Category: Appeals

Criminal defense attorneys: what we do DOES matter

After doing this for 15 years, one can get a little complacent, jaded, and awfully cynical.  Criminal defense attorneys know what I am writing about here.  Seeing the same crimes over and over.  Dealing with the same prosecutors and the same judges.  Hearing the same excuses from clients and families.  Seeing people get in more trouble because they don’t listen to you.  Basically being everyone’s villain – that can be the life of a defense attorney.  It can seem sometimes like defense attorneys just don’t matter.

Last week, I had two very important cases come to conclusion.  Both were very different, but drew me to the same conclusion:

What we do DOES matter.

The first case was that of a truly innocent man.  My client did something stupid but not illegal (yelling at his neighbor), was attacked and framed, and was charged with three crimes!  We went to trial, and he was acquitted – the judge dismissed one count, and the jury found him not guilty of the other two.  This was all while I was telling the prosecutor that my client was overcharged, and that they should drop some charges.  I was very happy for a good man – now he can have his life back.

The other case was a victory in the Florida Supreme Court.  I had a murder conviction overturned based on a bad jury instruction way back in 2007 in the trial court.  Now, I was not the trial attorney, but I have read the trial record.  I am not passing on actual guilt or innocence here.  What I am happy about is that there was a defective trial, and I got it corrected.  Whether the client gets convicted or acquitted at the retrial . . . we’ll see (I likely wont be doing that trial, either).  What is important is that the client will get a shot at a fair trial.

Two different cases, two different clients, two very different victories.  We do DOES matter  – we make a difference as defense attorneys.  We matter to one person and his or her family.  We matter to the entire system of justice.

That puts some pep in my step going into November.  Happy Halloween, everyone.



All of you are invited to a meeting scheduled for 8/12/11 at 1:30 PM at the Hillsborough County Bar Association, Chester H. Ferguson Law Center, 1610 North Tampa Street, Tampa FL 33602. The general meeting will be devoted to the issue of 893 and Shelton and to the creation of a unified motion regarding Fla. Stat. 893.13 for use in state court. HACDL is obtaining the input of many outstanding federal and state trial lawyers, as well as appellate lawyers for this meeting.

No RSVP is required, anyone interested may attend.  If you are not an attorney but interested in attending, please call your attorney or Joe Bodiford at 222-0032.

Appeal from Selena's killer in wrong court!

This  article demonstrates why people need experienced criminal defense and criminal appeal attorneys.  This lady lost her right to appeal simply because she filed her paperwork in the wrong place.  Time ran out before she tried to fix it, and it was too late.  What a mess!!!

Appeal from Selena’s killer in wrong court: Yolanda Saldivar, convicted killer of Tejano music star Selena, loses appeal —