Legal Blog

Client travels around the country visiting family after Spolin Law gets wrongful murder charges dismissed.

Published on June 22, 2021
Client Office Visit Story (Featured Image 1) | Spolin Law

Attorneys and staff from Spolin Law P.C. meet with a former client. His murder case was entirely dismissed this past February.

A former Spolin Law client visited the firm’s main office and shared with his lawyers what he has been doing since his release. The client had been wrongfully charged with a gang related murder and held in custody for nearly a year. (For more details about his case, read the original article written the day after his case was dismissed.) Last week the client met with five of the firm’s lawyers as well as some members of the firm’s administrative team.

After walking out of custody a free man, the client visited family all over the country to reconnect, celebrate his release, and begin the exciting next phase of his life. Much of his time was spent in Chicago and Los Angeles, where many of his family and friends live. And of course he has not forgotten to spend a great deal of time with his mother, who probably spent even more time than the Spolin Law lawyers in fighting to secure her son’s release.

Client Office Visit Story (Featured Image 2) | Spolin Law

The client says goodbye as he moves on to the next phase of his life. Pictured (left to right): Hemi Tann, Arlene Binder, Don Nguyen, Jeremy Cutcher, and client.

In recounting his travels and celebrating his newfound freedom, the client met with the lawyers who had directly represented him, including Aaron Spolin, and Jeremy Cutcher. Two other attorneys on his legal defense team were not present: Caitlin Dukes and Matt Delgado (of counsel). Attorneys Don Nguyen, Arlene Binder, and Dan DeMaria had not represented him but were present for the happy occasion. Also present was law firm manager Dionne Parker; one of the firms case managers, Hemi Tann; and the mailroom manager Michael Alfi. The Spolin Law attorneys and staff were excited to hear about further travel and life plans in the client’s future.

To speak with Aaron Spolin or any of the firm’s attorneys about your case, call us at (866) 716-2805.

Categories: Uncategorized

How long does a California appeal take?

Published on June 12, 2021

Filing a criminal appeal in California is oftentimes a drawn out and complicated process. If you plan on taking appellate action, knowing the basics of how it functions is crucial. The length of this appeals process varies from case to case, ranging anywhere from a couple of months to a couple of years. Nevertheless, while some cases may take longer than others to resolve, it is important that all appeals are filed quickly after a conviction sentencing.

Deadline

Before filing, you must first confirm that you have a case that warrants an appeal. It is important that you reach out to an appellate attorney, who will look through the details of your case to identify any legal errors and advise you on what next steps may be.

If the attorney confirms you are eligible, and you decide to proceed with an appeal, you will start the appellate process by filing a Notice of Appeal in the superior court. For misdemeanor cases, the deadline to file is 30 days from the date of judgement. Felony offenses, on the other hand, hold a 60 day deadline.

While direct appeals must be filed within this 30 and 60 day window, there are other types of post conviction relief that may be submitted after this deadline has passed. Common examples include a California Writ of Habeas Corpus and an Application for Commutation of Sentence.

Can I file a late appeal?

In some cases, extensions may be granted for defendants who miss the designated deadline. In compliance with the 2018 California Rules of Court, in instances of public emergency, defendants will receive a longer time window to appeal.

Additionally, in the event that your attorney fails to provide proper assistance during the appeals filing process, the traditional 30 or 60 day deadline no longer applies. For example, if your attorney does not inform you of your right to appeal or provides misinformation about the deadline of your appeal, you may be eligible for an extension.

Furthermore, cases of constructive filing also serve as a proper grounds for appellate extension. This occurs when the appeal does not make it to the courthouse on time despite genuine efforts from the defendant. Filing the appeal with the wrong court or mailing delays that are out of your control are just some instances in which a constructive filing extension may be offered.

Certificate of Probable Cause

In addition to submitting a Notice of Appeal, you must file a Certificate of Probable Cause (CPC) which legitimizes the basis of the appeal. The court then receives 20 days to review the submission and either grant or deny the CPC.

Notice of Designation Record on Appeal

Within 10 days of filing your Notice of Appeal, you must also file a Notice of Designation Record on Appeal. Doing so will notify the involved parties (including the court clerk, court report etc) and facilitate the collecting of trial records and transcripts which will be used in the appellate proceedings.

Opening Brief

Once the primary paperwork has been completed and all the trial records have been compiled, the next step in the appellate process is the preparation of the opening brief. In an opening brief, your appeals attorney provides a summary of your trial, presents their argument, and requests a certain outcome.

The opening brief is expected to be submitted within 40 days of when the Notice of Designation Record on Appeal was filed. This is followed by the respondent’s brief which is filled by the opposing counsel within 30 days of the opening brief. Lastly, once the respondent’s brief is filed, the appellant is given 20 days to counter the respondent’s brief what is called the reply brief.

Oral Arguments

The next steps in the appellate process are the oral arguments, during which attorneys will be given the chance to argue their case in person and answer any lingering questions the presiding judge may have. You can expect these oral arguments to take place a few weeks after the filing of the briefs.

Contact Spolin Law P.C. About an Appeal in California

If you or a loved one plan on appealing a criminal conviction or have questions about your eligibility for an appeal or extension, don’t hesitate to reach out to Spolin Law P.C. today.

Categories: Uncategorized

Governor Grants Commutation for Yet Another Spolin Law Client

Published on June 3, 2021

The Firm’s Clients Have Now Been Included in 66% of All Commutation Batches Carried Out by Governor Gavin Newsom.

For the second time in a row, a Spolin Law client was included in Governor Gavin Newsom’s summer commutation batch, which occurred last Friday. The client and his family were beyond excited to learn that the client’s life-without-the-possibility-of-parole sentence had been removed by the governor. The client is now eligible to re-enter society through the parole process.

The first page of Governor Gavin Newsom's Commutation Order from this past Friday

Above Image The first page of Governor Gavin Newsom’s Commutation Order from this past Friday.

Historically, some governors have waited until the end of their terms to issue commutations and pardons. However, Governor Gavin Newsom has been issuing large batches of commutations every summer throughout his term. This has included a batch in August of 2019, June of 2020, and May of 2021. Spolin Law is proud to note that the firm’s clients have been included in the last two of these three batches issued by Governor Newsom.

In publicly announcing the commutation, Governor Newsom had the following words to say about the client:

In 1995, Omar Walker and his crime partner committed a robbery. The crime partner shot and killed the victim. On November 25, 1997, the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, sentenced Mr. Walker to life without the possibility of parole for murder and three years for three counts of robbery, plus 16 years and eight months of sentence enhancements.

…. While serving a sentence with no hope of release, Mr. Walker has devoted himself to his self-improvement. Mr. Walker completed vocational training and has engaged in extensive self-help programming. He is currently assigned to the Delancey Street Honors Unit, a program that teaches job and life skills in preparation for release….

Mr. Walker participated in a serious crime that took the victim’s life. Since then, Mr. Walker has dedicated himself to his rehabilitation and becoming a productive citizen. I have carefully considered and weighed the evidence of Mr. Walker’s positive conduct in prison, the fact that he was a youthful offender, and his good prospects for successful community reentry….

This act of clemency for Mr. Walker does not minimize or forgive his conduct or the harm it caused. It does recognize the work he has done since to transform himself.

Commuting a sentence is one of the Governor’s most powerful abilities. State governors (like Governor Newsom) are able to commute sentences or pardon convicts for individuals convicted of state crimes. The President of the United States is able to commute and pardon for federal crimes.

To learn more about commutations and other types of post-conviction relief, call one of the lawyers at Spolin Law P.C. We are available at (866)-716-2805.

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