Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Dismissal of Appellate Counsel

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//May 30, 2023

Dismissal of Appellate Counsel

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//May 30, 2023

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: United States of America v. Scott Njos

Case No.: 21-3412

Officials: Hamilton, Kirsch, and Jackson-Akiwumi, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Dismissal of Appellate Counsel

In 2007, appellant Scott Njos pleaded guilty to six federal crimes arising from robberies of several stores and a bank, and for attempted escape and assault of an FBI agent after his arrest. See 18 U.S.C. §§ 2113(a), 1951(a), 751(a), and 111(a). Following two appeals, the district court eventually sentenced Njos to 170 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release for each count, to be served concurrently.

Counsel in criminal appeals and their clients sometimes disagree about which issues to raise on appeal. Unresolved disagreements can pose problems for defendants, their lawyers, and the appellate court. This appeal presents an unusual version of those problems. The Seventh Circuit helped create the problem when it denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss his appellate counsel and allowed a form of “hybrid” representation on appeal by allowing appellant to file his own brief. The Seventh Circuit has previously ruled that such hybrid representation is “forbidden” on appeal. United States v. Oreye, 263 F.3d 669, 672–73 (7th Cir. 2001). Such hybrid representation may work in some cases, but not when the client expressly disavows the one argument raised by counsel. So, with thanks to counsel, the Seventh Circuit revisits appellant’s motion to dismiss his counsel, grant it now, and affirms on the merits of the issues that appellant wished to raise.

Affirmed.

Decided 05/22/23

Full Text

Polls

Should Justice Protasiewicz recuse herself on gerrymandering cases that go before the Wisconsin Supreme Court?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Legal News

See All Legal News

WLJ People

Sea all WLJ People

Opinion Digests