Fighting for justice in criminal, juvenile, and civil commitment appeals.

FDAP Attorneys Honored for Work Advocating for Inmates Impacted by COVID-19 Outbreak at San Quentin State Prison

The Daily Journal editors have selected FDAP Assistant Director J. Bradley O’Connell and Staff Attorney Richard Braucher as recipients of the 2021 California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year Award for Appellate Litigation.

To read more about the San Quentin case, the Daily Journal award, and how to support this work, please click here.

COVID-19 Information for FDAP Clients and Panel Attorneys

In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the First District Appellate Project (FDAP) extends our best wishes to those stricken by the virus and all those impacted in other ways, including financial losses and job security.

Please visit our Pandemic 2021 information page and FAQs, where we share information about FDAP operations, Court operations, and try our best to answer any questions. Be sure to view the related FAQs.


Latest First District Victories

July 22, 2021


Panel Attorney: David Polsky

[Published Opinion] In a case where the jury found appellant guilty of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, the Court of Appeal held that the prosecutor misstated the law involving circumstantial evidence in closing argument.  Specifically, the court found that “innocence” under CALCRIM No. 224 refers to being not guilty of the charged crime, not to being not guilty of the charged crime and any lesser included offenses, as the prosecutor argued to the jury.  The Court of Appeal further held that the trial court incorrectly answered a jury question about the use of post-crash conduct  to find gross negligence, and that the cumulative impact of these errors was prejudicial.


Pathways to an Appellate Practice

Interested in becoming an appellate attorney? Visit our Pathways to an Appellate Practice section for details on

  • becoming a panel attorney;
  • FDAP’s Associate Staff Attorney Program; and
  • law student opportunities.