Filing an appeal to overturn a court decision is a cumbersome process, and decisions can be based on minute legal technicalities.
Attorney Terence Kindlon, who represents Christopher Porco, has won many cases on appeal, and said he feels there is more than a good chance his client’s murder conviction in August will be overturned.
`We think we have some very powerful arguments on appeal,` said Kindlon.
Porco was convicted in August of killing his father, Peter Porco, and attempting to murder his mother, Joan, inside the family’s Brockley Drive home in November of 2004.
Kindlon said his appeal centers on Joan Porco’s head nod. Prosecutors told the jury that, while gravely wounded, Joan Porco acknowledged to investigators that her assailant was her son Christopher.
During Porco’s murder trial, Kindlon said he felt the prosecution tried to elicit answers from Joan Porco that should not have been asked because she said she has no recollection of the attacks against her and husband Peter Porco in the early morning hours of Nov. 15, 2004.
`The prosecution should not have been permitted to ask those questions during trial,` said Kindlon.
Kindlon said he and his legal team are sifting through mountains of documents to present the most thorough appeals case on behalf of their client, who sits in the Albany County jail awaiting a Dec. 12 sentencing.
`We have to make a recording of the whole case, from the first day to the last, including the verdict and sentencing,` said Kindlon. `It will most likely run 3,000 to 4,000 pages when it is all put together.`
Post-verdict motions will be filed with the State Appellate Court in mid November and a pre-sentencing memorandum will follow. Kindlon said he fully expects his client to receive the maximum sentence from Judge Jeffrey Berry.
`Everybody who has been involved in this case from start to finish knew the stark reality of sentencing,` said Kindlon.
Porco is facing a sentence of 50 years to life.
`What that means is the prisoner has to serve at least 25 years before he or she can ever become eligible for parole,` Kindlon stated.
Once sentencing is handed down in December, the case will be heard by the Third Department of the State Appellate Court. Since Christopher Porco’s father worked as the chief law clerk for the Third Department of State Appellate Court, Kindlon said he feels the appeal will be moved to one of the Appellate Court’s three other departments.
`I fully expect the Third Department of State Appellate Court to decline the case because of a conflict, or a perceived conflict, of interest,` said Kindlon.
If the case is overturned on appeal, the prosecution has a chance to argue the decision before another trial is scheduled. If the case is not overturned, the case would then have to go to the highest court in New York the Court of Appeals.
`We’re hopeful for a reversal at the first level,` said Kindlon who just recently won an appeal on a court decision in Warren County.
`We do a fair amount of appeals work and see about two or three reversals a year,` Kindlon said.
Meanwhile, Porco sits in Albany County jail, convicted of murdering his father and attempting to murder his mother. In a recent `48 Hours Mystery` jailhouse interview aired on CBS Saturday, Nov. 4, Porco maintained his innocence.
`I can’t imagine attacking anyone, let alone my parents in that way,` said Porco.