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Nashville Appellate


Nashville Appeals Lawyer

If you are convicted of a crime in Tennessee or Kentucky, it may not be the end of your options. I am attorney Patrick T. McNally, and I am prepared to help you continue your fight for freedom, even after a conviction. With more than 35 years of experience in criminal defense and appellate matters, I have the knowledge and resources to move your case toward a positive outcome.

I am the founding partner of one of the leading criminal defense firms in Nashville, Weatherly, McNally & Dixon, P.L.C. I understand the complexities of the appellate process. Whether you are filing an appeal on the state or federal level, my experience and close knowledge of appellate law can benefit you.

An Appeal Is Different From a Trial

proceedings and involves a completely different objective. A trial typically arises from a dispute among people, businesses, or other entities. Before the trial begins, both parties submit a brief summation of their arguments and evidence to the court. Once the trial is in session, the two parties take turns presenting the court with an outline of their case. Next, both parties must present the court with their evidence, which is then followed by a rebuttal. The two parties finish by delivering their closing statements to the court. The judge then instructs the jury on what laws are to be applied to the case. The jury deliberates and finally reaches a verdict.

An appeal is something totally different. Individuals or businesses typically file an appeal when the trial’s verdict did not go in their favor. The purpose of an appeal is not to reopen the case and begin arguing the same evidence again. Instead, it is to prove there were legal errors in the trial proceedings. While a trial looks at facts and evidence, an appeals court looks at details of legality. If an appeal council can effectively prove there were errors in the way the trial was handled, the results of the trial can be reversed in your favor.

In a trial, the outcome is determined based on the facts that were argued. The goal of a trial is to convince the jury that someone was right and someone else was wrong. In an appeal case, on the other hand, the aim is to convince the appeals judge that legal errors or technicalities in the court proceedings of the previous trial affected the results of the trial. The judge, not the jury, reviews the evidence and arguments submitted by the appellate lawyer. It is the appellate court’s job to review the material of your appeal hearing by looking for legal errors only, to decide whether the trial court followed the rules of law during your trial.

Why Hire an Experienced Appellate Lawyer?

Because the purpose and proceedings of an appeal are so different from a trial, it stands to reason that the skill sets required to effectively argue an appeal are valuable and unique. There are many reasons why you should hire an experienced appeals lawyer rather than the attorney who tried the case. 

Choosing to file an appeal is an important step toward ensuring your freedom and should be handled with care and expertise. It’s important to remember that filing an appeal is not an opportunity to retry a case. There are several reasons why you should choose an appellate lawyer for your appeal.

Appellate Lawyers Have Fresh Eyes

The attorney who tried the case initially mostly likely knows the arguments and evidence inside out. Unfortunately, their extensive knowledge of the case could actually cloud their judgment and make it difficult for them to look at legal technicalities objectively. Anyone who spends too much time reading and re-reading the same text repeatedly can develop blind spots to the material, overlooking crucial components.

Your trial attorney might miss important elements of legal proceedings that could be used when filing an appeal because they are too busy looking at the arguments, evidence, and rebuttals in your case. A lawyer who regularly practices in the appellate court has a specific skill set, enabling them to focus on the legalities and details of the court proceedings. Your appellate lawyer is able to spot any legal errors that may arise in court and treat them accordingly. 

An Appellate Lawyer Knows What to Appeal

A courtroom trial and pre-trial affords room for mistakes and errors, but not all of them are going to be convincing or useful in filing an appeal. It’s the job of your appellate lawyer to be able to look at these errors with objectivity and choose to present the appeal court with the most.

Appellate Lawyers Keep it Brief

An appellate lawyer is skilled in brevity, which is important when filing an appeal. An appeals court is a very busy place, and appeals judges are often busy with many cases. An experienced appellate lawyer knows how to choose only the best and most persuasive arguments and knows how to present them with brevity and clarity. 

Avoid Waiver Pitfalls

The rules and proceedings of an appeal hearing have many waiver pitfalls that can cause your appeal to be dismissed before even making it to the court. An attorney who is inexperienced or unfamiliar with the appeals court may be unaware of the appellate judges' precise specifications and preferences when it comes to filing court documents and briefs. Formatting and other errors often cause judges to dismiss the appeal before even hearing the legal arguments.

An experienced appellate lawyer is familiar with the appellate judge’s preference. An appellate attorney is more likely to:

  • Gauge the most effective arguments to put forward.
  • Submit properly formatted documentation and a well-written brief that will lend credibility to your case.
  • Make sure your appeal is not unfairly dismissed before reaching the courtroom.

What Does It Take to Win an Appeal?

An appeal is about more than just paperwork. There must be a clear reason for a state or federal court to consider an appeal of a case. This includes a violation of your rights to due processes such as ineffective counsel, problems with the instructions to the jury, or other factors that could have impacted the outcome of your case. I will thoroughly research your case and develop a strategy that is effective at assisting you in securing the relief you deserve.

My record of success with appeals and post-conviction relief extends to courts throughout Tennessee and Kentucky, including the highest courts in both states. I have also successfully appealed a case before the United States Supreme Court. Your success in your appeals case depends largely upon the experience and skill of the attorney you choose — I have the ability to be a strong advocate for you and to help you navigate this complex process.

When to Hire an Appellate Lawyer

Appellate lawyers are not only useful during an appeal. Hiring an appellate lawyer can be greatly beneficial during your trial, too. When an appellate lawyer is working on your trial counsel, they can make sure that all potential opportunities for future appeal are being raised and recorded throughout the case. While your trial council is working hard to present sound arguments that will win your trial, they may become distracted by discoveries, pleadings, new evidence, and trial and pre-trial proceedings to be aware of possible issues for appeal.

If the issue wasn’t raised during the trial, the appellate court won’t consider it when filing an appeal. During your trial, your appellate lawyer will work tirelessly to identify, raise, and record all possible issues that could be used later in an appeal. Ideally, the court will rule in your favor and you will not need an appeal. Unfortunately, there is lots of room for error during trial proceedings, and appeals are often necessary. Therefore, having an experienced appellate lawyer on your side from the beginning can enhance your chances of having a successful appeal if the initial trial does not go your way.

Should You Appeal? Schedule Your Free Initial Consultation First

My firm is proud to offer free initial case evaluations for those seeing appeals in Tennessee and Kentucky. If you are considering an appeal and are facing a trial and wish to have an appellate lawyer in your trial council, I can explain both your rights and the legal options available to you. By calling toll free at 800-785-9546 or locally 615-200-9559, you can make an appointment or contact the law office here.

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Criminal charges are a direct threat to your personal freedom and future opportunities. There is much at stake, but you have the right to confront these charges with a strong defense. I am proud to offer free initial case evaluations, and you can schedule yours by reaching out to my law office or calling 615-200-9559 or toll free at 800-785-9546.
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