Wisconsin & Federal Appeals Attorney

Areas of Practice

Wisconsin & Federal Appeals Lawyer

Rick Coad is recognized as a skilled appellate lawyer in Wisconsin. He takes appeals in Wisconsin state court, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and is one of the few lawyers to have argued a case in the United States Supreme Court.

United States Supreme Court Building

Rick Coad is a federal appeals lawyer who takes appeals from federal district courts in Madison (Western District of Wisconsin), Milwaukee and Green Bay (Eastern District of Wisconsin) to the Seventh Circuit Court of appeals and the United States Supreme Court.  In federal court, there are several avenues of appeal. Direct appeal, where you are typically appealing some decision made by the district court, such as challenging a sentence imposed, or a jury verdict, are the most common. Prisoners may bring habeas petitions (or petitions under § 2255) challenging the legality of their confinement. These cases often involve a claim that the trial lawyer provided ineffective assistance of counsel.

In Wisconsin state court, there are many different procedures for appealing a case. Some cases are argued on direct appeal from a decision or determination in a trial court. Other cases, such as a claim that a person’s trial lawyer provided ineffective assistance of counsel, require a postconviction motion to be filed in the trial court.  Often, a court will grant an evidentiary hearing to resolve those motions.  Thus, it is important to retain a lawyer who is both skilled in writing motions and who is also effective in a courtroom.  Rick Coad brings both of those skills to bear for his clients.

A person may also seek what is called a sentence modification, where he or she asks the trial court to reconsider the sentence imposed. Other cases can also be appealed through what is called a habeas petition. Those cases often involve an argument that a person’s constitutional rights were violated either by the court, the prosecution, or the person’s defense lawyer.

There are also ways to obtain an expungement of a criminal conviction or reopen prior convictions under Wisconsin law.  The expungement law in Wisconsin allows for only certain types of crimes to be expunged and under limited circumstances, including the age of the person at the time of conviction and the type of offense.  Otherwise, some modification of the conviction can be sought through other post-conviction avenues, including a sentence modification.

Rick is a respected federal and state criminal appeals lawyer with experience in bringing all of these types of appeals and post-conviction motions. He has been ranked by Super Lawyers ten times, most recently in 2021. Contact him at his offices in Madison, WI for a consultation.

Rick Coad is an appellate lawyer who is located in Madison, Wisconsin. He takes post-conviction motions and direct appeals from circuit courts throughout the state, including: Dane County, WI, Columbia County, WI, Walworth County, WI, Jefferson County, WI, Sauk County, WI, Dodge County, WI, Iowa County, WI, Green County, WI, Rock County, WI, Waukesha County, WI, Fond du Lac County, WI, Richland County, WI, Juneau County, WI and many others.

Case Results

  • Wisconsin Post-Conviction Motion (2015)

      The client had pleaded guilty to multiple felony convictions, including distribution of heroin and cocaine, and substantial battery in Jackson County Circuit Court.  He was sentenced to five years in prison.  The client hired Mr. Coad to review his case for possible appellate or post-conviction issues.  In carefully reviewing the case, Mr. Coad found issues related to whether the client’s plea was a knowing and voluntary plea, and whether his trial counsel had provided ineffective assistance of counsel in advising the client about the guilty plea.

      Normally, attacking a guilty plea with a post-conviction motion has very long odds of success.  Mr. Coad filed a motion, and the court granted an evidentiary hearing. At the hearing, Mr. Coad subpoenaed the trial counsel, and questioned him on the stand.  Through tough and thorough questioning, Mr. Coad established that the trial counsel had not properly advised the client about the plea, and had made significant errors.  In addition, Mr. Coad attacked the plea colloquy between the client and the judge for deficiencies.  The court ruled that the client’s plea was not knowing and voluntary, and that the trial counsel had provided ineffective assistance of counsel as well.  The client was allowed to withdraw his guilty pleas and receive a new trial, and was released from prison

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