Paul D. Cramm

Kansas Criminal Appeals and Appellate Attorney Paul Cramm

Kansas City Criminal Appeals Attorney

If you need to appeal your felony criminal conviction or sentence to the Kansas Court of Appeals, or if you need a petition for further review to the Kansas Supreme Court, contact my Johnson County criminal defense law firm for an initial consultation to discuss the best strategies for your criminal appeal.

The Differences Between Trial and Appeal

Appellate practice is complicated: the deadlines and procedure to properly docket a matter for appeal are entirely different than the procedures involved in handling the case at the district court level. Failure to comply with mandatory deadlines and procedure or failure to document incorporation of essential pleadings, transcripts and evidence into the Record On Appeal (ROA) can result in outright denial of your appeal by the Court of Appeals.

Moreover, understanding the law and identifying potential errors is only the first step in a long and demanding journey through the appellate judicial system. Communicating subtle legal and factual distinctions to the panel in a compelling yet concise manner is a skill few lawyers truly possess.

Preserving the Record and Identifying Issues for Appeal

“Objection you honor!” How many times have those 3 words been uttered on television and in movies? But this Hollywood formality is actually the heart and sole of a successful appeal. In many cases, if the lawyer responsible for trying a criminal case does not verbally interject an objection – at the specific moment the improper question is asked or the prejudicial comment is made – the Court of Appeals will not even consider that issue on appeal.

While trying my own cases, I’m able to control the development of my own record on appeal in order to preserve the most significant errors made by the trial judge or the prosecutor. In handling the appeal of cases defended by other lawyers at the trial court level, I’m able to bring a fresh set of eyes and offer a new perspective to the issues developed and presented during trial. In either case, your appellate brief must be based on a rigorous review of the entire record of the pretrial and trial proceedings, as well as exhaustive legal research of the most recent and current case law.

Among the issues I can consider for assignment of error in a Kansas criminal appeal are the following:

  • Mistakes in rulings on pretrial suppression motions, including motions to dismiss the case outright
  • Errors in evidentiary rulings to admit or reject evidence, including testimony and exhibits
  • Misinterpretations or misapplication of Kansas criminal statutes
  • Prejudicial remarks of prosecutors, court officials, or the trial judge
  • Mistakes in the jury instructions
  • Errors in the application of the sentencing guidelines or the calculation of criminal history

Because it is necessary to show that the errors in pre-trial rulings of the Court or during the course of the trial created actual prejudice or disadvantage to the defendant, appellate counsel must be certain to show exactly why errors during trial court proceedings must result in the reversal of your conviction or the recalculation of your sentence. I present my client’s strongest arguments in a tightly reasoned and clearly presented appellate brief focused on a single objective – demonstrating why my client is entitled to the specific relief requested.

Sample Criminal Appellate Briefs and Appeals

Hiring the Best Attorney for your Criminal Appeal

If you are seeking appellate counsel, ask to see copies of briefs that the lawyer has filed in previous cases. Remember, how a given appellate panel may or may not have ruled on any gives issue is not always an accurate or fair way to gauge an attorney’s ability. Read the lawyer’s appellate briefs.  Are there typographical errors? Are there inconsistencies in simple things like indentation, format and capitalization? Are the briefs well written? Do the lawyer’s arguments make sense – even to a reader without a legal background?

If you have been convicted of a crime and are seeking appellate counsel for your criminal appeal, do not wait: there are time deadlines associated with filing mandatory pleadings associated with your appeal and failure to meet these deadlines can result in outright dismissal.

I encourage you to contact my law office today to discuss your case and to discuss the best legal strategy to prepare the strongest appeal of your criminal conviction. Call today to schedule a consultation: (913) 322-3265.

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