Searching for information and direction for help. Federal Appeals!
I have been on a web site where you ask lawyers questions and they respond to you whenever. Well i was told i wouldn't be able to find a pro bono lawyer to pick up my sons case. Hes appeal's lawyer has appeal hes case as far as he can take it in the states court system. He saids now my son has to take it to the federal courts. I found out that they do have federal defenders there. What i'm trying to find out is what we have to do to get to that point. What has to be file now? Where does it have to be file at?
Federal Defenders deal with federal crimes, and appeals from federal crimes. They do not deal with federal issues of State crimes. The attorney you contacted was right: he cannot get appointed counsel in the federal system.
Should you wish to pursue pro bono litigation at the federal level, you need to find a lawyer willing to take on that case with no hope of being reimbursed for the numerous hours spent reviewing the case, preparing the appeal, preparing the rebuttal, and appearing for oral arguments. It's not impossible, but the case needs to be compelling, meaning that there has to be a distinct injustice occurring (that's why attorneys will take on pro bono representation in death penalty cases, and other areas like juvenile LWOP get attention from attorneys), or there needs to be a distinct area of law that's ready to be challenged. The latter would require you to have a good knowledge of the intersection between federal and state law, especially as applied to your son's case.
Your best bet is to put together a good packet of information that will attract an attorney to your case and away from other pro bono representation (meaning, it has to be something that will take an attorney away from death penalty litigation, juvey LWOP, civil commitments, GITMO holds, and other injustices where life is at stake). Then, hit up every law firm and criminal attorney you can.
You may also want to consider piggybacking your case on an issue that the ACLU has taken up. Contact the ACLU to figure out what their hot button issues are, and see if your son's case fits in with that project.
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