Being convicted and sentenced in a trial court does not have to be the end of a criminal case. Every defendant has a right to ask a court of appeals to decide if, in the trial, some important rule was broken, or a Constitutional right was violated, by the police, the prosecutor or even the judge, which justifies a new trial.
Federal sentencing is a fast-changing subject where the quality of the lawyers may have a tremendous effect on the outcome. The United States Supreme Court has ruled in a series of recent decisions that the federal sentencing guidelines are “advisory” and NOT mandatory. A federal judge can give a reasonable sentence from a minimum period of probation, or the statutory mandatory minimum, to the maximum. There is a “safety valve” and other ways to receive a sentence below the so-called “mandatory minimum.” We also help people be involved in the bureau of prisons decision about where they go, and how they will be treated if sentenced to confinement and how to earn early release.
There are a series of treaties between the United States and other countries allowing a person convicted here to serve their sentence where they are citizens. We help our clients take advantage of their foreign citizenship to obtain early release.
Extraordinary Writs: Certiorari, Mandamus and Discretionary Review
These are complicated, some say ancient, remedies available in unusual circumstances. For example, the United States Supreme Court has discretion (it gets to choose) whether to take up a case from a Federal Court of Appeals or the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The “paper” that we are required to prepare for the Supreme Court is called an Application for a Writ of Certiorari and the paper that brings a case to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is a Petition for Discretionary Review.
If a judge absolutely refuses to perform a duty required by law – such as keeping a case when the judge was formerly the prosecutor – an Application for Writ of Mandamus, filed in a court of appeals, is the paperwork which can get the judge kicked off the case or ordered to follow the applicable law.
Expunctions and Orders of Non-Disclosure
Even if you were innocent and acquitted or the charges were dismissed, you may still have a “criminal record” that will affect your family, your employment and other important aspects of your future. If you entered a guilty plea, but received deferred adjudication, there is a special law that lets some cases be “sealed,” that is, removed from the public record.
If your record is expunged, or ordered “not disclosed,” Texas law allows you to answer “no” when asked questions on loan or job applications, or in court, if asked: “Have you ever been charged with or convicted of a crime?”
PROTECTING THE ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE
We are prepared to take your case as far as it can go. Once you become our client we expect to remain your lawyer – forever – until the last day that we can be of assistance. We believe that the client’s secrets and confidential communications extend beyond the grave. The attorney-client privilege and our opportunity to be your lawyer, once started, should never end.