Your Attorney for Federal and State Appeals
Attorney Scott M. Davidson
“At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice, he is the worst.”
Aristotle (384-322 BCE)
Scott M. Davidson has an extensive background of appellate and post-conviction litigation experience in federal and state courts on behalf of clients from across the United States and beyond. Mr. Davidson’s domestic clients hale from virtually every state, while a list of his international clients would include citizens of Cuba, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Mexico, Nigeria, and Vietnam.
In 2005, Mr. Davidson founded Just Appeals, a boutique law firm of national scope, headquartered in the Southwest, focusing on criminal appeals, post-conviction proceedings, complex federal multi-defendant criminal cases, Title III electronic surveillance litigation, expungement of criminal records, executive clemency proceedings, and immigration appeals in EOIR.
Mr. Davidson’s legal experience spans two decades of federal and state trial and appellate litigation. In 1996, he had the honor of being selected as a judicial law clerk at the Supreme Court of New Mexico, working with Justices Pamela Minzner, Richard Ransom, and Daniel McKinnon. From 1998 to 2000, Mr. Davidson litigated federal multi-district civil class-action anti-trust and securities cases while an associate at Freedman Boyd Daniels Hollander Goldberg & Cline PA. From 2000 to 2005, he litigated appellate and post-conviction cases on behalf of indigent federal defendants at the Office of the Federal Public Defender.
In New Mexico, Mr. Davidson has practiced criminal law at all levels, with a focus on appellate and post-conviction proceedings. His federal criminal practice includes trial and post-conviction cases in the District of New Mexico (Albuquerque, Las Cruces, and Santa Fe), Southern District of Texas (Houston), Western District of Texas (El Paso), District of Colorado (Denver), District of Wyoming (Casper), and District of Maine (Portland). Mr. Davidson’s federal appellate practice includes dozens of appellate cases in the Tenth Circuit (Denver, Colorado), as well as cases in the Ninth Circuit (San Francisco, California), Fifth Circuit (New Orleans, Louisiana), and the United States Supreme Court.
Mr. Davidson has been part of ground-breaking decisions in federal and state appellate courts. He has been counsel of record, or amicus counsel, in published appellate cases involving criminal law issues of first impression in the Tenth Circuit, the New Mexico Court of Appeals and the New Mexico Supreme Court. Mr. Davidson has argued dozens of appellate criminal and civil cases in federal and state appellate courts.
Mr. Davidson has been recently named one of the Top Lawyers in New Mexico, Highest in Ethical Standards and Professional Excellence, by The Legal Network. In 2016, he received the 10 Best Client Satisfaction Award by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys. The judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit appointed him to serve as a member of the Standing Committee for the Criminal Justice Act Panel for the Tenth Circuit. He was chosen to serve as Chair of the New Mexico State Bar Appellate Practice Section.
Mr. Davidson holds advanced degrees from Yale University (Ph.D., M.A., M. Phil.) and the University of New Mexico School of Law (J.D.). He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Trinity University, and also studied at Macalester College, a language institute in France, and King’s College London.
Mr. Davidson’s scholarly approach to the law is grounded in his extensive educational background and more than a dozen years of teaching experience in law and philosophy at Yale University, the University of South Carolina, and the University of New Mexico. At the University of New Mexico School of Law, he taught upper-level courses on appellate and post-conviction law and procedure. Over the last two decades, Mr. Davidson has contributed to professional publications and presented at legal seminars on a variety of topics in criminal law, civil law, immigration law, and related fields.
- Supreme Court of the United States
- United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
- United States District Court for the District of Colorado
- United States District Court for the District of New Mexico
- District of Maine (pro hac vice)
- District of Wyoming (pro hac vice)
- Western District of Texas (pro hac vice)
- United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
- State of New Mexico
- Yale University, Ph.D, M. Phil, M.A., 1991
- University of New Mexico, J.D., 1996
- Trinity University, B.A., 1984
- Institut Méditerranéen, Fabrégues, France, 1986
- King’s College, University of London, London, England, 1983
- Macalester College, Saint Paul, Minnesota, 1980-81
- Board Member, Ghost Ranch Governing Board, Presbyterian Church U.S.A., 2007-2013
- Board Member, New Mexico Innocence and Justice project, 2008 to present
- Chair, State Bar of New Mexico Appellate Practice Section, 2009
- Board Member, State Bar of New Mexico Appellate Practice Section, 2007-2012
- Chair, State Bar of New Mexico Appellate Practice Institute Committee, 2007
- Barrister, H. Vearle Payne American Inn of Court, 2008-2012
- Benefactor and Member, New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, 1998 to present
- Member, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 2005 to present
- Past Member, Association of Trial Lawyers of America
- Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association
Just Appeals, The Appellate Law Office of Scott M. Davidson, Ph.D., Esq., LLC, Attorney at Law, Albuquerque, NM, 2005 to present
Private practice focusing on appellate and habeas corpus litigation in federal and state courts; appointed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit to serve on the Tenth Circuit CJA Standing Committee as the representative from New Mexico; member of the Criminal Justice Act Appellate Attorney Panel for the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit; member of Criminal Justice Act Appellate and Habeas Corpus Panels for the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico; immigration appeals before the Board of Immigration Appeals, Executive Office for Immigration Review, United States Department of Justice; expungement of arrest records and criminal charges in dismissed cases; executive clemency cases involving pardon or commutation
Editor, THE ELECTRONIC DIGEST OF NEW MEXICO CASES, 2007-2010
Co-editor of www.appealsdigestnewmexico.com, a quarterly online legal database containing concise summaries of appellate cases from New Mexico’s appellate courts
Editor, New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association’s Online Library of Briefs, 2008-2009
Co-editor of online legal database of briefs, legal memoranda, and motions prepared by New Mexico criminal defense practitioners
Research and Writing Specialist, Federal Public Defender, Albuquerque, NM, 2000-2005
Federal criminal appeals to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals; federal habeas corpus petitions and briefs in federal district court; certiorari petitions to the United States Supreme Court; complex motions and briefs in federal district court; complex sentencing memoranda in federal district court; presentations to federal criminal defense lawyers on new developments in federal criminal law and procedure, federal criminal appeals, federal habeas corpus law, and federal constitutional law
Associate, Freedman Boyd Daniels Hollander Goldberg & Cline, P.A., Albuquerque, NM, 1998-2000
Federal multi-district anti-trust and securities litigation; civil rights litigation; state civil appeals; briefing in federal and state civil and criminal cases
Judicial Law Clerk, Supreme Court of New Mexico, Santa Fe, NM, 1996-1998
Judicial law clerk to the Honorable Justice Richard Ransom (1996-97), the Honorable Justice Pamela Minzner (1997), and the Honorable Dan A. MacKinnon, III (1997-98). Drafted judicial opinions on constitutional, criminal, and civil matters; wrote bench memoranda on certiorari petitions, oral arguments, etc.
University of New Mexico School of Law, Albuquerque, NM, 1994-96, 2006-08, 2010-12
Appellate Law in Practice (2010-12): Taught hybrid upper-level seminars involving appellate representation of indigent criminal defendants seeking review of convictions in the appellate courts of New Mexico
Innocence and Justice (2006-08): Taught hybrid upper-level seminars involving investigation of claims of actual innocence of indigent criminal defendants incarcerated in New Mexico Department of Corrections, and seeking exoneration in the state courts of New Mexico
Legal Research, Reasoning and Writing (1994-95): Tutored first-year law students in the technique of writing objective legal memoranda; worked with Professor Robert Schwartz and Visiting Professor Melissa Harrison
Advocacy (1995-96): Tutored first-year law students in the technique of writing persuasive motions and appellate briefs; worked with Professor Michael Browde and Professor Ruth Kovnat
University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, 1991-93
Taught graduate seminars, upper-level undergraduate courses, and large introductory-level undergraduate courses in philosophy, formal logic, political theory, history of political philosophy, contemporary moral issues, and ethical theory
Yale University, 1985-91
Taught undergraduate courses in contemporary moral issues; teaching fellow in Bass Writing Program for philosophy courses; teaching fellow for courses in logic, history of philosophy, ethics, and political philosophy