Lessons About Appealing Verdicts Part 2

SteeleLisaAn Interview with Lisa J. Steele, Esq.

by Gila Hayes

In last month’s journal, we discussed the process of building an appeal on behalf of a client wrongly convicted by a trial court. Appellate attorney Lisa Steele, a lawyer of 26 years’ experience, explained in detail how an appellate brief is crafted and the process of arguing it before an appeals court. Because the information is so detailed, we broke the interview with her into two segments, returning this month to discuss what happens after the appellate court has published its decision.

eJournal: We left off last month with the appellate court having returned a decision on your appeal. I suppose that might be good or bad. What’s next?

Steele: Let me back up slightly. Many states, including MA and CT have two levels of appellate courts, the intermediate appellate court and the state’s supreme court. The intermediate appellate court hears the vast majority of cases. Only a few cases are heard first by a state’s supreme court.

So now I have the court’s decision sitting in front of me. Let’s assume it is from the intermediate appellate court. If it is good news, I call the client and tell them. And then I have to say, but this isn’t the end of the story. The state can and will file a petition to the state supreme court and say, “I think the appeals court got it wrong. I want you to look at it.” They lose a lot less often so they are more likely to get review.

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President’s Message

Marty eJournal column pix

by Marty Hayes, J.D.

I have to admit, I am at a loss for a timely and energizing topic to write about this month. So, how about I give the “State of the Network” message a month early?

The condensed version is that the Network has never been stronger!

The detailed version is that we have $1.7 million in our Legal Defense Fund, with a healthy cash reserve for unexpected operating expenses. Despite this success, we continue to operate our business very conservatively, so as to not be over extended and put this cash reserve at risk. In fact, we operate on a cash basis. If we want or need something, we decide if we can afford it, and if we really do need it we make the purchase. We do not borrow any money ever, never have, and don’t expect to in the future.

We have only two Network members with cases that are active. One is very new, and we do not expect the other to be resolved any time soon. (There are reasons; obviously with the case ongoing, we won’t discuss it.) We have recently finished a couple of other cases, with one, a shooting, going to a grand jury which determined it was a justifiable homicide. We have finished up another where the member displayed a firearm in the face of threatened unlawful force. In that case, our member was never charged, and the statute of limitations has run out, so it is now officially over.

We are blessed with a membership that takes use of force in self-defense seriously. We are averaging only two to three member-involved self-defense incidents per year, despite the growing membership numbers. Our success largely hinges on the Network Affiliated Instructor program, where over 300 instructors continue to recommend membership in the Network to their students.

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Attorney Question of the Month



The Network has long recommended that armed citizens get to know an attorney before needing legal representation after use of force in self defense. A client who wants to meet with an attorney absent a pending legal issue is unusual for many criminal defense law firms and as a result acting on this advice can be difficult. With this in mind, we asked our Affiliated Attorneys to comment on the pre-need consultation with this question–

We understand that law firms are busy places focused on defending people with current legal problems. How do you recommend a Network member who does not have a pending legal issue connect with an attorney for a brief consultation to be sure the member understands their state’s self-defense laws, while getting to know the attorney they'll call to protect their rights after self defense?

Our affiliated attorneys responded–

John I. Harris III
Schulman, LeRoy & Bennett PC
PO Box 190676, Nashville, TN 37219
615-244 6670

Lawyers and law firms–well, good ones–stay busy. Many have schedules that are often planned months if not years in advance if they handle complex business and commercial litigation, particularly in federal courts.

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Book Review

Mass Killings: Myth, Reality, and Solutions

by David T. Hardy
68-page paperback
ISBN-13: 978-1718142244
44 page eBook sold at Amazon Digital Services LLC

Reviewed by Gila Hayes

I have been a regular reader of David Hardy’s Of Arms and the Law blog for many years, so recently when I stumbled across his analysis Mass Killings: Myth, Reality, and Solutions, I added it to my e-book library immediately. I’ve always liked the plain-spoken Hardy’s blog commentaries, although he is more rightly famous for his work as an attorney and legal scholar.

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Editor's Notebook


by Gila Hayes

When backlash from mass killings results in useless, restrictive laws, it is easy to think the causes are too big for any individual to affect, so we do nothing and continue to suffer decay of the freedom America has enjoyed for so long. The problem is not too big, nor will it ever be solved without individual change. So long as we human beings possess free will, the ability to choose our own thoughts and actions, to choose between good and bad, we each continue to affect our world.

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About this Journal


The eJournal of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc. is published monthly on the Network’s website at http://armedcitizensnetwork.org/our-journal. Content is copyrighted by the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc.

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