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

Brief-Writing Lessons From the January 6 Committee Hearings

The first three public hearings of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol provide some helpful lessons for clarity and persuasion in presenting a complicated story.

By J. Bradley O’Connell


Panel Alerts

August 9, 2022

MCLE Opportunity: The Insanity Defense in Criminal and Civil Commitment Proceedings

Appellate Issues Involving The Insanity Defense in Criminal Proceedings and Civil Commitment Following a Finding of Not Guilty By Reason… more

July 5, 2022

July 2022 Bulletin: Renumbered Statutes; New Analysis on Resentencing Proceedings and Finality; Panel Victories; Dependency Training Opportunity

Read on for important information about renumbered resentencing statutes, including § 1170.95; new analysis on resentencing proceedings and finality; new… more


First District Panel Victories

July 28, 2022


Panel Attorney: Amy Grigsby

In this appeal from a WIC section 366.26 hearing, appellant argued the Department failed to conduct an adequate ICWA inquiry. The Department conceded there were “inadvertent omissions in the inquiry.” The Court agreed with the parties and conditionally reversed the order terminating parental rights to ensure ICWA compliance.


Mat Zwerling – in memoriam

Matthew (Mat) Zwerling, co-founder of the First District Appellate Project (FDAP) and Executive Director for many years, passed away on March 24, 2022, after a long illness. We are saddened by the loss of our friend and colleague, and take this time to reflect on Mat’s life and the difference he made in the lives of so many. Mat was a mensch, a mentor, an activist, and a man of many and varied interests and talents.

Please visit our remembrance page and join us in celebrating Mat's life

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.