The Division of Appellate/Post-Conviction Relief is a branch of defense services provided by MSPD. The mission of this division is to ensure that the constitutional rights of citizens are preserved and protected, and that the trial or guilty-plea process was fair and legal. In essence, the division monitors and provides quality control for the criminal judicial process. The division is frequently on the cutting edge of legal challenges in this state.
There are six district offices in this division. The offices are located in St. Louis, Kansas City, and Columbia in close proximity to most of Missouri’s appellate courts. The Missouri Supreme Court is located in Jefferson City, approximately 30 miles from the Columbia office.
Attorneys in this division provide representation to indigent citizens who have been convicted of felony offenses, after either a trial or a guilty plea. These attorneys handle direct appeals from felony convictions after trial, post-conviction trial court challenges after trial or guilty plea, and appeals from post-conviction proceedings. The post-conviction practice includes providing aggressive representation to death-row clients at the trial-court level, and in the Supreme Courts of Missouri and the United States.
From the start of their careers, the attorneys are directly responsible for the representation of their clients. Their practice includes:
- meeting with clients
- conducting legal research
- drafting motions, briefs, and memoranda
- presenting evidence at trial court post-conviction hearings in jurisdictions throughout Missouri
- presenting oral arguments before Missouri Appellate Courts, the Missouri Supreme Court, and even the United States Supreme Court.
MSPD is dedicated to ensuring that all attorneys provide the highest quality of representation. The attorneys in this division receive extensive training and mentoring at both the state and the national level with the support of our Training Division.
Training opportunities include, but are not limited to:
- National Legal Aid and Defender Association’s annual Appellate Defender conference in New Orleans, Louisiana
- In-house appellate/post-conviction training program
MSPD attorneys are regularly invited to serve as faculty at the NLADA annual program every year and contain among their ranks a number of recipients of the prestigious Dixon Award for Excellence in Appellate Advocacy.