The Court of Appeals Clarified the Standards used in Evaluating Anders Briefs Filed by Defense Counsel

Seventh Circuit Criminal Case Summaries: Appellate Procedure

United States v. Bey, No. 13-1163. In a rare published opinion after the filing of an Anders brief, the Court of Appeals further defined two terms or phrases that are commonly used in decisions from Anders briefs. The first was the meanings of the terms “frivolous” and “nonfrivolous,” which the Court defined as issues “so clearly blocked by statute, regulation, binding, or unquestioned precedent, or some other authoritative source of law that they can be rejected summarily.” The Court also expanded on the phrase “facially adequate” when used to describe the attorney’s Anders brief. By “facially adequate,” the Court means “the brief appears to be a competent effort to determine whether the defendant has any grounds for appealing [and] that the issues discussed in the brief are the only serious candidates for appellate review.” The Court stated the language should be “Counsel has submitted a brief that explains the nature of the case and addresses the issues that a case of this kind might be expected to involve. Because the analysis in the brief appears to be thorough, we limited our review to the subjects that counsel has discussed, plus any additional issues that the defendant, disagreeing with counsel, believes have merit.”