posted 2017 | State v. JS (Duval County)
Once again, this is the perfect example of how an experienced criminal appellate lawyer makes a difference! The client was convicted of second degree murder and conspiracy to commit armed robbery in Jacksonville. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison. After looking for a great appellate attorney, his parents decided to hire Mr. Forman. After reviewing the transcripts, Mr. Forman discovered something that nether the judge, prosecutor or defense counsel noticed – that the conspiracy offense could not be used in order to conviction for second degree felony murder. Because defense counsel did not notice and failed to object, Mr. Forman was forced to rely on the dreaded fundamental error standard, a very difficult appellate standard of review.
Despite having to overcome this standard, Mr. Forman was able to convince the court to vacate the murder conviction and ordered a new trial! Since the conspiracy conviction remained intact, the client is entitled to be re-sentenced. This is critical because the trial judge wanted to give a less harsh sentence, but he was forced to give the 22 years because it was the minimum allowed by law. It is unknown whether the client will go to trial or try to negotiate the plea offer given before trial, which was only 3 years in prison. Again, this was another successful appeal where Mr. Forman noticed an error that no else knew existed, not even the judge. Since this just happened, an update will be posted.