Brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Amicus Curiae in support of appellant.
Argument: Because Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(7) is not jurisdictional, it must be construed in favor of preserving a party’s right to appeal. Parties must have clear notice of the event that starts the clock running for filing a notice of appeal. Construing Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(7) as starting the time running for the filing of a notice of appeal before the decision appealed from is available to the appellant thwarts appellant’s ability to consult with his counsel and to make an informed decision whether to take an appeal.
Brief for Amici Curiae National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Chief Defenders Association of New York in Support of Defendant-Appellant.
Argument: This Court should hold that counsel who, like Mr. Arjune’s counsel, abandon their clients rather than perfecting their appeals or apprising them of their right to substitute counsel are ineffective. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that criminal defendants have a constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel during appeals as of right, and this Court has held that such defendants are entitled to “meaningful representation” during such appeals. Counsel was ineffective by abandoning Mr. Arjune after noticing his appeal without ensuring that new counsel was substituted and without even apprising his client of his right to counsel on appeals. Requiring an attorney who notices an appeal to assist his or her client in obtaining substitute counsel for the appeal both ensures that the guarantee of effective assistance is fulfilled and is administratively workable.