We recorded a conversation with Kyle Synghal, of the Hopwood and Synghal law firm, based in Washington DC. We had an organic conversation about his practice, including ideas people should consider if they’re moving through the criminal justice system. We published the video in three parts, discussing the following topics:
- Tell us about your background (let us know what prompted you to study law).
Time stamp: 0:00 to 2:35
- Discussing how to position ourselves for new jobs if we’re in prison. Kyle talks with us about the possibility of earning more than $100 per hour by helping people learn how to take tests. Invest thousands of hours to develop a skill set. Then teach others how to reach a higher potential.
Time stamp: 2:35 to 5:20
- Earning a Living by Teaching. Kyle tells us how lucrative the field can be by teaching people that want to reach higher levels of success. He’s a successful lawyer, but Kyle still works to teach others.
Time stamp: 5:20 to 7:57
- Kyle talks about his relationship with Shon Hopwood, describing how they connected. After Kyle concluded his work as an appellate court judge, he launched a law firm.
Time Stamp: 7:57 to 9:31
- Kyle tells us about how his working as a clerk for appellate court judges helped him to become more successful in serving his clients. Today he works with his partner, Shon to help people that need appellate lawyers.
Time Stamp: 9:31 to 11:12
- Kyle talks about the different levels of court, including trial courts, circuit courts, and the Supreme Court. People have a right to pursue an appeal at the circuit court level, in most instances. Few people get an opportunity to advance case to the Supreme Court. Discussing options for appeal if we don’t like the outcome. Learn about different approaches, from Rule 29 to Rule 33 to other options. He discusses motion for bond pending outcome of appeal. Also discuss post-conviction remedies. We also learn about en banc hearings.
Time Stamp: 11:12 to 19:15
- We learn about why it sometimes makes sense to hire an appellate team as a second set of eyes, at the earliest stage of proceedings. Kyle’s firm looks for appellate issues throughout the proceedings. By working together with counsel that is working at the district court level, a good appellate attorney can look to the future, sowing seeds along the way. It may make sense for lawyers to follow the paper trail. Trials can go on for years.
Time Stamp: 19:15 to 22:25
- Discussing administrative remedy, or grievances. Kyle speaks about the grievance procedure. Those procedures influence whether a person has a right to bring other challenges to court. He mentions the First Step Act, and the differences on 2241 and 2255, the section code for habeas corpus proceedings. He walks us through the proceedings. Learn about the need for a Certificate of Appealability and ineffective assistance of counsel. We hear about other writs that may be available.
Time Stamp: 22:25 to 27:00
We learn a bit more about Compassionate Release and the First Step act. It’s important for people to work through administrative remedy if they’re in prison. After administrative remedy, or an attempt to get administrative remedy, if a person doesn’t get a response, that person can use the provisions of compassionate release to pursue a better outcome. Judges have the ability to grant release if they see merit.
Time Stamp: 27:00 to 30:00
We learn about executive clemency and the different options available for people that did not get relief through the judicial system. We learn about the process and so forth. We talk about how a person pursues a pardon, or a commutation. We talk about steps a person can take to help a lawyer make the best possible case for a commutation. A person has to think early about the seeds a person should sow to work toward a better outcome.
Timestamp: 30:00 to 40:30