Appeals & Post-Conviction

Appeals & Post-Conviction

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Appellate Oral Argument.

Little is ever written about how an attorney should handle oral arguments in the appellate courts.  And the one and only answer will not be provided here because there is no consensus.  But after arguing appeals for well over twenty years, I can safely opine a few tips:  Presume the judges on the panel have all become quite familiar with the facts of the case, and the issues being raised.  (They have law clerks who distill all of the briefing for them, and send them in with "cheat sheets" and memos.)  Try scrapping the formalities and the introductory remarks.  (These are simply time-wasters.  Remember, you'll be "on the clock" because oral arguments at this level are time-constrained.)  Avoid arguing anything already written in your brief, as this will cause your judges to lose interest, as they've already read the briefs.  (Never say, "As I argued on page XX of my brief. . . . ")  Instead, in the time between briefing and oral argument, occasionally re-read your brief and that of your opponent, and keep a list of ideas that are new and which have popped up during this interim.  These are the Golden Nuggets which can make or break your case with a judge that may have already been leaning against you.  A new twist on the old argument is precisely what can change a set mind.

If you have a family member or friend whose lengthy sentence was based at least in part on prior convictions, or if you are a lawyer seeking assistance with an appeal or post-conviction matter, please call this office immediately.  There are always time deadlines limiting when these claims can be raised.  If you wish to learn more about the process, call now.

Jonathan Laurans wants you to be educated as to what you may be facing.  If you or a loved one has been convicted of a crime in Missouri, Kansas or Texas, or in any federal court, contact him immediately.  Visit his website at and then call him at (816) 421-5200 for a FREE initial legal consultation.

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