Counsel representing a client on direct appeal should be familiar with the procedures applicable to an appeal, including the rules specifying the time period for filing an appeal and the requirements for submission of the clerk’s and reporter’s records.
Counsel should, upon being contacted by the court or client concerning representation for an appeal, immediately consult with the trial court to ascertain relevant information concerning the perfection of the appeal and relevant filing deadlines, in order to confirm that counsel's acceptance of the case permits the maximum opportunity for proper representation.
When a client indicates a desire to appeal the judgment or sentence of the court, counsel should inform the client of any opportunity that may exist to be released on bail pending the disposition of the appeal and, if the client desires to pursue release pending appeal, file a motion requesting same including affidavits supporting such motion, and seek a hearing before the trial court.
Counsel should immediately contact trial counsel to obtain background information on the client, information on the nature of the issues presented, and to determine whether filing a motion for new trial, if available, is necessary to, or will assist in, preserving the client's right to raise on appeal the issues that might be raised in the new trial motion.
Retained counsel should, upon acceptance of appellate representation, immediately inform the court and the prosecution of the representation by filing the appropriate designation of counsel with the court, and all counsel, both retained and appointed, must submit the proper designations of the clerk's and reporter's records as mandated by the Rules of Appellate Procedure.
Counsel must review the clerk’s and reporter’s records to determine whether they are true, correct and complete in all respects. If errors or omissions are found, objections to the record must be immediately filed with the trial or appellate courts in order to obtain corrections or hearings necessary to protect the reliability of the record.
Counsel should fully review the appellate record for all reviewable errors, prepare a well researched and drafted appellate brief, file the brief in a timely manner and in accordance with all other requirements in the Rules of Appellate Procedure and any local rules, and notify the court of counsel’s desire to present oral argument in the case, when appropriate.
Counsel should consider preparing and filing a reply brief or a motion for rehearing if, under the circumstances, such is needed or required, particularly in order to make the court of appeals aware of legal or factual matters that may have been overlooked or mischaracterized or that may have newly developed.
In the event that the intermediate appellate court’s decision is unfavorable to the client, counsel must advise the client in writing by certified mail of the client's right to file a petition for discretionary review and the action that must be taken to properly file such a petition. In advising the client of the right to file a petition for discretionary review, counsel should explain that: