Filing an appeal is a very technical process filled with harsh rules and arbitrary deadlines. Some courts will reject an appeal if you use the wrong color paper.
Additionally, there are few attorneys who will readily admit that they did a poor job in a particular case. You need the law on your side, but you also need facts to back up your claims.
I charge two different fees for appeals. The first is a "lay of the land" fee, that covers figuring out what happened and if there's anything there to appeal. I get copies of the client's file from the court and from the trial attorney. I read the transcripts from the court hearings. I talk to the client and his trial attorney. I look into the law a bit if I need to make sure we can make a claim. All this is to get a sense of the lay of the land--and what we need to do in the appeal.
The second fee is the appeal fee. For that, I fully research the law, draft the appeal, and conduct any appeal hearings (often, instead of directly appealing a judgment, we ask the court for a new trial and then appeal that if we get denied).
Some appeals are pretty straightforward, and those obviously cost less. I'm working on one now where the prosecutor commented on my client's silence during closing argument. This is a big violation--we all have a constitutional right to remain silent throughout the trial and not have it held against us. The trial attorney filed a placeholder motion for new trial to stop the appeal clock, so all we have to do is ask for a hearing date and argue this violation in front of the trial judge.
Other appeals are more complex. One of my other clients is appealing a guilty plea from 15 years ago because it's affecting his immigration status now. Not only do we have to find something wrong with the plea--which I think we have, but that's for another blog post--but we also have to sue the government instead of appealing the conviction.
If you'd like to talk about appealing your conviction, give me a call at 404-909-7795. I'd be happy to chat about what happened and see if we can work together.