In order to win sometimes you have to be unconventional and aggressive, and never give up, even if that makes people angry. I represented Mikel Crumes in a post-conviction petition to vacate his murder and robbery conviction in 2014. It took until late April 2019 for the Court of Appeals of Kentucky to vacate the conviction on the basis of my post-conviction petition in Crumes v. Commonwealth, case 2017-CA-001520-MR, 2019 Ky App. LEXIS 75 (Apr. 26, 2019). The trial judge erred by rejecting the alleged eyewitness’s renunciation of his trial testimony where no DNA, video, footprint, gunshot residue or other corroborating evidence supported the conviction. The post-conviction petition angered the trial judge no end, but was necessary to secure the order vacating the murder and robbery conviction.
The key quality of a lawyer is being willing to buck the system and take the heat. Going along and getting along is fine for social activities, but not in court. Being a jerk is not enough; it requires skill and ability to be a jerk to the client’s advantage. Having a thick skin is the key. Some cases need a schmoozer who everyone likes; those cases are not for me.
My overall lifetime criminal defense reversal rate in state and federal courts is 41% and lifetime state civil reversal rate is 43.4% as of 5/1/2019.
By comparison, nationally in 2016 only 7.2% of federal criminal appellate decisions were reversals of the trial court’s decisions. No one compiles state court averages, but in 2015 only 9.3% of civil appeals resulted in reversals by the court of appeals for Cincinnati in Hamilton County, Ohio (26 of 279 total cases). In criminal cases in Cincinnati in 2013, the total reversal average was 16.6% (79 of 475 total criminal cases).
Technical skill, while important, is not enough. There are many competent lawyers, but only a few who succeed in convincing appellate judges to make their trial court colleagues re-try or revise a case that has been decided. Very few are willing to discuss their success rates or publish all of their appellate decisions for your review. Please feel free to examine all of my cases on the tab marked “Case Files – Success Rate.”
I am admitted in the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Tax Court, U.S. Court of Federal Claims, U.S. Court of International Trade, and the U.S. Fifth, Sixth, and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeal, as well as the federal and state trial courts of Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. I am an Author for Moore’s Federal Practice, a top-rated national publication covering federal civil litigation. The chapters I write include Chapter 208 – Complex Appeals, and Chapter 207 – Practice in the Federal Circuit, as well as the more technical chapters covering Rules 17-22 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.