Florida Criminal Appeals and Post-Conviction
Former Prosecutor with 24 Years of Experience
Appeals Lawyer
Former Prosecutor with 24 Years of Experience
Appeals Lawyer

posted 2015 | State v. C.Y.

Client was charged with armed robbery in three different cases.  He entered an open plea to the court and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.  Client filed an appeal, but he was unsuccessful.  All other motions that he filed also failed.  The client’s mother hired Mr. Forman in order to see what could be done.  Instead of filing a 3.850 motion, Mr. Forman had an idea and decided to file a motion to mitigate the client’s sentence due to ineffective assistance of counsel – an unusual hybrid motion.   

Mr. Forman was able to locate a transcript from a scheduling hearing which showed that the trial court made a comment which encouraged the client to enter into an open plea, thereby giving the client the impression that the judge would be inclined to grant his motion for downward departure. Even though Mr. Forman presented this motion to the same judge who made this error, the trial court granted the motion and agreed to mitigate his 20 year sentence to only 12 years! Client and his mother were grateful.

posted 2015 | L.M. v State

Client was arrested for three misdemeanor counts of contracting without a license, but the state ultimately increased the charge and filed it as a felony.  The client was not served with the capias until 3 years later.  Once he was served, trial counsel explained the situation to Mr. Forman, who suggested that trial counsel file a motion to dismiss based upon the statute of limitations.   The trial court denied the motion.  Client hired Mr. Forman, who filed a petition for writ of prohibition arguing that the trial court had no jurisdiction to preside over the case.  The Fourth District Court of Appeal agreed and granted Mr. Forman’s petition!  All charges were dismissed.

posted 2015 | State v. J.S.

Client was charged with Trafficking in GHB and possession of cocaine, which carried a 3 year minimum mandatory sentence.  Defense counsel filed a motion to suppress arguing that the stop of the client’s vehicle was unlawful.  The trial court agreed and suppressed all of the evidence.  The State appealed the decision of the trial court. Defense counsel, who won the motion, told Mr. Forman that he believed that the appellate court would reverse the order suppressing evidence and that he was surprised that he had won.

Defense counsel referred the client to Mr. Forman to handle the appeal.  The state filed its initial brief, arguing that the supporting caselaw required that the order be reversed.  After reviewing the record, Mr. Forman agreed that the trial court was required to deny the motion based on the caselaw.

However, Mr. Forman realized something that no one else noticed. He noticed that the state made a slightly different argument on appeal than the one presented by the prosecutor in the trial court.  Knowing that he would lose on the merits, Mr. Forman decided that the best strategy was to argue that the state should be prohibited from making this argument on appeal.

At oral argument, the appellate panel told the parties that on the merits, the state should win the appeal.  However, they listened to Mr. Forman’s argument and entered an order affirming the decision of the trial court! The trial court’s order was upheld, all evidence was excluded and the state was forced to drop all charges! This appeal was only won because Mr. Forman noticed this technicality, which many other lawyers would not have noticed.  Needless to say, the client was extremely thrilled!

posted 2015 | I.A. v. State

Client was arrested and charged with 1st degree arson with injuries, arson and insurance fraud.  He hired a well-known criminal defense attorney and was advised to enter a no contest plea.  Hesitantly, he entered an open plea which required that he be sent to prison.  The client hired another defense attorney who brought Mr. Forman into the case in order to submit a motion to withdraw plea in the trial court. Mr. Forman argued that the client’s open plea to all of the convictions violated double jeopardy.

The trial court denied the motion.  The client then hired Mr. Forman to handle the appeal and Mr. Forman won the appeal!  The Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s denial of the client’s motion to withdraw plea and found that his plea did constitute a double jeopardy violation!  Client was very pleased, especially since he had immigration issues.

posted 2015 | J.C. v. State

Client was arrested and charged with stealing $250,000 in a joint business venture.  He was represented by a known criminal defense attorney, but was convicted at trial.  The client was referred to Mr. Forman in order to handle the appeal.  Mr. Forman spoke to the trial lawyer, who informed Mr. Forman of the possible issues on appeal.

After carefully reviewing the record on appeal, Mr. Forman noticed a huge error which was undetected by the judge, prosecutor and defense counsel.  Mr. Forman noticed that defense counsel never requested to have the jury instructed with a good faith jury instruction which was counsel’s theory of defense.  Mr. Forman argued on appeal that defense counsel was ineffective on the face of the record – an argument that is rarely granted.

However, the Fourth District Court of Appeal agreed with Mr. Forman and vacated the conviction and sentence!  The appellate court found that trial counsel should have requested the jury instruction since it was based upon his defense at trial.  Client was thrilled – the State was not!

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.

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