us appeals aren’t acknowledging an error or a lack of ability; they are essentially saying that it’s time for a fresh look from someone who has some distance from the case. It’s often very difficult to be objective with a case you’ve been involved with for a year or more. It’s valuable to get somebody completely new to come out and look at the case from scratch, assess it, and determine whether or not there is a realistic chance of appeal. They’ll also consider the strengths and weaknesses of the case and how will they approach it. This new look at the case can sometimes improve the client’s chances for success.
Often trial lawyers who want us to act for their clients on an appeal will look ahead at the possible results of their trial. They will come to us with a suspicion that their client may be found guilty. Because sentencing will not usually happen for a couple of weeks or a month, we have more time to assess the likelihood of a successful appeal. It’s very wise to get legal advice before sentencing and before the 30-day clock begins running.
If you decide to proceed with that appeal lawyer, he or she can be in a position to start already preparing the documentation that’s going to be necessary for the Bail Pending Appeal. We’ve actually had circumstances where we make arrangements with the court so that a person who is sentenced to jail in the morning can be released by 5 PM on Bail Pending Appeal. Even if it doesn’t happen that fast, it can at least happen within a day or two. If you wait until you’re incarcerated and then try to speak with and meet with lawyers, a week or two might pass before you can get a hearing before a court of appeal with all the necessary documents.