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Practicing in Northern Nevada for Over 20 Years

Richard F. Cornell, aka Rick Cornell, is one of the few Nevada lawyers whose practice emphasizes appeals and post-conviction practice. In active practice in Nevada continuously since 1980, over the years his practice has winnowed into an appellate practice of criminal and domestic appeals before the Ninth Circuit and the Nevada Supreme Court, and a post-conviction habeas practice in state and federal courts. Mr. Cornell also is regularly associated with a handful of very successful northern Nevada lawyers in the writing of pre-trial, trial and pre-sentencing memoranda. He also handles applications for commutations of sentences and pardons before the Nevada Pardons Board. 

The Martindale-Hubbell listing contains some of the important cases Mr. Cornell has won over the years. The list does not represent every case he has won, and is not meant to imply that he wins every case or even most of the cases he takes. 

The sad reality is that any appeal has about a 10% chance of success, and a post-conviction petition less than that. There are a number of reasons why. Consequently, Mr. Cornell is selective in the cases he takes. 

But this statistic might explain why there are so few lawyers who practice in this area of law. Lawyers are competitive by nature. They like to win. An area of law with these kinds of odds is an area from which lawyers tend to shy away. Plus, this area of practice is one of the least lucrative areas of practice of law. 

Mr. Cornell responds: “Call me stubborn. Call me perverse. Or call me a taxi. But I demand accountability out of the system of justice. In a day and age where tempering justice with mercy is deemed ‘politically incorrect’ and ‘the powers that be’ seem hell-bent on pandering to the ‘hypothetical soccer moms’ out there, somebody has to call for our courts to look carefully, not cynically, at those insisting that the Federal Constitution be honored. And that ‘somebody’ is I.” 

In hiring an attorney to handle a criminal appeal or writ, you want somebody who:

  • Writes succinctly, yet thoroughly and powerfully;
  • Can spot the best legal issues and showcase them;
  • Can preserve the issue(s) in such a way that they can properly be re-raised in a Federal habeas writ petition, if necessary;
  • Has researched, knows, and has pointed out the applicable law to the court, right up to the time the case is submitted;
  • Doesn’t waste the court’s time with frivolous junk;
  • Is fully prepared, and has looked at everything necessary to present the case in its best possible light;
  • Can speak well and present the case logically at oral argument, answering questions promptly and accurately without losing train of thought; and
  • Doesn’t overbill or waste the client’s money.