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Ask Jim Reilly Your Own Question
Jim Reilly
Jim Reilly, Crim Defense Atty
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1804
Experience:  CA Atty since 1976, primarily criminal law. 150+ jury trials.
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I am in Minnesota, My brother was convicted on July 10, 2008

Customer Question

I am in Minnesota, My brother was convicted on July 10, 2008 (he plead guilty on a plea bargain), of 2nd Deg. Murder with intent and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. However, we feel that it was an accident since he and the victim were both under the influence of alcohol, cocaine, and/or marijuana. We also think that there were some legal technicalities, for ex. with his miranda rights, etc., My question is, can he appeal this case and is it worth the time and money involved, do we even have time for an appeal? I mean can the sentence be reduced since it appears that he may have some mental issues (even prior to incident, perhaps from childhood). Do we have any options at this point? If we do, what may be involved as far as time, money, costs, results?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 8 years ago.

Unless he entered a conditional plea, reserving his right to appeal some specific legal issue, he cannot appeal from this plea/sentence. Things like whether he was under the influence, Miranda violations, etc., raise factual issues regading which an appeal is possible only if they are litigated in either a pretrial motion or a trial.


It is extraordinarily unlikely that any appeal would now be successful. A petition for a writ of habeas corpus has a slightly higher chance of success, but still not good unless there is a significant legal issue related to the plea itself.


These issues should have been addressed prior to his plea, which does raise the question of whether he had an attorney and if so whether that attorney adequately represented him with respect to the plea. That is probably the only issue which has any real chance of success.



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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
How can I find out what kind of plea he entered? He had a public defender whom I approached with all kinds of questions prior to sentencing, however, I was not satisfied with his answers, (he only gave me about 15 minutes or so to answer any questions I might have), although I didn't know what to do next. I did start doing some research on that attorney and found out that since the year 2000 he has only done two murder cases with my brother's being the second. He's been in business since around 1987, but I was unable to research his cases prior to 2000. Can you tell me if I need a criminal or civil attorney? And is there a deadline for appealing this case?
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 8 years ago.
You can find out what kind of plea he entered by going to the clerk's office and reviewing the court file.

An appeal must be filed within 90 days in case of a felony conviction. Minn. Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 28.02,

You should consult with a criminal attorney, one who specializes in appeals if at all possible.

The fact that the defense attorney has handled only two murder cases is not, in an of itself, grounds for reversal of the conviction on appeal or, for that matter, a determination that his representation was inadequate. You will have to discuss this in detail with an appeal attorney.

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