Patrick Mulligan’s expertise in appellate and postconviction litigation resulted in a recent victory virtually without precedent in Colorado history: an entirely new appeal for the client.

Patrick’s client was convicted at trial of two counts of First Degree Murder. His convictions and sentence were affirmed on appeal.

But the appellate process was flawed. Appellate counsel was deficient in almost every respect, and provided ineffective assistance of counsel on appeal.

The problem? The overwhelming majority of cases involving claims of ineffective assistance of counsel involve claims against trial counsel. What happens if the appellate lawyer fails to provide effective assistance?

There are almost no Colorado cases that address this question directly, and even fewer that actually resulted in postconviction relief for the defendant. But Patrick Mulligan was able to find a way to win.

First, Patrick prepared and submitted over one hundred pages of postconviction (Rule 35c) motions and supplemental pleadings, detailing the incompetent assistance of appellate counsel. Then, at a multi-day hearing in the trial court, Patrick presented lay and expert witness testimony in support of the motion. Finally, at the request of the trial court, Patrick submitted a detailed written closing argument, referencing the transcripts from the 35c hearing.

After careful review of the evidence and arguments, the trial court agreed with the defense, and found that the Defendant had received ineffective assistance of counsel on appeal. In a ruling essentially without precedent in the history of Colorado, the trial court vacated the judgment on appeal, and ordered that the Defendant receive an entirely new appeal.

Patrick Mulligan’s extensive experience, including 33 years of trial, appellate, and post-conviction litigation, resulted in yet another victory. Patrick is beginning preparation of the client’s new appeal.

If you or someone you know need assistance with a complex criminal appeal or post-conviction motion, call us at 303-295-1500. We can help.

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