The Private Counsel Division – Appeals Unit maintains several resources to support panel attorneys.

Where to direct documents and inquiries:

Dolly Mele (

  • Questions about direct appeal and all other types of assignments, except screening assignments

Maudelcia Tuitt (

  • Questions about screening assignments

Kate O’Connell (

  • Requests for screenings, questions about screening process
  • General case questions/ strategy

Lori Bodley (

  • Copy of filed appellate brief and new trial motions
  • CLE attendance

Liz Dembitzer (

  • Screening reports
  • Authorization requests for new trial motions, habeas petitions
  • Authorization requests for withdrawal from or moving to dismiss cases
  • Requests for co-counsel
  • Requests for mentor assignments
  • General case questions/ strategy

Matt Harper-Nixon (

  • Scheduling moot arguments or brainstorming sessions
  • Questions about Thursday drop ins or the Resource Attorney program
  • General case questions/ strategy

Post-conviction private investigator pilot program

The Post-Conviction Private Investigator pilot program is accepting applications for private investigator services for post-conviction cases.

This program allows attorneys working on certain post-conviction cases access to the services of a Private Investigator working under contract with CPCS and paid from a fund established for this purpose.

We encourage all attorneys working on direct appeals or post-conviction screenings to evaluate each case to determine whether post-conviction investigation would be helpful in developing grounds for new trial motion.  Private Investigators can locate and interview witnesses, locate documents or physical evidence, photograph or videotape evidence or geographic locations, and provide background information on relevant case witnesses, among other services.

To apply, please fill out this application and email it to

Although we may not be able to provide a Private Investigator for every case, we encourage attorneys to consider applying.  We will evaluate applications based on the following criteria:  the potential that the fruits of an investigation will provide meritorious grounds for a new trial motion; reasons why ex parte investigation is particularly necessary for the case or why seeking funds through the court is undesirable or unlikely to be successful; and the client’s belief why post-conviction investigation is necessary.


Information regarding class action relief for Dookhan and Farak defendants

If a client has had convictions vacated due to the misconduct at the Hinton and/or Amherst labs, they may be entitled to refunds of money paid due to those convictions.  The attorneys handling the class action seeking those refunds have asked that people go to the website that they have established:

Post-conviction checklists

The private counsel appeals division has created checklists attorneys should submit along with their request to close a screening or direct appeal.

Criminal Training Manual

Prepared by Murray Kohn and edited by Matt Harper-Nixon


Appeals Verification Form

Please use this form to request CLE credit for viewing pre-recording trainings or webinars.


Other divisions at CPCS can be helpful to panel attorneys in representing their clients.

The Immigration Impact Unit

Forensic Services

Training Unit


Resource Attorneys

Resource Attorneys are experienced post-conviction panel members who contract with CPCS to provide oversight and support to post-conviction panel members.   Among other duties, Resource Attorneys act as judges for moot arguments, hold weekly drop-in sessions and take advice calls from panel members.  A list of Resource Attorneys can be found below.



Suffolk County:

Josh Daniels

Michael Nam Krane

Middlesex and Essex Counties:

Philip Weber

Erin Opperman

Worcester, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire and Berkshire counties:

Debra Kornbluh

Murray Kohn

Norfolk, Plymouth, Bristol, Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket counties:

Alison Bancroft

Suzanne Renaud

Special Projects:

James McKenna

Edward Crane

Murder cases and federal habeas litigation:

 David Nathanson
(617) 248-1806

Cathryn Neaves
(978) 475-0609