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Award–Winning Michigan Criminal Appeals Attorneys

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Michigan Criminal Appeals Lawyers

Top Rated for Criminal Law

10 Best Attorney Client Satisfaction award 2018

Numerous magazines and publications have recognized Spolin & Dukes P.C. as one of the nation’s top firms for criminal law.

Numerous National Awards

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Spolin & Dukes P.C. is nationally ranked by Attorney & Practice Magazine, and Mr. Spolin is nationally ranked among the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” by The National Trial Lawyers.

Attorneys with Hundreds of Successful Outcomes

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The attorneys at Spolin & Dukes P.C. have been on the winning side of hundreds of criminal cases, including recent success in the Michigan Supreme Court.

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Cases We Handle

Spolin & Dukes P.C. and our Michigan criminal appeal lawyers are
here to set things right through:

  • Criminal Appeals
  • Ginther Hearings
  • Motions for Relief from Judgment and other post-conviction motions
  • Writs of Habeas Corpus, both state and federal
  • Commutation and Pardon Applications
  • DUI Expungement and Expungements for Other Crimes
  • Investigations
  • Federal Appeals
The legal team at Spolin & Dukes P.C. fights to correct mistakes made by law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, and other individuals.

Errors in Your Appeals Case

It may be possible to appeal a conviction based on errors that occurred throughout the various court proceedings. A post-conviction lawyer can review the record for both intentional and unintentional errors and fight to reverse the decision.


Overturn Your Unjust Conviction

Whether through actual innocence, self-defense, or a number of other circumstances, some convictions are unwarranted. A post-conviction lawyer can argue and advocate on your behalf to attempt to overturn your conviction or reduce your sentence.


Reduce Your Unfair Sentence

There are a number of reasons why a sentence may be unfair, even if you are guilty of the crime. A post-conviction lawyer can determine which avenues of reducing a sentence you may qualify for and represent you throughout the process.

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Dedication to Successful Outcomes

Michigan criminal appeals lawyer Aaron Spolin fights hard for his clients to achieve successful outcomes in countless criminal cases.

Attorney Spolin is a former prosecutor and current criminal defense and appeals attorney. He understands both sides of criminal cases. He uses this knowledge to develop a game plan for every case that aims to win.

As the recipient of the American College of Trial Lawyers’ Medial for Excellence in Oral Advocacy, Mr. Spolin uses his skills to advocate for his clients in and out of the courtroom. He works hard to uphold the rights of the accused.

Mr. Spolin authored the Princeton thesis “Reforms for the Process of Eyewitness Identification in Criminal Trials,” which discusses some of the leading causes of wrongful convictions in the United States. The research he completed for this publication guides much of his work as a criminal appeals attorney. He is dedicated to working for those who have been wrongfully convicted and deserve a second chance. Mr. Spolin approaches every case with enthusiasm and compassion, making him an essential ally in the Michigan criminal justice system.

  • Former Assistant District Attorney
  • Princeton University, B.A.
  • U.C. Berkeley School of Law, J.D.
  • Successful Outcomes in Hundreds of Cases
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A Fresh Perspective for a New Outcome

Spolin & Dukes P.C. is dedicated to appealing and overturning wrongful convictions across the country. Our Michigan criminal appeal lawyers are knowledgeable about state and federal laws and have in-depth experience in and out of court. We stay up to date about the latest trends in criminal and appellate law. Our legal professionals search for the truth, find mistakes others often miss, and protect our clients from slipping through the cracks.

If you or a loved one has been treated unfairly by the Michigan criminal justice system, reach out to Spolin & Dukes P.C. We will thoroughly review your case and counsel you on your next steps forward.
5 stars

“He is a brilliant courtroom tactician. I’ve seen Aaron Spolin in court on multiple occasions, and he is truly a master. Nothing gets past him, and he is a powerful advocate for his clients. He is probably one of the strongest examples of how a great lawyer can truly ‘speak truth to power’ in a courtroom.”


The Michigan Criminal Appeal Process

In Michigan, district courts generally hear misdemeanor cases while circuit courts generally hear felonies. An appeal from a district court judgment or order is brought in the circuit court, while an appeal from a circuit court order is brought in the Michigan Court of Appeals. Appeals from the Court of Appeals go to the Michigan Supreme Court, which has the discretion to grant or deny a request to appeal.

Stage 1: Claim of Appeal

Michigan has a single Court of Appeals that hears appeals as of right and discretionary appeals. If you have an appeal as of right from the trial court order, you may file a Claim of Appeal. If you do not have the right to file a Claim of Appeal, you may file an Application for Leave to Appeal, which is a request that the Court of Appeals exercise its discretion and hear your appeal. Your appeal must be filed within 42 days of the entry of the order being appealed (often sentencing). There are many documents that must be filed along with your appeal.

Stage 2: Transcript Preparation

Official transcripts reflect all evidence and testimony presented during your pre-trial hearing and trial. Your Michigan appeal lawyer can review these materials to determine if any errors occurred and if decisions were legally sound. It is crucial to work with an experienced attorney who is familiar with Michigan criminal laws and appellate court procedure because you will have to make specific arguments based on problems in the original case. After preparing the transcript, the reporter files it with the Court of Appeals along with a “Notice of Filing Transcript.”

Stage 3: Filing Briefs

You must file a brief in support of your appeal. Your brief, which is a written argument of how the trial court erred and why its order should be reversed, must be filed within 56 days of the Notice of Filing Transcript. The appellee (the prosecutor) gets to file a brief, which may refute your argument that an error occurred or argue that any mistake that occurred at trial did not influence the ultimate decision in your case. After the prosecution files its brief refuting your initial arguments, you will have an opportunity to dispute or “rebut” that refutation.

When you were on trial, the burden of proof was on the prosecution; however, during an appeal, the burden of proof shifts to you to prove that an error occurred at trial. You cannot present new evidence in your appeal arguments. However, you can point out mistakes that the court made. Your brief will include an analysis of the errors that occurred and the legal justification that supports your claim that the lower court’s errors justify reversing the decision. This is a technical process, best handled by an experienced Michigan criminal appeals lawyer.

Stage 4: Oral Argument

Your appeals lawyer gets only 30 minutes to argue the case directly before a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals. The state gets the same amount of time. Oral argument allows you to pinpoint important facts of the case, explain significant issues, and provide answers to any questions the judges may have. Your attorney should have an extensive background in making articulate appellate arguments and distilling the major issues of a case into a persuasive 30-minute presentation.

Stage 5: Decision & Reconsideration

After oral argument, the Court of Appeals will file a written decision. If you disagree with the decision, you can file a Motion for Reconsideration. If that petition is denied, then you can appeal to a higher court with a Petition for Review with the Supreme Court.

What Is a Writ?

Writs are legal remedies that are powerful enough to force courts to act or stop action. They can even facilitate the immediate release of an inmate, order new trials and court proceedings, and correct fundamental errors in a case. A petition for a writ is different from an appeal, which challenges a court judgment or order. A writ is a petition to enforce fundamental rights as stated in the laws of Michigan or the United States.

Types of Writs

Common Writs in Michigan include:

  • Writs of Habeas Corpus: Orders a person or entity in custody of another to bring the person to court and show the legality of the detention.
  • Superintending Control: Replaces writs of prohibition (prohibiting a court from taking some action) and certiorari (ordering a court to take jurisdiction of a case) and enforces the superintending control power of a court over lower courts or tribunals.
  • Writ of Mandamus: Orders a court to take some action.
  • Writ of Quo Warranto: Challenges a person’s right to hold public office.

The purpose of each type of writ and the method for petitioning for one are complex and require the work of a lawyer knowledgeable in the laws of Michigan.

Writ Deadlines

Important Writ Deadlines

There are time limits for filing writs that depend on whether the writ is statutory or a matter of common law (established by prior cases).

Statutory writs are controlled by the statutes, or laws, that create them. Each statute defines a deadline, and failure to file a petition in a timely manner may result in the court denying the petition. You may lose the right to have an important issue reviewed if you fail to meet the deadline.

Common law writs may be issued when courts believe remedies expressly stated by laws have failed. Although no absolute deadlines exist for most common law writs, they should be filed as quickly as possible after the conclusion of a case (typically sentencing). If there is unreasonable delay, a common law writ may be dismissed as well.

Michigan provides different procedures for obtaining different types of writs. The court in which the petition may be filed, the time limits for bringing a petition for a writ, the pleadings allowed (such as the complaint and an answer), and the availability of a hearing are different for the different types of writs. Having an experienced attorney is essential in navigating the court rules regarding writs.

The Writ of Habeas Corpus

The most common post-conviction writ in criminal law is a writ of habeas corpus, which determines if an imprisonment or detention is lawful. Michigan recognizes the right to bring a habeas corpus action in a state court. This type of writ is meant to address whether a person is unlawfully detained; however, it has limitations that are best addressed by an experienced appeals lawyer.

Michigan Writ of Habeas Corpus

Areas Served

Spolin & Dukes P.C. serves clients across the nation.
Michigan All state & federal cases
California All state & federal cases
New York All state & federal cases
Texas All state & federal cases
Nationwide All state & federal cases

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