GEORGIA APPEALS LAWYER CAN SAVE YOUR LOST CASE
If you have already lost your case, you still may be able to rescue it if you act immediately. The process of appealing a civil or criminal case is extremely complicated and requires an additional set of skills beyond what is needed in the trial court. It is therefore highly recommended that you get a new lawyer for your appeal. An appellate attorney will pick apart the record of your case to find any appealable issues and will exploit every detail in the law to articulate those issues in a written brief. Whatever has happened in your case so far, Rhein Law LLC can offer the fresh perspective and creative legal analysis that may yet save your case.
ATLANTA LAWYER OPENS JUDGMENTS AND WINS CASES ON APPEAL
Our attorney Jacob D. Rhein is a superb appellate advocate with a proven track record of success in all levels of Georgia’s court system. He handles a wide variety of post-judgment proceedings, including motions for new trial, motions to open default judgments, motions to vacate void judgments, civil appeals, and felony appeals.
Rhein’s greatest strength as an attorney is his ability to come into a distressed case as the “second lawyer” and find a way forward. Rhein has even won cases where the opposing attorney laughed his arguments up until the last moment, when the court AGREED with Rhein and ruled in his client’s favor.
NEVER DELAY AN APPEAL
Even the best appellate lawyer cannot help you if you miss the opportunity to appeal. Call us today to preserve your appellate rights.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
January 13, 2020. Matthew Doyle v. State, S19A1005. (murder)
The Supreme Court of Georgia unanimously grants new trial to man convicted of murdering a security guard in Fulton County during a drive-by shooting with an AK-47 assault rifle. Rhein entered the case as the third lawyer on appeal and successfully argued “plain error” in failing to charge the jury on the requirement of accomplice corroboration. No previous lawyer had raised the issue. The opinion of the Georgia Supreme Court is available here. A video of Rhein’s oral argument on August 6, 2019, is available here.
June 11, 2019. Zephaniah v. Georgia Clinic, P.C., A19A0694. (personal injury)
The Georgia Court of Appeals reverses dismissal of pro se complaint by woman injured by a phlebotomist during a routine blood draw at her doctor’s office. The trial court had dismissed the complaint because the plaintiff pleaded her case as “medical malpractice” but failed to include a required affidavit of a medical expert. On appeal, Rhein argued that the complaint stated a claim for simple negligence and battery rather than medical malpractice, because a phlebotomist is not a medical professional and the plaintiff’s complaint alleged lack of informed consent. The Court of Appeals agreed. The opinion of the Georgia Court of Appeals is available here.
March 5, 2019. Darnell Nolley v. State, A18A2087. (possession of drugs)
The Georgia Court of Appeals vacates order denying defendant’s motion to withdraw a guilty plea to felony drug charges for ineffective assistance of counsel. Rhein entered the case as the third lawyer for the defendant, and argued that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to hear the defendant’s motion due to a procedural error. The Court of Appeals agreed with Rhein and remanded the case for a new hearing on defendant’s motion to withdraw his plea.
July 24, 2018. Omari Smith v. State, S18A1240. (murder)
The Georgia Supreme Court remands murder appeal to the trial court for hearing on ineffective assistance of counsel. The defendant’s former lawyer had lost the case at trial and filed a weak appellate brief without asking whether the client wanted him to continue the representation. Rhein entered the case as the second lawyer and asked the Georgia Supreme Court to remand the case for an evidentiary hearing on ineffective assistance of trial counsel. The Georgia Supreme Court granted the motion and remanded the case, effectively allowing the defendant to redo his appeal.
Progressive Premier Insurance Co. of Illinois v. Kwame Banahene (motion to set aside default)
Trial court sets aside judgment against defendant after three years of collections efforts. Insurance company had sued defendant in subrogation for car accident and obtained a default judgment, resulting in a suspended drivers license and thousands of dollars of debt. The defendant found Rhein three years later. Rhein promptly filed a motion to set aside the judgment for want of jurisdiction due to a hidden procedural error. The trial court agreed and vacated the judgment, relieving the client of liability and reinstating the client’s suspended driver’s license.
We handle civil and criminal (felony) appeals in the Georgia Court of Appeals and Georgia Supreme Court. We also handle a wide variety of procedures allowing relief from judgment in the trial court, including the following:
- Motions to open default
- Motions to vacate a void judgment based on lack of service or lack of jurisdiction
- Motions to reconsider an unjust ruling
- Motions to set aside and reenter an order due to clerical error
- Motions for out of time appeal
- Motions for new trial based on ineffective assistance of counsel
- De novo trials from magistrate court appeals
Because of the amount of research involved, it can be very difficult for clients to budget for an appeal. We typically solve this problem by dividing our fees into two stages. First, we charge a flat fee to conduct a formal review your case, based on the number of pages in the record to be reviewed. We will then propose a flat fee or hourly fee to prepare and file the appellate brief.
An appeal is usually not a “do over.” Instead, an appellate court reviews the record that was created in the trial court and defers to any factual findings made by the trial judge. If the appellate court decides that the trial court made a mistake, the case will usually be sent back down to the trial court so that the mistake can be corrected.
The power of an appellate court is limited. For this reason, it is often necessary to perfect a record in the trial court before proceeding to appeal. Perfecting the record may include filing a post-trial motion so that the trial judge has a chance to address any mistakes before the case goes up on appeal. If a person fails to make a record of a mistake in the trial court, the issue may be waived on appeal.
Most issues cannot be appealed until the trial court enters a final judgment deciding the entire case. But there are exceptions to this rule. An appeal argued before the end of trial is called an “interlocutory appeal.” For instance, if the trial court holds a party in contempt during trial, that party may immediately seek appellate review. Orders granting or denying an injunction can also be appealed immediately in most cases.
In most cases, a notice of appeal must be filed in the trial court within 30 days after a final judgment or order. Failure to file a notice of appeal may waive a party’s rights to appellate review.
Motions attacking a judgment usually must be brought within three years of the judgment complained offer. The court has the most discretion to change its judgment during the same term of court in which the judgment was entered.
If you believe you have grounds to appeal your case, you should contact a Georgia appellate lawyer as soon as possible.