This law practice focuses on litigation, advocacy, and writing in the criminal justice and civil rights areas.
Sejal's specific areas of expertise are in large scale investigations, such as litigating wrongful convictions and mental health defenses. She also has extensive experience in working with non-English speaking defendants or those who have cultural or religious affiliations that go neglected in the criminal justice system.
The criminal appeals process commences when a state or federal court enters a judgment of guilty against a defendant or entity. At this stage, appellate counsel will review trial transcripts and lower court records, interview the client, develop a strategy for appeal, conduct legal research, and draft the client's brief on appeal. Sometimes, the record on appeal is incomplete, so an appellate attorney will also work to identify what is missing and add it to the record.
The prosecutor then submits a reply brief, and the defense is presented with a last opportunity to rebut the government's claims. The attorneys then argue the case before a panel of appellate judges. These judges render a decision as to whether the issues presented in a defendant's brief are meritorious and warrant a retrial or a dismissal of the case. An appeal may continue to the California Supreme Court or to the federal courts.
Appeals live for a long time, often lasting for several years before a case is entirely closed. In this sense, the pace of an appeal is very different from the pace of a trial. An appeal is also quieter in the sense that much of the preparation involves record review, legal research, and writing. The briefings can be dense and difficult for the layperson to understand, and it has always been a goal of this practice to make that information accessible to every client and family who wants to better understand the issues raised.
Sejal has handled large internal investigations involving a host of civil and criminal matters. She has served as a mediator in dozens of cases and launched a pilot Criminal Justice Mediation Program in Dorchester District Court. She has is also trained as a rape victims' advocate and worked many 12 am to 6 am shifts in the emergency room helping sexual assault victims through the police interview and SANE examination. She currently serves as a Title IX adjudicator/ mediator for colleges and universities.
As an appellate and trial attorney in the criminal realm, she appreciates how much emotion is lies behind fact, procedure, and law. Her studies at Harvard Divinity School in anthropology, philosophy, and psychotherapy help shape her commitment as a neutral to make the process of investigating and adjudicating emotionally charged matters with as much patience, respect, and care as she can.
First District Court of Appeal
First District Appellate Program
Sixth District Court of Appeal
Sixth District Appellate Program
California Appellate Defense Counsel
California Rules of Court
California Penal Code
Free Legal Research Portals
Inmate Locator Sites
Federal Bureau of Prisons
State of California Inmate Locator