Pennsylvania Post-Trial, Criminal Appeals, PCRA, and Innocence Lititgation

Michael Saunders served 16 years for murder before DNA proved his innocence

If you or a loved one has been convicted of a crime in state or federal court, and believe your (or their) guilty plea, trial, or punishment (e.g., probation, jail time, or prison sentence) was or is unfair or unconstitutional, knowing what stepts to take to vacate a guilty plea, a criminal conviction, or a particular punishment is a complex task that requires an experienced post-trial and appellate litigator.  Likewise, if you or a loved one are in prison, but you (or they) are innocent, proving your or their innocence with DNA or non-DNA evidence is a monumental undertaking that requires an experienced post-conviction litigator with courtroom, investigative, forensic, and innocence expertise. 


The Cooley Law Office is dedicated to providing top-notch representation to those seeking post-trial, appellate, post-conviction, and clemency relief from criminal sentences.  The Cooley Law Office has significant experience litigating serious felonies, including death penalty cases, murders, sexual assaults, kidnappings, robberies, DUI, and other felonies, as well as seeking DNA testing for innocent prisoners. The Cooley Law Office has offices in Pittsburgh and litigates state and federal appeals and post-conviction petitions across the Commonwealth.  Mr. Cooley litigates cases in the Common Pleas Court, Superior Court, Pennsylvania Supreme Court, as well as the Federal District Courts in the Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts, as well as the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.


As a life-long public interest attorney, Mr. Cooley offers affordable and reasonable prices for appellate and post-conviction litigation.  The Cooley Law Office accepts CREDIT CARD payments.  Payments can easily be made over the internet, which eliminates the hassel of checks and money orders. 

Jonathan Barr served 20 years for murder before DNA proved his innocence

The Cooley Law Office offers a comprehensive approach to post-trial matters,  criminal appeals, PCRA litigation, and clemency applications be it for state court defendants or federal court defendants.  We know what options are out there, and we help clients identify which options best fit their needs.  As a firm practicing exclusively in the fields of post-trial defense, criminal appeals, PCRA litigation, federal post-conviction, and clemency litigationwe can design a roadmap that will move your case forward in the right direction. 


Craig M. Cooley is a former Investigator with the Appellate Defender's Office in Chicago, Assistant Federal Defender in Las Vegas, and Staff Attorney with the New York Innocence Project. Mr. Cooley has investigated and litigated significant felony, death penalty, and innocence cases for the last 20 years.  He has helped prove the innocence of more than a dozen wrongly convicted men with DNA and non-DNA evidence as a law student, investigator, and attorney.


Mr. Cooley's areas of practice are:

  • Direct appeals from state and federal criminal convictions
  • Post-conviction litigation and investigation: Post-Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) petitions 
  • Post-conviction DNA testing and challenging forensic identificaiton evidence (e.g., bitemarks, fingerrprinting, firearms, hair evidence)
  • Federal habeas corpus: state prisoners attacking state convictions  (28 U.S.C. 2254)
  • Federal post-conviction: federal prisoners attacking federal convictions (28 U.S.C. 2255)
  • Clemency petitions

Mr. Cooley's work product can be reviewed here by reading motions, appellate briefs, PCRA motions, and federal habeas petitions he's written, filed, and argued. 

Embracing John Kunco outside of Westmoreland County Jail after being released from prison for the first time in 27 years

Sedrick Courtney served 15 years for robbery before DNA proved his innocence

Mr. Cooley has investigated and worked on the following DNA and non-DNA exonerations and illegl conviction cases as a law student, investigator, or attorney:

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