I, Dominic Andriacchi Jr, was added onto the Michigan Appellate Assigned Counsel System (MAACS) attorney roster in September 2016. MAACS and the State Appellate Defender Office (SADO) are responsible for helping all of the indigent defendants throughout Michigan who want to appeal their convictions, whether by a plea or by a trial. I’ll be helping clients throughout the Upper Peninsula appeal their plea convictions, including in the trial court, Court of Appeals, and possibly the Supreme Court.
Back in August 2016, I applied for a slot on the MAACS roster. I was accepted as a new attorney pending a two-day training put on by MAACS and SADO. Because I completed the training, I’m now eligible for helping the Upper Peninsula’s indigent clients.
As for the training, the materials alone were worth it. SADO’s materials are, without a doubt, some of the best there is. The level of detail they put into all of their resources is crazy. Case citations, charts, guides, etc.
The presentations were also interesting and the questions posed were very helpful. There were a lot of small tips and tricks discussed that were helpful not just as a lawyer but as a business owner too.
To give you an idea of how highly I think of the training and how helpful it was, I have at least six pages of notes. That’s a lot.
Also, the things they talked about are easily transferable to the trial level. The vast majority of the cases I have are in either district or circuit court, which means the person hasn’t been convicted at trial and hasn’t entered a plea. Although the training was directed to appeals, a lot of the information can be easily used to help prevent clients from being convicted or to help them fully understand the risks of a conviction.
A lot of times, there’s an animosity between appellate lawyers and trial lawyers. But, the two sides should be working together. The more an attorney knows of both means they’ll be that much better as a criminal-defense lawyer overall, regardless of whichever court they’re in. But you’ll often find lawyers who only do one.
In other words, if you know what a trial attorney is going through, appellate lawyers can better understand and help establish good law that benefits clients. On the other hand, the trial attorney needs to read and understand criminal-defense appellate case law. The more of it a trial lawyer knows, the more they can use the law to protect clients. For example, if you stay on top of Fourth Amendment law, you’ll be more likely to know where its trending, will know what the police can or can’t do, and will be more effective in helping clients avoid a conviction.
That’s why I practice both. I help people who have been charged with a crime avoid conviction. I also help people who have been convicted or pled to a crime try to get the conviction overturned or lessened. I’m a trial lawyer and an appellate lawyer.
Again, it was a great training. I’m happy I went and have added ways I can help people charged or convicted of a crime.