Our primary service is providing
appellate counsel. As such we are able to meet the deadlines imposed by the
appellate courts. The quality of the appellate work is constantly being
improved (due to training and experience).
Both the clients and the system benefit from the fact that the appellate
courts can handle these cases easier and faster. This has, and will, cut down
on the complaints and post conviction relief applications related to the
appellate representation. The feed-back received to date from the appellate
courts has been positive about the improvements. They prefer dealing with a
limited number of attorneys who know the rules and produce quality briefs. Our
handling the appeals also frees up the trial attorneys, so that they can
concentrate on moving their cases through the district courts.
accept all appeals in felony cases from a district office where that office would have been
appointed. This includes the cases wherein an out-of-time appeal is granted by
the district court and those cases where the private counsel withdraws.
It also includes felony-grade adjudications in juvenile cases.
appellate unit we focus on issues which may be raised by direct appeal. We do
not deal with post-conviction relief in any form.
limited by our contracts to handling non-capital felony appeals. This excludes
misdemeanors, pre-trial writs, non-support, child in need of care and
termination matters, which may be handled by the district offices. We provide
limited assistance in these cases, by supplying forms or brief advice upon
request of the district seeking to handle the case.
our primary purpose of handling the appeals, thereby relieving the district
PDO, and its trial attorneys of these duties, we offer some additional
services. We provide information to the district offices and individual public
defenders via e-mail. These messages do not fit into neat little
categories. They deal with such things as new
case law, practice hints, requests for assistance in locating experts,
requests for information on officers or experts expected to testify in an
upcoming trial, etc. Some of these we generate, some originate from the
local attorneys and are just circulated by us. We want to pinpoint those cases which change the
law and make sure the criminal defense trial attorneys are aware of the law to
be able to use or counter it as appropriate in any given case. And we want to
offer practice tips which have led others to problems. Given that we read the
trial transcripts and see the decisions, we believe we will be in a position
to offer this advice. The point, obviously, is not to criticize the trial
work, but to improve the representation provided to our joint clients. These
messages are sent at irregular intervals. E-mail has proven to be an
appropriate and rapid means of distributing information.
attorneys also have answered questions regarding the law from trial counsel.
It is sometimes useful to discuss how to set up an issue prior to trial,
rather than wait until after the trial to consider it.