Western Pennsylvania Appeals Lawyer
Graminski Law

Mr. Graminski and Mr. Zupancic own and operate their own separate law firms, but for the purposes of representing people in complex criminal appeals, they have formed an alliance to handle appeals in the criminal division with Mr. Zupancic of counsel to the Graminski Law Firm. Much of their work focuses on the work of prior counsel, whether at the trial level or following lost appeals, not only to replace existing counsel but to prepare appeals directed at errors committed during representation by prior counsel.

The primary focus of their work is representing defendants facing long prison sentences involving the commission of serious crimes, such as burglary, aggravated assault, drug offenses, sex crimes, and homicide, among other such offenses. Because of the extensive amount of work involved in an appeal, the need for accuracy and the need for experience with the intricacies of appellate procedure, they have joined forces to gain an edge that only their combined experience of 51 years and knowledge can bring. Their extensive experience with brief writing enables them to provide a professional document in less time, translating into significant cost savings for the appellate client. The goal for Mr. Graminski and Mr. Zupancic is to provide high quality representation at a highly competitive price.

If you are incarcerated in a state correctional institution, or your loved one is housed at one of these facilities, Graminski and Zupancic will visit the client at their incarceration site and/or perform a case evaluation (at a modest fee) to determine whether or not they can help. You may contact either attorney at the listed numbers to discuss your case. All that is asked is that you reference this website. We will make arrangements to meet with you or your loved one as soon as possible.

The Appeals Process

Following trial and sentencing, the appeal process begins, with the filing of post-trial motion in an attempt to preserve issues from the trial that might not otherwise survive, and preparation to file an appeal addressing the errors that may have been committed at trial, and later, the filing of an appeal for Post Conviction Relief based upon ineffectiveness of counsel.

Appealing a Criminal Conviction in Pennsylvania

Most people think that in many Pennsylvania criminal cases, there is nothing that can be done after you've been sentenced by the court. However, a criminal conviction can have lasting consequences upon your life in addition to the punishment imposed by the court. An appeal of your criminal conviction is possible if you act quickly. Many people appeal their convictions and sentences and receive positive outcomes. But the appellate process is a complicated process that involves short deadlines and the filing of technical paperwork that is required by the sometimes arcane rules of court.

The Basics

In a criminal defense case, the proper way to attack your conviction is through the post-sentence and appeals process. Initially, you have the right to file post-sentencing motions with the court to address errors made at trial or at sentencing. This step is generally not required for an effective appeal, however, some appellate issues (such as the discretionary aspects of your sentence) can be waived if not raised at this step. If you forego this post-sentencing motion procedure, then you have thirty (30) days from the date of your sentence to appeal your judgment of sentence. This deadline is a hard and fast rule, and if you fail to file your appeal by filing a Notice of Appeal with the Clerk of Courts in the county where you were convicted.

As an appeal progresses the thrust of your argument will be contained within a written Appellate Brief. In this brief, you would set forth the reasons and legal arguments that support your claims. You would also need to fill your brief with references to the trial transcripts where the factual basis for your appeal would be set forth.

A central tenet of American criminal jurisprudence is that you have the right to represent yourself at all stages of the criminal process. However, the rules and procedures for filing and arguing an appeal can be complicated and you will be held to the same standards and rules as a litigant who is represented by a competent attorney. If you are thinking about filing an appeal, then you should contact Graminski Law, your Western Pennsylvania Appeals Lawyer.

Grounds for Appeal

Pennsylvania Law provides for many different ways for a criminal defendant to appeal their conviction and sentence. The following is a sample of the reasons that could support a successful appeal:

  1. The verdict of the jury was against the weight or sufficiency of the evidence.
  2. The court improperly admitted inadmissible evidence
  3. Previous defense counsel did not render effective assistance of counsel to the client.
  4. Previous defense counsel failed to investigate and prepare the case for trial.
  5. The District Attorney engaged in prosecutorial misconduct.
  6. The District Attorney violated rules of discovery.
  7. The Police violated your constitutional rights during the investigation and arrest.
  8. The Judge violated the law by imposing a sentence greater than the maximum allowed by law.
  9. The Judge abused his or her discretion in imposing a sentence within the sentence guidelines.
  10. The Judge misapplied the sentencing guidelines.

Post-Appeal Collateral Attacks of a Criminal Conviction

Even after the appellate process has been exhausted, a criminal defendant still has one (1) year to file a petition for post conviction relief. This PCRA procedure is a supplement to the appellate (direct appeal) process and gives you one last bite at getting your conviction and sentence overturned. This procedure has a very strict time deadline and thus must be filed within one (1) year of your conviction becoming final.

Questions for your Western Pennsylvania Appeals Lawyer

  1. What kind of relief can I acquire through the appellate process?
  2. How long does the appellate process take?
  3. Which courts could hear and rule on your appeal?
  4. Can I take my case all the way to the United States Supreme Court?
  5. If I lose all of my appeals, is there a process for filing a collateral attack upon my conviction?
  6. What is the Post Conviction Relief Act?

Western Pennsylvania Appeals

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About Gary J. Graminski

Gary J. Graminski - Western Pennsylvania Appeals Lawyer

Practicing for 34 years, licensed in all PA courts, extensive experience in the courtroom and at the appellate levels.

States / Courts Admitted:

Counties Served:
Washington, Greene, Allegheny, Westmoreland

Courts Served:
Pennsylvania Supreme, Superior, and Common Pleas

Law School:
Duquesne University School of Law

SUNY College at Fredonia (B.A.) Robert Morris University (MBA)

Past Positions:
Public Defender; Conflict of Interest Counsel

Pennsylvania Bar Association, WCBA

About Joseph M. Zupancic

Joseph M. Zupancic - Western Pennsylvania Appeals Lawyer

Practicing 17 years, licensed in all Pennsylvania courts, extensive experience in the court room and at the appellate levels. Of Counsel - Graminski Law.

States/ Courts Admitted:
Pennsylvania, Western District of Pennsylvania

Counties Served:
Washington, Greene, Allegheny, Westmoreland

Courts Served:
Pennsylvania Supreme, Superior, and Common Pleas

Law School:
University of Pittsburgh School of Law

Harvard University

Past Positions:
Assistant District Attorney, Assistant County Solicitor

Pennsylvania Bar Association

Graminski Law

Gary J. Graminski - Call: 724-222-4871
Joseph M. Zupancic - Call: 724-747-2873

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