Appeals. The vast majority of Martin Buchanan’s practice is litigating direct appeals in state and federal courts, either on behalf of the appealing party or the responding party. Martin devotes his full personal attention to every step of the appeal, including reviewing the record, researching and writing the appellate briefs, presenting oral argument, and filing petitions for rehearing, review, or certiorari.
Writs. Writs are a highly specialized area of appellate practice with different rules from direct appeals. In appropriate cases, where there is no right to appeal, or an appeal would not be an effective remedy, Martin will prepare and file an emergency writ petition in the appellate court. Martin is also available to oppose an extraordinary writ petition at the appellate level.
Evaluations. Litigants often do not know whether it is worth pursuing an appeal. Martin can be retained to review the trial court pleadings and transcripts and provide an objective assessment of the potential merits of an appeal before it is filed. A neutral evaluation by an experienced appellate lawyer can be invaluable to a client in assessing the best course of action after an adverse judgment.
Consultation With Trial Lawyers. In cases with appellate potential, it is critical for a trial lawyer to preserve the client’s appellate rights by raising issues properly in the trial court. To preserve potential issues and frame them effectively for appeal, trial attorneys consult with Martin on matters such as jury instructions, verdict forms, statements of decision, judgments, and other procedural and substantive matters that could affect the result of an appeal.
Legal Research & Motions. Martin will provide assistance to trial attorneys by researching issues and preparing pleadings on matters that could ultimately be determinative on appeal. These include potentially dispositive summary judgment motions, demurrers, and motions to dismiss, and requests for statements of decision, objections to proposed statements of decision, and post-judgment motions.
Petitions for Review. In California, there is no right to Supreme Court review of an adverse Court of Appeal decision; review is purely discretionary. The California Supreme Court agrees to review only about two percent of the thousands of Court of Appeal decisions it is asked to review every year. On occasion, Martin is hired to file a petition for review on behalf of an unsuccessful litigant who was represented by another lawyer in the Court of Appeal. Since 2005, the California Supreme Court has granted three petitions for review filed by Martin in cases where he was not involved in the Court of Appeal briefing.
Petitions for Writ of Certiorari. Martin also has experience filing and opposing petitions for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court. In May 2010, the United States Supreme Court granted Martin’s petition for a writ of certiorari in Williamson v. Mazda Motor of America, Inc., No. 08-1314. The United States Supreme Court grants about one percent of the petitions for writ of certiorari filed every term.