Legal Resources | | PC 1240.1
Appeal when arguably meritorious grounds exist
(a) In any noncapital criminal, juvenile court, or civil commitment case wherein the defendant would be entitled to the appointment of counsel on appeal if indigent, it shall be the duty of the attorney who represented the person at trial to provide counsel and advice as to whether arguably meritorious grounds exist for reversal or modification of the judgment on appeal. The attorney shall admonish the defendant that he or she is not able to provide advice concerning his or her own competency, and that the State Public Defender or other counsel should be consulted for advice as to whether an issue regarding the competency of counsel should be raised on appeal. The trial court may require trial counsel to certify that he or she has counseled the defendant as to whether arguably meritorious grounds for appeal exist at the time a notice of appeal is filed. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent any person having a right to appeal from doing so.
(b) It shall be the duty of every attorney representing an indigent defendant in any criminal, juvenile court, or civil commitment case to execute and file on his or her client's behalf a timely notice of appeal when the attorney is of the opinion that arguably meritorious grounds exist for a reversal or modification of the judgment or orders to be appealed from, and where, in the attorney's judgment, it is in the defendant's interest to pursue any relief that may be available to him or her on appeal; or when directed to do so by a defendant having a right to appeal.
With the notice of appeal the attorney shall file a brief statement of the points to be raised on appeal and a designation of any document, paper, pleading, or transcript of oral proceedings necessary to properly present those points on appeal when the document, paper, pleading, or transcript of oral proceedings would not be included in the normal record on appeal according to the applicable provisions of the California Rules of Court. The executing of the notice of appeal by the defendant's attorney shall not constitute an undertaking to represent the defendant on appeal unless the undertaking is expressly stated in the notice of appeal.
If the defendant was represented by appointed counsel on the trial level, or if it appears that the defendant will request the appointment of counsel on appeal by reason of indigency, the trial attorney shall also assist the defendant in preparing and submitting a motion for the appointment of counsel and any supporting declaration or affidavit as to the defendant's financial condition. These documents shall be filed with the trial court at the time of filing a notice of appeal, and shall be transmitted by the clerk of the trial court to the clerk of the appellate court within three judicial days of their receipt. The appellate court shall act upon that motion without unnecessary delay. An attorney's failure to file a motion for the appointment of counsel with the notice of appeal shall not foreclose the defendant from filing a motion at any time it becomes known to him or her that the attorney has failed to do so, or at any time he or she shall become indigent if he or she was not previously indigent.
(c) The State Public Defender shall, at the request of any attorney representing a prospective indigent appellant or at the request of the prospective indigent appellant himself or herself, provide counsel and advice to the prospective indigent appellant or attorney as to whether arguably meritorious grounds exist on which the judgment or order to be appealed from would be reversed or modified on appeal.
(d) The failure of a trial attorney to perform any duty prescribed in this section, assign any particular point or error in the notice of appeal, or designate any particular thing for inclusion in the record on appeal shall not foreclose any defendant from filing a notice of appeal on his or her own behalf or from raising any point or argument on appeal; nor shall it foreclose the defendant or his or her counsel on appeal from requesting the augmentation or correction of the record on appeal in the reviewing court.
(e) (1) In order to expedite certification of the entire record on appeal in all capital cases, the defendant's trial counsel, whether retained by the defendant or court-appointed, and the prosecutor shall continue to represent the respective parties. Each counsel's obligations extend to taking all steps necessary to facilitate the preparation and timely certification of the record of all trial court proceedings.
(2) The duties imposed on trial counsel in paragraph (1) shall not foreclose the defendant's appellate counsel from requesting additions or corrections to the record on appeal in either the trial court or the California Supreme Court in a manner provided by rules of court adopted by the Judicial Council.
(Amended by Stats. 2003, Ch. 62, Sec. 232.)