Category Archives: Criminal Defense Appeals

Is it silly to demand transparency from appellate courts?

We’re always grousing about how courts deny our appeals without reading our briefs, but a recent Supreme Court cert denial showed that’s a heap of ol’ catfish compared to what goes on in Louisiana. The scandal broke back in May, … Continue reading

Posted in Appellate advocacy, Criminal Defense Appeals, Criminal procedure, Judges, Law & Parody | Tagged , | 2 Comments

“Justice in every borough”

The other day we were glumly printing out a closing letter to a client: “Court of Appeals denied leave . . . end of the line. . .  wishing you the best for the future,” when we noticed something new on … Continue reading

Posted in Criminal Defense Appeals, Satire and parody | 3 Comments

Easter Bunny convicted of kidnapping, trafficking

Defendant E. Bunny appeals her conviction of kidnapping of minors, trafficking and disorderly conduct. For the reasons stated below, we affirm. Contrary to defendant’s laughable argument, her arrest was entirely lawful. Police Officer Cluck credibly testified that based on his … Continue reading

Posted in Criminal Defense Appeals, Humor, Law & Parody, Satirical cartoons | 5 Comments

What is ineffective assistance of appellate counsel?

Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. — Matthew 23: 24. In an unusual burst of candor, New York’s highest court recently confessed to what we’ve always suspected: if your appeal is a loser, it … Continue reading

Posted in Criminal Defense Appeals, Law & Parody, Satire and parody | 5 Comments

Justice Thomas decries Court’s latest “defendant-always-wins” rule

 Our company boss-persons recently decreed that the office’s 50-year archive of vintage appellate briefs must go. We sadly watched as giant blue bins were loaded to the brim with typewritten pre-computer gems of scholarship and advocacy, condemned to be recycled … Continue reading

Posted in Criminal Defense Appeals, Law & Parody, Satirical cartoons | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Chief to judges: dissent at your own risk.

Does your boss stifle dissent? You’re not alone! The fearless Judge Saxe, retired from the First Department, reveals that Chief Judge Flowerpot refuses to let judges stay past retirement age if they’ve written too many unsuccessful dissents. Used to be that … Continue reading

Posted in Criminal Defense Appeals, Judges, Law & Parody, Satirical cartoons | 2 Comments

Ineffective Assistance of Counsel, Aussie Style

One of our worst moments as an appellate squawk was sitting in an Alabama courtroom watching a lawyer hand over his former client’s entire file to the prosecutor.  The idea being that if a defendant argues on appeal that his … Continue reading

Posted in Criminal Defense Appeals, Criminal law | Tagged | 1 Comment

Newspeak reforms Criminal Justice

The latest decree from the boss is to reform our vocabulary in compliance with The Criminal Justice Reform Phrase Guide authored by The Opportunity Agenda, a propaganda machine describing itself as a “social justice communication lab” that “shapes compelling messages … Continue reading

Posted in Criminal Defense Appeals, Law & Parody | Tagged | 3 Comments

Albany prosecutor fired for secretly writing defense briefs

Defense lawyer Cheryl Coleman thought it was a brilliant idea to hire her local Assistant District Attorney – the aptly named Steve Sharp – to write her criminal appeals on the QT.  For years, Sharp and Coleman regularly appeared against … Continue reading

Posted in Criminal Defense Appeals, Law & Parody, Satirical cartoons | Tagged , , | 18 Comments

How to get judges to read your brief

Judge Saxe is at it again, handing out more advice about appellate briefwriting.  “The reply brief is an important document,” he pronounces.  It’s “the last word” that the judges will read. It should consist of “short, declarative, punchy sentences.” Based … Continue reading

Posted in Criminal Defense Appeals, Judges, Law & Parody, Satire and parody | Tagged , | 9 Comments

“What cross-race charge? What are you talking about?”

“All the identifying witnesses were speaking from casual observation of men they had never seen before, men of foreign race, under circumstances of unusual confusion.” Felix Frankfurter, The Case of Sacco and Vanzetti (1923). We recently watched an oral argument … Continue reading

Posted in Criminal Defense Appeals, eyewitness identification, Law & Parody | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Chief Judge orders prosecutors not to be crooked and defense lawyers not to be incompetent

The Chief Judge adopted the “groundbreaking recommendation” of the  NY State Justice Task Force Report  that from Jan. 1,  all New York State trial judges must issue an order in every criminal case directing prosecutors to disclose evidence helpful to the … Continue reading

Posted in Criminal Defense Appeals, Law & Parody, Satire and parody, Satirical cartoons | Tagged | Leave a comment

Searching for the right court for your appeal? View these customer reviews.

One of the great bulwarks of economic justice for online shoppers is the grassroots literature of customer reviews. A mix of testimonial, advice and social protest, customer reviews are the expression of the Internet Age from all walks of life, … Continue reading

Posted in Criminal Defense Appeals, Law & Parody, Satirical cartoons | 1 Comment

Squawk has been ungood

If the wrath of the humorless is a satirist’s badge of honor, we’ve been awarded the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for our recent post “Are you a cissie?” The post (trigger warning!) is a spoof of compulsory workplace “trainings” … Continue reading

Posted in Civil Liberties, Criminal Defense Appeals, Law & Parody, Satirical cartoons | 10 Comments

How to describe judicial decisionmaking without being held in contempt

The biggest challenge of appellate writing is figuring out how to convey without actually saying so that the trial judge was an uninformed barnacle.  Especially when the standard of review is that the judge is always right.  The appellate squawker … Continue reading

Posted in Criminal Defense Appeals, Humor, Judges, Law & Parody, Satirical cartoons | Tagged | 3 Comments

Judge Saxe tells all

Reversals are disruptive to a system that values predictability and productivity because reversal often means that the matter must be done over.  Judge David Saxe, “Paths to Excellence,” NY Law Journal. We thought we were pretty earthy about the System, … Continue reading

Posted in Criminal Defense Appeals, Law & Parody, Satirical cartoons | 2 Comments

Is your brief turgid and prolix?

Judges are always complaining that appellate briefs are too long or, as Judge Saxe wrote in the NY Law Journal, “turgid and prolix.” As the Emperor told Mozart: “Too many notes.” Now they’ve resolved to take up arms against this … Continue reading

Posted in Criminal Defense Appeals, Humor, Law & Parody, Satirical cartoons | Tagged | 2 Comments

Do prosecutors know the truth from a lie?

Word is that California plans to make it a felony for prosecutors to hide exculpatory evidence from the defense.  That’s harsh: to the prosecutor cerebellum, “exculpatory evidence” is a contradiction in terms. After all, the defendant is obviously guilty or they … Continue reading

Posted in Criminal Defense Appeals, Criminal law, Humor, Law, Law & Parody, Satirical cartoons | Tagged , | 1 Comment

The NY Court of Appeals gets its comeuppance

When it comes to federal habeas petitions, never has so much been denied to so many by so few. To the prisoner, a habeas is the last bastion of hope. To the federal judish, it’s the occasion for assuring state … Continue reading

Posted in Criminal Defense Appeals, Criminal law, Judges, Law, Satirical cartoons | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Guest Post: Exoneration after 25 Years Is Great but Competent Appellate Review at the Time Would Have Been Better

When Andre Hatchett was exonerated after serving half his life in prison for a murder he didn’t commit, the deceptively mild-mannered Ursula Bentele, Professor Emerita of Brooklyn Law School, commented that the Appellate Division had every reason to know at … Continue reading

Posted in Criminal Defense Appeals, Criminal law, Law | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments