Former Prosecutor with over 23 years of experience

Appellate Case Results

Since its inception in 2000, the Law Offices of Jason T. Forman has achieved successful results for their clients. Of course, what is deemed a successful outcome depends on the facts and circumstances of each individual case, as well as the needs of each client. This page contains only a small sample of the successful results that Mr. Forman was able to achieve for his clients over the years. Results may not be typical and you may not have as beneficial as a result. Also, the date that the case result posted may not be the date that the case was resolved. Nevertheless, we will certainly do everything that we legally can do to achieve your desired goal!

55 Appellate Case Results

Post-Conviction Motion – Burglary Sentence Reduced!

posted 2019 | State v. R.A. (Lake County)

Victory comes in many forms when handling a motion for post-conviction relief. Some clients want a full exoneration and a new trial, while others simply realize their case is unwinnable and want a sentence reduction. Mr. Forman always tries to create options for his clients so that they are not limited to one possible outcome. However, prosecutors will usually not agree to anything unless you have strong claims and invoke a fear that they will lose.

Here, the client had multiple burglary cases in Lake County. He was offered a 4 year global plea offer to resolve all of the cases, but based on the advice of his trial lawyer, he rejected the plea offer. He went to trial on one burglary case and was given 10 years in prison. He then subsequently took a 5 year plea offer on the remaining two cases.

Mr. Forman was hired and filed a motion for post-conviction alleging eight grounds of ineffective representation. After a lengthy period of time, the trial judge granted an evidentiary hearing for each ground. Because the client accepted the 5 year plea offers, the client was trying to lower the 10 year sentence to 5 years. Unfortunately, the prosecutor was the same tough prosecutor who handled the trial, but the judge was even tougher.

After many months of negotiations, the prosecutor agreed to reduce the client’s sentence by a few years if he agreed to drop the motion. The client talked to his family and decided to take the sure thing and reduce his sentence. The client was re-sentenced and eagerly waits his release.

Capital Sexual Battery Life Sentence Reversed on Appeal!

posted 2018 | JW v. State (Polk County)

This complicated case is another example of the importance of hiring an experienced appellate lawyer! Two life sentences were reversed and the client’s confession was excluded. The client was originally arrested in 2006 and charged with capital sexual battery on a minor. Despite the fact that the client had an intellectual disability, he was questioned by law enforcement and eventually admitted to the crime. Due to his disability, his case was dismissed by the court per Florida Statute.

However, in 2014, the state decided to refile the charges against the client. His¬†interrogation was somewhat unusual and defense counsel believed that the client was unable to understand his Miranda warnings. Defense counsel filed a motion to exclude his confession at trial, but it was denied by the trial court. Defense counsel presented an expert at the hearing that talked about the client’s inability to understand Miranda warnings, but the court still believed that the client understood the rights that he gave up.

The client proceeded to trial and he was convicted. The judge sentenced him to the mandatory life sentence for each count. His father then hired Mr. Forman to represent the client on appeal. While reviewing the documents, Mr. Forman realized that the trial court did not give much weight to the client’s intellectual disability when considering whether to allow his confession at trial. This was primarily due to his trial lawyer’s failure to aggressively and properly present the court with the multiple competency evaluations that were done after his arrest. In fact, these critical evaluations were not contained in the record on appeal because they were part of the 2006 case, not the refiled 2014 case.

After a lengthy process, Mr. Forman was able to find these critical documents and requested that the attorney general allow Mr. Forman to use these documents by adding them to the record on appeal. The state agreed, which allowed Mr. Forman to make this his primary basis for appeal. Without the discovery of these documents, Mr. Forman would not have prevailed on appeal. These documents were so critical that the three judge appellate panel unanimously relied on them when they reversed the client’s two life sentences! Without a doubt, most lawyers would have overlooked these critical evaluations from the old 2006 case in defending the re-filed case 2014 case. Needless to say, the client and his father are thrilled with the results!

Belated Discretionary Review Granted Florida Supreme Court!

posted 2018 | J.B. v. State (Broward)

This case is still pending in the Florida Supreme Court, but it took a hard fought battle simply to have the opportunity to seek appellate review. It took a clever argument by Mr. Forman to persuade the Court that they should allow the client to seek review in these unusual circumstances.

Client was convicted of over 100 pornography related charges and was sentenced to over 500 years in prison. On appeal, the appellate court vacated the 100 convictions, but found that the issue regarding the search warrant did not require reversal. His appellate attorney filed a motion for rehearing in the appellate court, but it was denied.

Surprisingly, the client’s appellate attorney told the client’s family that there was nothing else to do and that the appeal was over. However, they could have sought review in the Florida Supreme Court. After the time to seek review had expired, Mr. Forman was hired to file a petition to seek belated discretionary review asking the Florida Supreme Court to make an exception in his case due to the misadvise of appellate counsel.

The attorney general’s office, as well as the client’s former appellate attorney, fought the client’s request and urged the court to deny the petition because the client never asked to appeal the matter further. Technically, they were correct under the rules. However, Mr. Forman came up with a clever argument that was normally used in the context of the denial of a motion for post-conviction relief. Despite the resistance from the state, Mr. Forman won and the court¬†granted¬†the petition! The case is now pending and the client is waiting to see if the court will agree to hear his case.

Burglary and battery reversal on appeal (update).

posted 2018 State v. R.S.

After successfully reversing his client’s burglary conviction and sentence on appeal, Mr. Forman was hired to represent his client at the trial court level. Because the burglary was based upon a battery offense, Mr. Forman decided to file a Stand Your Ground Motion seeking to place the burden on the state to prove that his client did not act in self-defense.¬† The new standard changed while the case was on appeal. After months of hard work, Mr. Forman was able to convince the prosecutor to drop the felony charge and allow his client to plead no contest to one count of misdemeanor battery with credit for time served.¬† The client simply walked into court and left without any probation or additional jail time.¬† The client and his family were extremely grateful for the excellent result!

Murder conviction reversed on appeal (update)

posted 2018 | State v. JS (Duval County)

This came back to the trial court after Mr. Forman was able to vacate the second degree felony murder conviction and 22 year prison sentence. After handling the appeal, Mr. Forman was also retained to handle the trial in Duval County. Although the conspiracy charge was still intact, Mr. Forman knew that a motion for post-conviction relief could be filed in order to challenge the improper application of the principals instruction to the conspiracy offense, which would result in a new trial on that offense as well.

Before filing the motion, Mr. Forman made a strategic decision to postpone filing this motion and pursue a different course of action. While reading the deposition of a crucial state witness, Mr. Forman quickly recognized an affirmative defense that former trial counsel obviously did not – abandonment. Mr. Forman filed a sworn motion to dismiss asserting this defense, which, although not perfect, presented a significant problem for the state.

Filing the motion to dismiss provided the leverage that the client needed for a successful result in his case. Instead of serving 22 years in prison, Mr. Forman was able to resolve the case and the client will be released in June 2018 followed by probation! The client’s prison sentence was reduced by 17 years!

Denial of appellate bond reversed on appeal!

posted 2017 | A.C. v State (Manatee County)

Client was charged with traveling to meet a minor for illegal sexual activity. He entered an open plea and was sentenced to 21 months in prison, but he wanted to appeal his case.¬† Client hired Mr. Forman who, because his client’s sentence was relatively short, filed a motion to have the client released on an appellate bond until the appeal was completed. The trial court denied the request for bond finding that the issue on appeal was not “fairly debatable” – which is the threshold requirement for this type of bond.

Mr. Forman knew that the trial court wrongly decided the request for bond and convinced the client to appeal this decision. After filing the appeal, which was opposed by the attorney general’s office, the appellate court¬†agreed with Mr. Forman and¬†granted¬†the appeal! A hearing has been set to set the terms of his release.¬† Client and the family are obviously happy with this small, but important step in the right direction.

Burglary and battery conviction reversed on appeal!

posted 2017 | S.P. v. State

A terrific victory which was won solely because of excellent lawyering and vast knowledge of the confusing self-defense laws. The client was charged with committing burglary and misdemeanor battery.¬† The client was charged with burglary for entering his neighbor’s residence during a fight, which was the battery charge. At trial, defense counsel argued that the client acted in self-defense and was entitled to rely on this defense for both offenses. The trial court only allowed the jury to be instructed with self-defense for the misdemeanor battery offense.

The jury rejected this defense, the client was convicted and he was sentenced to prison. Mr. Forman was hired on appeal and informed the client and his family that he was concerned that the rejection of the self-defense for the battery offense would result in a finding of harmless error on appeal.  In other words, even if the court improperly denied the request for the jury instruction, the jury would have nevertheless convicted the client since they did not find that the client acted in self-defense for the battery offense.

However, while reviewing the record, Mr. Forman noticed that the instruction given to the jury was erroneous because it contained an extra comma Рan error that was previously recognized by appellate courts throughout the state.  Neither the trial judge, the prosecutor, nor defense counsel noticed this small detail.

As a result of this error, Mr. Forman was able to convince the three judge appellate court to¬†reverse¬†the client’s conviction and prison sentence and grant a new trial. Mr. Forman argued that the erroneous instruction could have resulted in the rejection of the defense by the jury and therefore, the error in denying the instruction was not harmless.¬† Without Mr. Forman’s ability to recognize that the instruction had an additional comma, then the court would have denied the appeal. Obviously, the client and his family are happy with the result!¬† Just another example of how important it is to hire the right appellate lawyer, not just any lawyer.

Disqualification of lawyer reversed on appeal!

posted 2017 | Oil, LLC  v. Stamax CORP.

Other lawyers know who to reach out to when they need a great appellate lawyer to represent them. Although almost all of his appeals are criminal appeals, Mr. Forman is often asked to to assist in all types of matters and once again, he delivered! Mr. Forman was hired to represent a lawyer in a civil case who was successfully removed from acting as the lawyer for his corporate client.  This left the client without the lawyer of his choice. It also was costly to the lawyer.

The trial court disqualified counsel on the basis that counsel learned confidential information from the other party to the lawsuit whom he represented when the parties worked together before the lawsuit. ¬†The trial court found that once the other party sought counsel’s help, this formed an attorney/client relationship where confidential information was shared.

Mr. Forman made several arguments to the court, including the obvious one Рthat there was no attorney/client privilege because both parties were in the room when counsel was being consulted. The three judge appellate panel agreed with Mr. Forman and reversed the disqualification of counsel.  To the dismay of opposing counsel, trial counsel was back on the case!

Second degree murder conviction vacated on appeal!

posted 2017 | B.H. v. State (Update)

The client, along with two other boys, were arrested and charged with second degree murder and two counts of attempted second degree murder.  All three defendants were convicted and sentenced to prison. The client was sentenced to 30 years in prison. The client filed an appeal seeking a new trial based upon defective jury instructions.  The appellate court denied the appeal.  No motion for rehearing was filed.

However, the co-defendant, whose appeal was completed after the client’s appeal, did receive the benefit of the erroneous jury instruction.¬† His case was pending before the Florida Supreme Court.¬† Mr. Forman was hired by the Client’s family to handle the case even though the appellate process had already been exhausted. This was done just in case the co-defendant prevailed in the Florida Supreme Court.

Mr. Forman filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in order to correct a manifest injustice in the appellate court.¬† Even though the attorney general’s office vigorously opposed the petition, the Fourth District Court of Appeals¬†granted the petition and ordered that the client be given a new trial for the attempted second degree murder charges. This would allow the client to be re-sentenced or retried before another jury on the vacated charge.¬†

However, the Florida Supreme Court just reversed the co-defendant’s case that was before the Florida Supreme Court. The court ordered that all of the co-defendant’s convictions be vacated. Mr. Forman filed a motion in the appellate court seeking the same relief as his co-defendant. ¬†The appellate court granted the motion! As a result of Mr. Forman’s previous petition and this motion, his client’s murder conviction was also vacated. All of the client’s convictions were overturned on appeal! Without Mr. Forman’s knowledge and understanding of the appellate process, his client’s convictions would still remain. Client will be brought back to court for a trial or negotiated plea and is obviously very happy.

Post-Conviction Relief Motion – Trafficking Sentence reduced by half!

posted 2017 | State v. RS

The client was arrested in a sting operation when she attempted to sell oxycodone to an undercover officer. When she was arrested, she also had Hydrocodone pills in her purse.  The amount of these Hydrocodone pills required a 25 year minimum mandatory sentence.  The client agreed to cooperate with law enforcement, but the agreement was breached when she was arrested for a driving offense. She was going to go to prison.

Facing the 25 year mandatory sentence, the client decided to enter a plea and was sentenced to 78.5 months in prison. After almost two years, the client hired Mr. Forman to see if she can get some sort of sentence reduction. Mr. Forman reviewed the files and subsequently filed a Motion for Post-Conviction Relief under rule 3.850 alleging that counsel was ineffective for failing to raise the lawful proscription defense.

The client’s previous lawyer failed to recognize that the Hydrocodone pills that were in her purse were not offered to be sold during the undercover sting and thus, she can rely on this defense since she had a lawful prescription. Counsel should have filed a sworn motion to dismiss.

After filing the post-conviction relief motion, the State agreed that Mr. Forman was correct and dropped the trafficking charge!  This allowed the client to be re-sentenced and have her sentence reduced from 78 months in prison to only 31 months in prison Рa reduction of over 50%!  Since the client had so much time already in custody, the client was shortly released.  Unfortunately, criminal defense lawyers sometimes drop the ball.  

55 Appellate Case Results

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