Appeals & Post Conviction Relief

Maryland, District of Columbia and Federal Appeals

Maryland Post Convictions

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Robert C. Bonsib, Esq

An Experienced Appellate and Post Conviction Lawyer

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APPEALS

Robert C. Bonsib, Esq., for over thirty five years, has handled dozens of appeals before the United States Courts of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the Maryland Court of Appeals and Maryland Court of Special Appeals and the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. While an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Maryland in the 1980's, he represented the United States of America in a number of criminal appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Since entering private practice in 1990, Mr. Bonsib has prepared and argued dozens of appeals in matters before the area's federal and state appellate courts. Although most of these appeals were in criminal matters, he has also represented clients in non-criminal matters before the appellate courts, including appeals of administrative decisions, in attorney grievance matters and with respect to civil matters.

The issues in the appeals handled by Mr. Bonsib were frequently complex and while not always successful, Mr. Bonsib has always been able to fully and aggressively present his client's in a thorough, aggressive and thoughtful manner. The following are a sampling of the some of the decisions by appellate courts in cases in which Mr. Bonsib prepared the appellate briefs and/or argued the case before the appellate court. In many of these cases he also represented his client at the original trial. Some of these cases summaries are linked to the actual court decision and may be reviewed by clicking on the indicated link.

State of Maryland v. P.S. , unreported 2007 opinion of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals reversing the obstruction of justice conviction of a prominent local criminal defense attorney.

Horne v. Montgomery Investigative Services, 173 Md.App. 193, 918 A.2d 526 (2007). In this reported opinion, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals affirmed a $127,000 damages award to Mr. Bonsib's client. While only occasionally handling civil matters, in this case Mr. Bonsib was successful in convincing a Montgomery County, Maryland jury to award his client $127,000 in a defamation case after an investigative agency wrongly reported that he had been convicted of theft. Mr. Bonsib handled the matter both before the trial court and on appeal.

United States v. L. M , 393 F.2d 175 (C.A.D.C. 2004). In this case, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia granted Mr. Bonsib's client a new sentencing hearing. Mr. Bonsib was retained to handle this matter on appeal His client had been convicted in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia of theft of government property and received a sentence of 27 months imprisonment and a $50,000 fine. On appeal, Mr Bonsib successfully argued that the trial court had misapplied the federal sentencing Guidelines in calculating the loss attributable to his client. A new sentencing hearing was held and his client was re-sentenced to probation and to a reduced fine of $10,000.

United States v. C. Q, 359 F.3d 666 (4th Cir. 2004). Mr Bonsib's client , a government lawyer, had been convicted of bribery, conflict-of-interest and related charges after a four-week trial in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. He was originally sentenced to imprisonment for a term of 87 months. On appeal, Mr. Bonsib successful argued that the trial court had misapplied the federal sentencing Guidelines and a new sentencing hearing was ordered. At the re-sentencing hearing, the sentence was reduced to 72 months. This re-sentencing occurred during the time when the federal sentencing Guidelines were being challenged before the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ultimately held that the Guidelines were no longer to be treated as mandatory. Mr. Bonsib's client had appealed the sentencing for a second time and, because of the change in federal sentencing law, received a second re-sentencing hearing. This time, with the Guidelines no longer being treated mandatory, Mr. Bonsib's client sentenced was reduced to 3 years imprisonment. This is an example of the importance in being aggressive in continuing to achieve the best possible result by using changes in the law to the benefit of one's client. Although Mr. Bonsib's client was ultimately required to serve a 3 year sentence, his sentence had been dramatically reduced from the original term of 87 months imprisonment.

Foreman v. State of Maryland , 332 Md. 201, 630 A.2d 753 (1993). In an case often used by lawyers representing clients before the Motor Vehicle Administration, the Maryland Court of Appeals dealt with the procedures that were required to be followed in conducting Motor Vehicle Administration hearings where the issue was whether a person license could be suspended for failure to submit to a breathalyzer test. The Court of Appeals agreed with the arguments presented by Mr. Bonsib that his client did not receive a proper hearing and remanded the matter for a new hearing. At the new hearing, Mr. Bonsib was successful in avoiding having his client's driving privileges suspended.

In Re Grand Jury Proceedings , 33 F.3d 342 (1994). In this complex white collar case, issues were presented to the Court of Appeals to whether the grand jury was entitled to certain records and other information that Mr. Bonsib's client and his client company's outside attorney alleged were protected by the attorney-client privilege. The government argued that the application of the crime-fraud exception required the production of the records subpoenaed by the grand jury. The Court agreed in part and disagreed in part with the arguments raised by Mr. Bonsib and his client. This appeal and the appeals referred to in the following paragraph are examples of the breadth and complexity of legal issues that Mr. Bonsib has experience in briefing for appeal and in arguing before the appellate courts.

POST-CONVICTION MATTERS

Robert C. Bonsib, Esq. has represented a number of individuals in post-conviction matters in the Maryland courts. He has been accepted as an expert witness in the field of criminal defense. He was retained to testify as an expert in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County in support of post-conviction petition filed by a man served a life sentence for a double murder. Mr. Bonsib reviewed the performance of the defendant's original trial counsel and testified as why that attorney's performance was deficient and why the defendant had not received effective assistance of counsel from his original trial counsel. In part, as a result of that testimony, the defendant's conviction was set aside and a new trial ordered.

Mr. Bonsib has in the past, and continues to represent a number of individuals who are seeking to have their convictions set aside and/or have new trials ordered as a result a variety of irregularities in the manner in which their original trials were handled. Many of these claims are based upon allegations that the client's original lawyer failed to meet the proper legal standard for providing effective representation to the client at the time of the client's original trial.

While most post conviction matters occur in the context of a client seeking a new trial, in some instances a more limited form of relief may be sought or may be appropriate. These forms of relief may include seeking a new sentencing hearing, an belated hearing on a motion for reconsideration of sentence or a new appeal.

If you are seeking post-conviction relief, in most instances it will be essential to have the complete transcript of any pre-trial, trial and sentencing proceedings, as well as copies of any appellate briefs and a copy of any appellate decisions. The first step involves reviewing the complete record of all prior proceedings. It is also important to discuss with the client the areas as to which he or she may believe there may be grounds for post-conviction relief. It is also important to consider the potential consequences of a successful post-conviction. In most instances, the relief sought in a post conviction proceeding is a new trial. Obtaining post conviction relief does not end the case, it simply takes one back to the position that he or she may have been at before a trial or guilty plea. As a result, it is always important to also consider whether, if a new trial is ordered, the client could face more severe consequences at a new trial. If so, one should proceed carefully before seeking post conviction relief. In other instances, such as where a client may be serving a life sentence, the risk of more severe consequences after a new trial will not be a concern and, there is little risk in seeking a new trial.

Mr. Bonsib generally conducts a post-conviction review in two stages. An initial fee is set for the first stage. In the first stage Mr. Bonsib will review the entire record and meet with the client. He will then provide an opinion as to whether it appears there are any issues in the case that might provide the basis for obtaining post-conviction relief. If so, a second stage fee is set to cover the anticipated scope of legal services needed to handle filing a post conviction in court and to handle all related proceedings. If it appears that there are no meritorious issues, or any issues that are present in the record of the proceedings have little chance of success, the client will be so advised. The fees for each stage will be based upon the volume of materials that need to be reviewed and, if the client is incarcerated, the time that will be necessary to travel to the place of incarceration and have a conference with the client. In some instances other anticipated services required to complete each stage of the process will also need to be factored into the fee, including whether there may a need for the services of an investigator to re-investigate certain aspects of the case.

If you would like to discuss any post conviction matters please Contact Robert C. Bonsib Esq. for further discussion about the particulars of your post conviction matter.

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