Abstract

ANDERS IN THE FIFTY STATES: SOME APPELLANTS' EQUAL PROTECTION IS MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS'

MARTHA C. WARNER

Copyright 1996 Florida State University Law Review

A continuing source of frustration for the appellate judge is the review of appeals by indigent defendants whose appointed counsel can find no meritorious issues and files what is referred to as an Anders brief, required by the U.S. Supreme Court's holding in Anders v. California. These appeals raise several problems for the appellate court. They require the devotion of court resources and time to appeals already deemed by counsel to have no merit; they require the court to review the record much more meticulously than in appeals raising meritorious issues; and they demand that the court raise, sua sponte, any issues that it deems arguably meritorious, even when counsel has not briefed those issues. In this respect, the appellate court treats this class of appeals in a significantly different way from other appeals. Because of these and other difficulties, several state appellate courts have adopted alternative procedures to avoid the Anders dilemma, while others have struggled with its application. The purpose of this Article is to examine what Anders and its progeny have required of state appellate courts, to determine how Anders has been applied in those courts, and to suggest some solutions to the problems Anders raises for the courts.


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