Sunday, December 8, 2013

Clark v. Jeter case brief

Clark v. Jeter case brief summary
486 U.S. 455 (1988)

Defendant was convicted of abduction and sexual assault. Defendant was appointed counsel for his appeal, who attempted to withdraw because he determined that the appeal was frivolous. Wis. R. App. P. 809.32 (Rule) required that a no-merit brief be filed accompanied by the attorney's discussion of why the issue lacked merit. Defendant challenged the Rule's constitutionality in the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which was upheld, and defendant appealed.

Defendant made two basic attacks on the Rule: he argued that it discriminated against the indigent defendant and that it violated his right pursuant to the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to effective representation by an advocate.

  • On appeal, the Court held that the Rule was fully consistent with the objectives that were served by requiring that a motion to withdraw be accompanied by a brief referring to all claims that might arguably support the appeal. 
  • The Rule did not place counsel in the role of amicus curiae. 
  • The Court also did not find that the Wisconsin Rule burdened an indigent defendant's right to effective representation on appeal or to due process on appeal. 
  • The Wisconsin Rule did no injury to that purpose, nor did it diminish any right a defendant had under state law to an appeal on the merits. 
  • The attorney's obligations as an advocate were not diminished by the additional requirement imposed by the Wisconsin Rule. 
  • The attorney still was to provide his or her client precisely the services that an affluent defendant could obtain from paid counsel, a thorough review of the record and a discussion of the strongest arguments revealed by that review.

The Court affirmed the judgment.

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