Practice Limited to Homicides (Capital and Non-Capital) Trial, Direct Appeals, Post-Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) Litigation, and State Parole Preparedness Consultation (PA only).

Appeals: If you have been convicted of a crime, either by being found guilty or pleading guilty, you still have the right to file a direct appeal. In other words, the case is not necessarily over. In Pennsylvania, there are two types of appeals: direct appeals and petitions under the Post-Conviction Relief Act (PCRA). With direct appeals, all pre-trial, trial, and sentencing issues that may have been decided unfairly are appealed to the next highest court (Superior Court in Pennsylvania). In contrast, a PCRA asserts that your previous attorney did not represent you properly or that there was a constitutional violation with your case.

Unlike at a trial, the issue in an appeal is whether the trial court made a legal error that affected your case. If the mistake was important, the conviction or sentence may be reversed or a new trial awarded. If there was a problem at sentencing, you could be entitled to a new sentencing hearing or the sentence could be reduced. Fresh eyes make the difference!

Your options are many. Do not believe that your trial attorney is the best option for your appeal. Often, s/he was the problem in the first place.

Homicide: A homicide arrest does not necessarily mean conviction (by plea or trial), the death penalty, or a life sentence The stakes are high, and you need an attorney who has the patience and stamina to exhaust every available option through the pre-trial, trial, and sentencing processes. Contact me immediately to discuss appropriate strategies.

Post-Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) Litigation: Defendants may file a Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) petition to appeal the conviction, either after their direct appeal rights are exhausted or by bypassing direct appeal altogether. A petitioner/defendant must have been convicted of a crime under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and is either serving a sentence in prison or on probation or parole for a crime, awaiting execution of a sentence of death for a crime, or, if the petitioner/defendant has completed the sentence of imprisonment, probation or parole for a crime, is seeking relief related to post-conviction DNA testing.

The PCRA Petition must be filed within one year of the denial of the final direct appeal, or within one year of the conviction if the defendant chooses to forego a direct appeal. Furthermore, PCRA petitions can only address matters stemming from:

  1. Ineffective assistance of counsel;
  2. Constitutional violations, like prosecutorial misconduct;
  3. An unlawful guilty plea;
  4. Newly discovered evidence;
  5. Obstruction of an appellate process;
  6. An illegal sentence; and/or
  7. Jurisdiction

State Parole Preparedness Consultation (PA only): The Pennsylvania State Parole Board process can be a difficult and sometimes painful journey, so it is critical that you be prepared to achieve your ultimate goal of going home. With new laws taking effect in Pennsylvania on January 1, 2024, state inmates and their loved ones must appreciate the advanced preparations that should be made to be paroled, what is required to be successful on parole, and what ramifications there are for violations of state parole. As an experienced litigator and appellate advocate, I know exactly what state inmates, and their families, must do to demonstrate parole-readiness. The Board is now required to review particular documents, and obtain relevant information, as part of their release consideration process. Let me help you be as prepared as possible so you can successfully achieve and maintain reintegration into society.