Georgia Criminal Appellate Law Blog Offering Insight and Commentary on Appellate Law and Criminal Trial Practice

Category Archives: Attorney-Client Relationship

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Ray Lewis, Facebook, and the Justice System

Posted in Attorney-Client Relationship, News

Ray Lewis’s retirement has made for an interesting time to be a criminal defense lawyer. Many of us who defend people for a living lead two lives. In one, we are in and out of jails, explaining things to clients. We are in the hallway huddled with families after a loved one was led out… Continue Reading

10% Fewer Words

Posted in Attorney-Client Relationship, Motion for New Trial

I recently finished the audio version of Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. It’s geared toward fiction writers, but there is much to commend it to lawyerly writing. The best writing advice I have heard in a while was something that a publisher wrote on a slip rejecting one of King’s early… Continue Reading

Should You Post Bond? Not Always

Posted in Attorney-Client Relationship

Last week, I closed out an armed robbery case quite successfully. The case was reduced down to robbery, the client was sentenced under Georgia’s First Offender Act (meaning that he has the opportunity to come out of this with no conviction on his record), and after completing a one-year residential program, he is on probation…. Continue Reading

GPDSC’s First Executive Director Weighs In

Posted in Attorney-Client Relationship, News, Opinions and Analysis

Aly Palmer, a reporter with the Fulton Daily Report, read the exchanges of the last few days and reported on it at the ATLaw Blog. Michael Mears, an Associate Professor at the John Marshall School of Law and the man who was GPDSC’s very first Executive Directer when it was created, wrote a very thoughtful… Continue Reading

My Reply to the Circuit Public Defender

Posted in Attorney-Client Relationship, News, Opinions and Analysis, Uncategorized

To catch you up to speed, I recently blogged about GPDSC’s recent argument to the Supreme Court of Georgia that public defenders should have the right to represent clients in the same circuit public defender’s office even when there is a conflict in the representation. Mr. Samuel Merritt, a Circuit Public Defender disagreed. I posted… Continue Reading

Even More Reasons to Run From GPDSC and a Modest Proposal

Posted in Attorney-Client Relationship, News, Opinions and Analysis

A blog post I wrote a week ago about GPDSC’s alliance with the Attorney General’s Office to oppose the Georgia Bar’s formal advisory opinion regarding imputed conflicts for indigent defendants inspired a few comments over on my Facebook page. A friend of mine who is a former assistant public defender commented: The absence of conflict-free… Continue Reading

Attorney General and Public Defenders Team Up to Support Double Standards for Poor People

Posted in Attorney-Client Relationship, News

The writer Jerry Pournelle postulated The Iron Law of Bureaucracy. It goes like this. In a bureacratic organization, there are two types of people. First, there are the people who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Second, there are those dedicated to the organization itself. According to Pournelle, “in every case the second… Continue Reading

What Do Appellate Lawyers Do

Posted in Attorney-Client Relationship, Uncategorized

Leave this blog right now and run, don’t walk, over to the Appellate Record and read Kendall Gray’s blog post on what distinguishes appellate lawyers from trial lawyers. A presentation he gave to visitors to his firm from China inspired this post. It provides the simplest explanation of the key differences between the two types… Continue Reading

New UGA Law Review Article Takes Georgia to Task for the Way We Handle IAC Claims

Posted in Attorney-Client Relationship, Motion for New Trial, News, Opinions and Analysis, Uncategorized

I returned from vacation pleased to find in my in basket at the office a copy of Ryan C. Tuck’s article from the Georgia Law Review on the confusing state of the law as it relates to ineffective assistance of counsel in Georgia. The article is titled “Ineffective-Assistance-of-Counsel Blues: Navigating the Muddy Waters of Georgia… Continue Reading

Video Arraignments are a Step in the Right Direction

Posted in Attorney-Client Relationship, Motion for New Trial, Oral Argument, State Habeas Corpus, Supreme Court of Georgia, Uncategorized

Above the Law has a good recent post on the use of video arraignments and how judges find that the process makes them feel safer. I don’t know whether video Arraignments make the process any safer or not. But the process certainly makes the process more efficient. In fact, many of the rituals of court… Continue Reading

How Can You Defend These People?

Posted in Attorney-Client Relationship, News

I’ve watched with interest the news regarding former Solicitor General Paul Clement’s resignation from King & Spalding, after the firm moved to withdraw from its representation of House Republicans in defense of the federal statute that prohibits same sex marriage.  Every criminal defense lawyer should learn as much as possible about this story and save… Continue Reading

Making the Most of Your Georgia Prison Visit

Posted in Attorney-Client Relationship

As I’ve mentioned before, I make many prison visits. It’s part of the job in Georgia appellate practice. All the appellate courts, the parole board, and most of the counties where convictions originate are in or near Atlanta. And most of the prisons are south of Macon. I’ve learned some things over time about how… Continue Reading

How Much Longer Before The Georgia Appellate Court Rules?

Posted in Attorney-Client Relationship, Georgia Court of Appeals, Oral Argument, Supreme Court of Georgia

As a father of three children (one still in a car seat and one in a booster) and as an appeals lawyer in Georgia, I get two recurring and related questions. From the children, on car trips, I frequently hear, “Are we there yet?” From my clients and their families, I frequently hear, “when will… Continue Reading

The Client’s Right to Participate in Georgia Criminal Appeals is Quickly Eroding

Posted in Attorney-Client Relationship, Motion for New Trial

The state of Georgia once brought us the Leo Frank trial, the Andersonville prisoner of war camp, and a series of lynching over the years. I never knew that Georgia law was so traditionally weighted against the State. The legislature seems to think otherwise. Yet, the legislature of late has enacted new laws that have… Continue Reading

Handling Criticism Gracefully is Part of Criminal Appellate Practice

Posted in Attorney-Client Relationship

A colleague of mine who has a thriving domestic practice tells me that, at the end of many divorce cases, two people often hate him – the ex-spouse and the client. He’s a great lawyer, so the ex-spouse part of that equation does not surprise me. As I think about the nature of domestic practice… Continue Reading

My Talk at the State Bar General Counsel’s Office on the Georgia Appeals Process

Posted in Attorney-Client Relationship

Yesterday, I was honored to be the guest of the State Bar of Georgia General Counsel’s office for their in-office CLE. The Office of the General Counsel is the group at the State Bar of Georgia who, among other things, that deals with bar complaints and attorney discipline.  I was one of two speakers for… Continue Reading

Managing Client Expectations in Georgia Appeals Law

Posted in Attorney-Client Relationship

Today, I received a thank you note from a client whose case I just successfully closed. The case resulted in a negotiated plea to probation. The case had its ups and downs, and the result was quite great. The gratitude was genuine and the praise was effusive. And, as I sit to write this post,… Continue Reading

The Importance of Managing Anger in the Practice of Law

Posted in Attorney-Client Relationship, Writing

Anger is not a good mix with the practice of law. Yet, law is a profession that puts the practitioner in a position where things could make him angry all the time. Litigation, even appellate litigation, is a business of fighting and arguing. Ideally, it’s done in a very scholarly collegial way. Arguing in real… Continue Reading

Some Thoughts on Relating to Clients in Georgia Criminal Cases

Posted in Attorney-Client Relationship

It’s been a long week. I’ve had to have “the talk” with several of my clients. In case you don’t know what I mean by “the talk,” allow me to explain. There comes a point in just about every attorney-client relationship where there is an important decision to be made. You give your assessment, and… Continue Reading

Being OCD and Doing Criminal Appeals in Georgia

Posted in Attorney-Client Relationship, Writing

Today I found myself in a meeting with a prospective client’s family discussing handling a direct appeal in the Supreme Court of Georgia. The family is very organized and proactive and already had the trial transcript ready to go. To make things even better, trial counsel was present in the meeting to discuss things with… Continue Reading