Who We Are
We provide zealous, client-focused legal representation to individuals throughout the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia. We pride ourselves on our dedication to our clients and our unyielding work ethic. The firm focuses on post-sentencing criminal practice: appeals, post convictions, petitions for writ of actual innocence, federal habeas, motions for modification of sentence motion to correct illegal sentence, motions for drug treatment and parole hearings. At the Law Offices of Erica J. Suter, LLC, we know that no one cares more about your case than you. We make sure that you are fully informed of any developments in your case and we are always available to answer your questions and explain the process. As a client of this firm, you will never be “just another case.” With many of our clients facing life sentences, we know the stakes could not be higher. We bring to bear our experience, skills, and creativity to every case as if it is our only case.
Erica J. Suter
Erica J. Suter is a Post-Conviction and Appellate Criminal Defense Attorney practicing throughout Maryland and DC. She blogs on the subject and has been quoted in People.com, Rollingstone.com, Fox45, WBAL, and ABC News Australia. Since establishing her firm in 2011, the life sentences of ten of her clients have been modified or vacated. She has also obtained significant relief for clients who were serving a term of years. Ms. Suter previously practiced law at Maryland law firm, Bennett & Bair, LLC, where she focused exclusively on criminal defense, specifically, collateral review and appeals. Prior to joining Bennett & Bair, LLC, she worked for Williams & Connolly, LLP. She has been selected to the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s Best Lawyers Under 40, as a Super Lawyer Rising Star (Washington, DC and Maryland), for membership in the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Lawyers, and as a Maryland Top 40 Under 40 Criminal Defense Lawyer. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Maryland Criminal Defense Attorneys Association and on APABA-DC’s Nominations Committee. She earned her JD from Georgetown University, her MA from the University of Chicago, and her BA from Bates College (with honors). She is admitted in Maryland, DC, Illinois (inactive), and the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.
Teaching and Publications
Ms. Suter taught legal research and writing as an adjunct professor at the University of the District of Columbia’s David A. Clarke School of Law.
“Unger v. State, Court of Appeals Decision Vacates Defendant’s 1976 Conviction and Life Sentence” MCDAA Quarterly, Winter 2012-2013.
“Accountability for Terrorism” Accountability for Atrocities (International and Comparative Criminal Law Series), published in 2003.
Areas of Practice
- Post Conviction Petitions
- Motions to Reopen
- Petitions for Writ of Actual Innocence
- Motions to Correct Illegal Sentence
- Appeal to the Court of Special Appeals
- Petitions for Writ of Certiorari to Court of Appeals
- Motions for Modification of Sentence
- Motions to Reconsider Sentence
- Motions for Drug Treatment
- Parole Presentations
- Petitions for Writ of Error Coram Nobis
What We Think
Maryland Post Conviction Blog
It is our opinion that, if McClain’s testimony had been presented to the jury, it would have “alter[ed] the entire evidentiary picture,” because her testimony would have placed Syed at the Woodlawn Public Library at the time the State claimed that Syed murdered Hae. See Strickland, 466 U.S. at 696. Such testimony would have directly[…]
Part 1: Syed v. State: The Significance of the Latest Decision by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals
Because Syed has proven the performance and prejudice prongs of the Strickland test, we conclude that his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel has been established. Accordingly, Syed’s murder conviction must be vacated, and because Syed’s convictions for kidnapping, robbery, and false imprisonment are predicated on his commission of Hae’s murder, these convictions must be[…]
I wanted to get this out sooner, but I’ve been swamped with my own cases. By now, much has already been written and discussed regarding oral argument in State v. Syed. Journalists published their articles that day and you can now purchase an audio of the arguments from the Court of Special Appeals and draw your own conclusions. So, I’ll try and narrow my focus a bit. […]
As you know, on June 30, 2016, the post conviction court vacated Adnan Syed’s convictions and granted him a new trial. The post conviction court found that Syed’s trial counsel’s failure to cross examine the State’s expert on the unreliability of incoming call cell phone data was deficient and that that error created a substantial possibility that the result of the trial would have been different. […]
95% of felony convictions in the United States are obtained through guilty pleas according to a campaign by the Innocence Project and Innocence Network that you can read more about here. 22 states and the District of Columbia expressly permit those who have entered guilty pleas to seek DNA testing to prove their innocence. Maryland[…]
If you were convicted following a trial in a circuit court in Maryland, you have a direct right of appeal. That means that the next highest court above the trial court, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, must hear your case if you file your appeal within your filing deadline. You have thirty days from[…]
Under Maryland Rule 4-345(a) an illegal sentence may be corrected at any time. You file a Motion to Correct Illegal Sentence in the court where your trial or plea took place. It is typically ruled on by the judge who heard your case or the judge who inherits your sentencing judge’s docket. You are not[…]
UPDATE: A 7th Circuit panel of three judges granted the State’s emergency motion to block Brendan Dassey’s release. The order indicates that Mr. Dassey will remain incarcerated pending the outcome of the appeal. I can’t imagine what Mr. Dassey and his family must feel like right now. Today the Court Ordered Brendan Dassey released no[…]
There has been much paper pushed back and forth as of late in the battle to secure Adnan Syed a new trial. In this post I’m going to walk you through what has been filed and what to expect next. Without requiring you to read all the way to the end to learn the bottom line- though I’d love it if you would- I think we can expect one more filing from the State. If you want to view all of the key documents, Undisclosed Wiki is a great resource. […]
I was recently asked to comment on the reversal of Brendan Dassey’s conviction. See my comments in Rolling Stone and People.