What kind of Post Conviction Issue are you facing?


Post Conviction Lawyer

A post conviction lawyer like any of the the attorneys at The McShane Firm have the experience, skill and guts to fight for your freedom. We fight for your good name. When others have turned their backs or washed their hands of you, we don’t. Standing with you together ready to take on the government is where you’ll find us

Did you know that there are three different areas of post conviction law?

  1. Appeals: Direct appeals and collateral appeals (PCRA or ineffective assistance of counsel)
  2. Probation/Parole Violations
  3. Clearing up folks’ records (pardons, expungements and limited access orders)

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When selecting which attorney to hire, please consider:

  • Can you call anytime and talk to a live person?
  • Do they offer payment plans with no credit checks?
  • Will your attorney be attentive and explain what’s going on?

At The McShane Firm, we answer yes to all of these questions. We strive to provide you with a great customer service experience during this tough time.

What type of information will most help you now:

Just because the judge or the jury finds you guilty or you plead the case out doesn’t mean the case is over. There is a lot of after conviction areas of law that call for a great post-conviction lawyer.

What you lose with a conviction


The Mcshane firm assisted me in a very long pardon process, where they stood by my side the whole way. Katherine mcshane took me all the way to the pennsylvania supreme court where we recieved a unanimous 5-0 vote and was ultimately granted a full governors pardon! Great job on this amazing feat! M.KFROM GOOGLE BUSINESS

In criminal law there are two basic types of appeals. We call the first type a direct appeal. The other is called collateral appeal. The difference is when you file it. Let’s look at both.

What types of appeals courts exist in PA?

In Pennsylvania we have two basic levels of appeals courts:

  • the intermediate appeals court, and
  • the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania (SCOPA).

The intermediate appeals courts include:

  • the Commonwealth Court (which is primarily used to review agency decisions, but does hear PennDOT licenses appeal hearings from the trial court level), and
  • the Superior Court.

What is The McShane Difference?

  • We take time to understand your personal needs and goals. Then we cater our legal strategy to fit you.
  • We care about you. We listen and return phone calls. We will take time to explain things so you are not left anxious in the dark.
  • We will make this as easy as possible. We will try to minimize the number of times you have to be in court which means less disruption of your work and family life.

Does this sound like what you are looking for in an attorney? If yes, then take the next step and call (717) 657-3900.

What sorts of cases do the intermediate appellate courts of PA hear?

Each of these two intermediate courts are “error correcting courts.” This means that they look at the specifics of one particular case. They review that one case alone.  Looking at the record and the areas “preserved” for appeal, they look to identify and need be correct the error or errors. If there is error then it is corrected provided it is not harmless error. Courts create a doctrine (rule) called harmless error. What this means is that even though the trial wasn’t perfect and there was error, the defendant will only be awarded a new trial or have his or her conviction vacated (dismissed) if the error, if it had not been made, would have changed the verdict or the outcome. The opinions of the intermediate courts come in two types:

  • precedential- This type of opinion is the highest form in terms of persuasiveness. It is the official holding of the court. Later attorneys and judges can trust this type of opinion to create “the rules” for all future cases of a similar nature.
  • non-precedential- This type of opinion is controversial. Generally, it is a decision of the court that has low, if any, value to future litigants. 

What sort of cases does the Pennsylvania Supreme Court hear?

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, on the other hand, is a policy making court. They do not have to take cases that are forwarded to it. They get to pick and choose. This court rarely cares about the justice of any given case. It cares about broader concepts. They look to set “bright-line” rules and to settle differences between Superior or Commonwealth Court holdings that differ from one another. 

Direct Appeals:

A direct appeal is when you file an appeal right after conviction and sentencing. For instance, your prior attorney loses a jury trial and the judges sentences you to prison. You think the jury got it wrong and/or the judge sentenced you too harshly.

  • Next, you want someone else to look at it.
  • Then, your attorney would file a notice of appeal with the Superior Court.
  • Following that, the Superior Court looks at the particular issues you say weren’t right and then issues a written ruling.
  • If you don’t like that result, then you can try to appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (SCOPA).
    • Importantly, SCOPA doesn’t have to hear a single case. Contrast that with the Superior Court that has to issue a written opinion for every case.
  • Notably, the SCOPA may not be the last word if there is a “federal question” involved in your case. It may next go to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).

Several of the attorneys at The McShane Firm are proud members of the SCOTUS.

Additional recommended reading: Free information on Pennsylvania Appeals and the PA appeal process

Collateral Appeals:

The Sixth Amendment and Strickland v Washington demand that you receive effective assistance of counsel in your case. This includes plea bargaining. In Pennsylvania, we call this process the Post Conviction Relief Act or PCRA. We can take a look at your case to see if your attorney was ineffective and failed his or her constitutional duty to you. A new trial or under certain limited circumstances the case gets dismissed are the two possible and typical remedies for ineffective assistance of counsel.

What are some examples of ineffective assistance of counsel or PCRA claims?

We have dealt with just about every form of ineffectivee assistance of counsel including:

  • failure to communicate with the client,
  • failure to disclose discovery to the client,
  • recanting of witness testimony,
  • after discovered evidence,
  • failure to seek or use Brady or non-incriminating evidence,
  • change in science,
  • police officer corruption,
  • District Attorney corruption,
  • Judicial corruption,
  • racism, sexism and other bigotry
  • and much more

Our Clients are entitled to a Bill of Rights which states:

  • Our clients have the right to expect, we will be proactive in communication. You will hear it from us first. We will return all phone calls, texts and emails promptly.
  • Our clients have the right to expect plain speaking, straight shooting. No B. S.
  • Our clients have the right to expect us to do it right the first time, every time.
  • Our clients have the right to expect us to be on time and professionally prepared for all court appearances, and all meetings.
  • Our clients have the right to expect that they will be fully informed at all times.

This is our promise to you. Call today to get us on your side: (717) 657-3900.

Additional recommended reading: Free information on Pennsylvania Ineffective Assistance of Counsel and Post-Conviction Relief Act Law

County Probation and Parole violations

If there is one thing that judges love to do is to hand out probation. America is one of the few countries in the world that hand out years or decades of probation for a criminal case. Even the most law-abiding among us can walk that line forever. The county probation and parole system is set up for failure. It exists to keep you in the system once you are in it. If we are your lawyers, you can trust us to be the best post-conviction lawyer to try to end this seeming endless probation.

Additional recommended reading: Free information on Pennsylvania County Probation and Parole Violations and the Law of PA probation

Statistics for appeals: 2016 (the most recent) Superior Court of Pennsylvania Appeals Statistics

We can help you clean up your record. Pardon and expungement lawyers in PA

Pardons, Expungements and Limited Access Orders

Pennsylvania is notorious for being one of the hardest states to clear up your record. The pardon process takes time. Conditions that allow for expungements are few. Finally, the court makes it hard for ordinary non-lawyers to navigate around to get limited access orders to seal your record of convictions from the public.

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