People v. Arjune

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.

Brief filed: 08/30/2017


People v. Arjune

New York Court of Appeals; Case No. APL-2016-00153

Prior Decision

Decision below 138 A.D. 3d 877 (2nd Dep’t. 2016).


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.

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Eamon P. Joyce, Ariel Atlas, and Zachary Payne, Sidley Austin LLP, New York, NY; Richard D. Willstatter, NACDL, White Plains, NY.