Florida Criminal Appeals and Post-Conviction
Former Prosecutor with 27 Years of Experience
Appeals Lawyer
Former Prosecutor with 27 Years of Experience
Appeals Lawyer

posted 2015 | J.B. v. State

Client and her husband were arrested, charged and convicted of felony aggravated child abuse.  Although the husband was able to get his conviction reversed on appeal, our client’s conviction was repeatedly affirmed and left undisturbed by the appellate court.  The client recognized that she was getting pushed around by the legal system and was referred to Mr. Forman for help.

After filing a motion in circuit court, Mr. Forman brought the matter to the Fourth District Court of Appeal on a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in order to correct a manifest injustice.  After filing all of the briefs, the appellate court agreed with Mr. Forman, reversed the conviction and sentence and ordered that all of the charges be forever dismissed!  Client was thrilled that her name was finally cleared!

posted 2015| W.B. v. State

The client was arrested and charged with attempted trafficking in oxycodone.  Under the advice of his trial lawyer, he entered a plea and was sentenced to probation.  The client was doing well and was residing in a residential treatment program. However, he ultimately relapsed and admitted to using drugs.  The residential program had to inform his probation officer that the client tested dirty and he was violated. After he was violated, the client continued with treatment and desired treatment.

Nevertheless, the trial court found that the client violated his probation and he was sentenced to 3 years mandatory prison sentence. Mr. Forman was hired and argued on appeal that the client’s violation was not willful and substantial. The Fourth District Court of Appeal agreed and reversed and vacated his sentence!  The appellate court found that relapse is a part of rehabilitation and that the client, who wanted treatment and who actively participated, did not violate the terms of his probation.  This case was so important due to the frequency that this occurs in Circuit Court that Mr. Forman frequently gets phone calls from other lawyers!

posted 2015 | G.P. v. State (criminal appeal)

This is an example of how choosing an experienced criminal appellate attorney makes the difference between winning and losing. The client entered an open plea and was sentenced to 20 years in prison for violating his probation for sex offenses.  He was represented by a respected criminal trial attorney.  The client filed his own pro-se motion to withdraw his plea alleging that his plea to the violations were not voluntarily entered.  The trial court denied his motion and he filed an appeal.  He was represented by a public defender for the appeal.

The public defender, an experienced criminal appellate attorney, filed an Anders brief with the appellate court and moved to withdraw as attorney of record.  An Anders brief is filed to inform the court that the attorney reviewed the record on appeal and has determined that no errors occurred. The client’s family hired Mr. Forman, who informed them that he disagreed with the former lawyer.  Mr. Forman advised them that he believed that the trial court was wrong when it denied the client’s motion. Mr. Forman filed his own brief in the case and the Fourth District Court of Appeal agreed and reversed the denial of the motion to withdraw plea.  This is just another example of Mr. Forman finding an error that other lawyers overlook or simply are not familiar with criminal appellate law.

posted 2015 | D.A. v. State (criminal appeal)

Client was charged with domestic violence battery in Miami-Dade County. She was represented by a well known criminal defense attorney.  She elected to go to trial, but she was convicted by the jury.  She was sentenced to jail followed by probation.  The client hired Mr. Forman to handle the direct appeal.  Mr. Forman spoke to the trial attorney in order to find out if any possible reversible errors took place.  No surprisingly, the trial attorney thought that no errors took place.

Of course, Mr. Forman never relies on the trial lawyer to make a determination of which issues to raise on appeal.  After carefully reviewing the appellate transcripts, Mr. Forman identified what he thought was a very strong issue – that the trial court erroneously denied the jury the ability read transcripts without giving proper advice.  Mr. Forman filed the appeal and the three judge appellate panel agreed and reversed the conviction and vacated the sentence.  The client was awarded a new trial, but instead, she entered and completed a diversion program, resulting in her case being dismissed!  The client, who was not a citizen, was ecstatic because she avoided major immigration issues.

posted 2015 | State V. A.O (appeal/3.850)

Client was a clerk at a convenient store who shot and paralyzed an angry patron who threatened to do harm to the clerk.  The client went to trial with another attorney and was found guilty of attempted 1st degree murder.  He was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Mr. Forman was hired to do the appeal.  Mr. Forman found several issues on appeal, but they were not objected to by the client’s trial attorney.  Although the appellate court agreed with Mr. Forman, the court determined not to reverse the judgment and sentence because trial counsel did not preserve the issues for appeal. 

However, while handling the appeal, Mr. Forman formulated a game plan for filing a 3.850 motion for post conviction relief. Mr. Forman discovered that the listed victim committed perjury by using a false name throughout the proceedings.  This amounted to perjury and would add extra leverage to the 3.850.  After advising the State of his intent to file the 3.850 motion, a meeting took place with the prosecutor.  After several discussions, Mr. Forman was able to get the client’s sentence reduced to only 8 years in prison with credit for time served, followed by probation.  The client was released February 2015.

posted 2015 | G.D. v. State (appeal)

Client was convicted by a jury of battery on a law enforcement officer, attempted burglary, grand theft and possession of burglary tools. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison as a habitual felony offender.  Mr. Forman was hired to handle the appeal.  When reviewing the appellate record, Mr. Forman immediately recognized that the trial court improperly relied on the client’s lack of remorse and claim of innocence when he was sentenced to 20 years in prison. This obvious error was overlooked by the client’s trial lawyer.  After filing the appellate briefs, the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed and ordered that the client be re-sentenced by the trial court.  Pleased with the result, Mr. Forman was also hired by the family to handle the re-sentencing.  After having a full sentencing hearing,  Mr. Forman was able to convince the court to sentence the client to only 5 years!  The client, who already had a substantial amount of time served, was extremely happy and was released in less than 18 months.

posted 2015| State v. R.J.

Client was arrested and charged with felony grand theft for stealing parts from a boat. The client filed a sworn motion to dismiss alleging that he did not have the intent to steal because he believed that he was entitled to the boat parts under the good faith doctrine.  The trial court granted the motion to dismiss. Mr. Forman was hired to handle the appeal for the client.  Even though a defendant’s intent is generally not allowed to be raised in a motion to dismiss, the appellate court agreed with Mr. Forman and upheld the dismissal!  All charges were dismissed and the client was happy.

posted 2015 | City of Hollywood v. E.A. (appeal)

This decision created havoc with almost every city throughout the State of Florida. It was all over the media because it involved red light cameras and potentially millions of dollars. It also resulted in numerous class action lawsuits, including one filed by Mr. Forman as co-counsel. Here is what happened.  A county court judge determined that ATS, the for profit corporation located in Arizona who operated the red light camera program, was unlawfully being used by the City of Hollywood in violation of state statute. The City of Hollywood appealed to the Fourth District Court of Appeal and hired a powerful law firm to handle the appeal.  Mr. Forman was hired by the biggest ticket law firm in the state to handle the appeal.  Cities all over the State paid close attention to this case because similar procedures were also being used.

After all the briefs were submitted to the appellate court, the court, in a 2 to 1 decision, reversed the decision of the trial court.  The city thought that they had successfully won the appeal, which would save potentially millions of dollars. However, Mr. Forman was not ready to give up on the appeal and had an idea. He filed a motion for rehearing and tried to convince the same appellate court that they were wrong, certainly a difficult task.  Several months later, despite opposition by the City, the Fourth District Court reversed itself and granted the motion for rehearing!  The City appealed this to the Florida Supreme Court, but their request for review was denied. Numerous cities all over the state were forced to shut down their similar red light camera programs, some were shut down permanently!  Mr. Forman’s persistence certainly paid off! Recently, Broward county alone dismissed over 24,000 red light camera citations.

posted 2015 | E.W. v. State (appeal)

Client was charged in career criminal court with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.  The client was represented by another lawyer and after a jury trial, he was sentenced to 30 years in prison.  Mr. Forman was referred the case by his trial attorney who knew that Mr. Forman regularly handled criminal appeals.  The trial attorney mentioned a few issues that she thought that Mr. Forman could raise, but she informed him that it “was a clean trial”.  Mr. Forman was hired and completed his thorough “audit” of the record.  As a result of his efforts, Mr. Forman found a hidden gem within the instructions read to the jury.  Although neither trial counsel, the prosecutor, nor the judge observed the error, Mr. Forman recognized that the trial court used the word “and” instead of “or” while instructing the jury on self-defense.  The Fourth District Court of Appeal agreed and reversed and vacated the client’s conviction and 30 year sentence!  There is no substitute for an experienced criminal appellate attorney!

posted 2015 | W.T. v. State (appeal)

This appeal is the perfect example of how important it is to have a persistent and experienced criminal appellate lawyer on your side. The United States Supreme Court rendered an opinion in a case called Graham v. Florida, which held that an offender under 18 years of age cannot be sentenced to life in prison.  The client was a 15 year old boy charged with attempted first degree murder for kicking and head stomping a girl after being taunted about his deceased brother. His trial attorney asked the court to release him on bond because the language of the Florida Constitution, in light of the new Graham decision, required that he be given pre-trial bail as a matter of right.  The trial court denied the motion and Mr. Forman was hired to file a Writ of Habeas Corpus seeking his release from the appellate court.  The appellate court denied the appeal. 

However, Mr. Forman subsequently learned that the appellate court, in an unpublished order, reached a different result in another case.  Mr. Forman filed a second Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus seeking pre-trial bail on behalf of the boy. The Fourth District Court of Appeal, the appellate court who handled the appeal, recognized that it improperly granted the writ in the other case and entered an opinion denying bail once again in this case.  Determined that he was correct, Mr. Forman filed an appeal before the Florida Supreme Court and won! As a result, the law in the entire State of Florida was changed and all juveniles charged with non-homicide offenses were entitled to bail as a matter of right! You may have heard about this ruling in the media.

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