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Name: People v. Freeman
Case #: B237613
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 10/15/2013

Where the court determines that an appellant has been deprived of effective assistance by appellate counsel, the court can remove the attorney from the case. Appellant, having been sentenced to a 15-year-to-life term plus a determinate term, was represented on his appeal by retained counsel. Counsel filed opening briefs that did not comply with the Rules of Court because they failed to set forth comprehensible statements, issues presented, and the applicable law. With the first three briefs, counsel was provided the opportunity to file an opening brief that conformed to the Rules. Because the fourth brief also violated the Rules, the appellate court found that the briefing unreasonably interfered with and disrupted the orderly process of the appeal and, as a result, appellant was denied the effective assistance of counsel to which he was legally entitled. Appellant’s continued retention of counsel of choice would significantly prejudice him by impeding his right to appellate review. Accordingly, the court relieved retained counsel and referred the matter to an appellate project to determine if appellant was eligible for appointed counsel.