In its 1967 decision in Anders v. California, the U.S. Supreme Court held that appellate counsel appointed to represent convicted criminal defendants must either brief the appeal on the merits or demonstrate that there is no nonfrivolous issue for appeal. The Anders procedure is designed to protect the right to effective appellate counsel, but it suffers from inherent problems for all concerned—counsel, the appellate court, and the client. Most fundamentally, the Anders procedure requires lawyers to brief the case against their clients in order to secure permission to withdraw and places undue burden on appellate courts to ensure adequate representation. This GEM explains these problems and offers a proposal to revise the Anders procedure to resolve them.
Andrew S. Pollis has been a Professor of Law at the Case Western University School of Law since 2008, following an 18-year career in private practice at the Cleveland law firm of Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP. He has argued in numerous state and federal appellate courts across the country and has had two cases in the United States Supreme Court. Professor Pollis has published articles on various aspects of appellate jurisdiction and has co-authored (with retired Judge Mark Painter) the last 13 annual editions of Ohio Appellate Practice(Thomson/West). His recent article about Anders “no-merit” briefs is available in the Akron Law Review.
Note to Viewers: This video is made available to promote education and discussion on issues related to state intermediate courts of appeal. The views expressed in the video, however, are strictly those of the Presenter and do not reflect any opinion of the Council or its members on any issue.