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Ellis v. United States

U.S.
May 26, 1958
356 U.S. 674 (1958)

Summary

finding an appeal to be frivolous where it had no valid grounds on which it was based and equating "frivolous" to mean not "taken in good faith"

Summary of this case from Reddy v. Nuance Commc'ns, Inc.

Opinion

ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT.

No. 293, Misc.

Decided May 26, 1958.

The Court of Appeals denied petitioner leave to appeal in forma pauperis from his conviction for housebreaking and larceny. The Solicitor General concedes, and after examining the record this Court agrees, that the issue presented — probable cause to arrest — is not one that "can necessarily be characterized as frivolous." Held: The judgment is vacated and the cause is remanded for reconsideration in the light of this opinion. Pp. 674-675.

101 U.S.App.D.C. 386, 249 F.2d 478, judgment vacated and cause remanded.

Kingdon Gould, Jr. for petitioner.

Solicitor General Rankin, Acting Assistant Attorney General McLean and Beatrice Rosenberg for the United States.


The petition for writ of certiorari is granted, as is leave to proceed in forma pauperis.

The Court of Appeals denied petitioner leave to appeal in forma pauperis a conviction for housebreaking and larceny. 101 U.S.App.D.C. 386, 249 F.2d 478. The Solicitor General concedes that leave to appeal should have been allowed unless petitioner's contentions on the merits were frivolous. The only statutory requirement for the allowance of an indigent's appeal is the applicant's "good faith." 28 U.S.C. § 1915. In the absence of some evident improper motive, the applicant's good faith is established by the presentation of any issue that is not plainly frivolous. Farley v. United States, 354 U.S. 521. The good-faith test must not be converted into a requirement of a preliminary showing of any particular degree of merit. Unless the issues raised are so frivolous that the appeal would be dismissed in the case of a nonindigent litigant, Fed. Rules Crim. Proc. 39(a), the request of an indigent for leave to appeal in forma pauperis must be allowed.

Normally, allowance of an appeal should not be denied until an indigent has had adequate representation by counsel. Johnson v. United States, 352 U.S. 565. In this case, it appears that the two attorneys appointed by the Court of Appeals, performed essentially the role of amici curiae. But representation in the role of an advocate is required. If counsel is convinced, after conscientious investigation, that the appeal is frivolous, of course, he may ask to withdraw on that account. If the court is satisfied that counsel has diligently investigated the possible grounds of appeal, and agrees with counsel's evaluation of the case, then leave to withdraw may be allowed and leave to appeal may be denied. In this case, the Solicitor General concedes, and after examining the record we agree, that the issue presented — probable cause to arrest — is not one that "can necessarily be characterized as frivolous." Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is vacated, and the case is remanded for reconsideration in light of this opinion.


Summaries of

Ellis v. United States

U.S.
May 26, 1958
356 U.S. 674 (1958)

finding an appeal to be frivolous where it had no valid grounds on which it was based and equating "frivolous" to mean not "taken in good faith"

Summary of this case from Reddy v. Nuance Commc'ns, Inc.

finding an appeal to be frivolous where it had no valid grounds on which it was based and equating "frivolous" to mean not "taken in good faith"

Summary of this case from Nkwuo v. MetroPCS, Inc.

finding an appeal to be frivolous where it had no valid grounds on which it was based and equating "frivolous" to mean not "taken in good faith"

Summary of this case from Portnov v. Carnival Corp.

reversing denial of IFP where "the issue presented-probable cause to arrest-is not one that can necessarily be characterized as frivolous."

Summary of this case from Missud v. Nevada

reversing denial of IFP where "the issue presented—probable cause to arrest—is not one that can necessarily be characterized as frivolous."

Summary of this case from Fanslow v. Cnty. of Sonoma

In Ellis v. United States, 356 U.S. 674 (1958), we emphasized that a criminal appellant seeking to establish nonfrivolity under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 is entitled to more than appointed counsel's private view that his appeal would be worthless and that if counsel withdrew for that reason the Court of Appeals was duty bound to replace him.

Summary of this case from Cruz v. Hauck

In Ellis v. United States, 356 U.S. 674 (1958), the Court addressed only when leave to appeal may be denied to indigent defendants. The Court held that if defense counsel for an indigent defendant "is convinced, after conscientious investigation, that the appeal is frivolous, of course, he may ask to withdraw on that account."

Summary of this case from United States v. Sleugh

In Ellis v. United States, 356 U.S. 674, 78 S.Ct. 974, 2 L.Ed.2d 1060, (1958), the Supreme Court held that an indigent is entitled to representation by counsel acting as an advocate.

Summary of this case from Johnson v. United States

In Ellis v. United States, 356 U.S. 674, 675, 78 S.Ct. 974, 2 L.Ed.2d 1060, it was held that representation in the role of an advocate, rather than that of amicus curiae, is required.

Summary of this case from Schaber v. Maxwell

In Ellis v. United States, 356 U.S. 674, 675, 78 S.Ct. 974, 2 L.Ed.2d 1060 (1958), the Court held that the request of an indigent for leave to appeal in forma pauperis "must" be allowed unless the issues raised are so frivolous that the appeal would be dismissed in the case of a non-indigent litigant.

Summary of this case from Desmond v. United States

In Ellis v. United States, 1958, 356 U.S. 674, 675, 78 S.Ct. 974, 975, 2 L. Ed.2d 1060, the Supreme Court (per curiam) stated, "If counsel is convinced, after conscientious investigation, that the appeal is frivolous, of course, he may ask to withdraw on that account. If the court is satisfied that counsel has diligently investigated the possible grounds of appeal, and agrees with counsel's evaluation of the case, then leave to withdraw may be allowed and leave to appeal may be denied."

Summary of this case from United States v. Pravato

In Ellis v. United States, 356 U.S. 674, 675, 78 S.Ct. 974, 975, the Supreme Court said: "The only statutory requirement for the allowance of an indigent's appeal is the applicant's `good faith.' 28 U.S.C. § 1915, [ 28 U.S.C.A. § 1915].

Summary of this case from Whitt v. United States

noting that "[i]n the absence of some evident improper motive, the applicant's good faith is established by the presentation of any issue that is not plainly frivolous"

Summary of this case from Drevaleva v. Alameda Health Sys.

noting that "[i]n the absence of some evident improper motive, the applicant's good faith is established by the presentation of any issue that is not plainly frivolous"

Summary of this case from Daria v. Hurly

noting that "[i]n the absence of some evident improper motive, the applicant's good faith is established by the presentation of any issue that is not plainly frivolous"

Summary of this case from Wyrzykowski v. Cnty. of Marin

noting that "[i]n the absence of some evident improper motive, the applicant's good faith is established by the presentation of any issue that is not plainly frivolous"

Summary of this case from Gebramariam v. City of S.F.

noting that "[i]n the absence of some evident improper motive, the applicant's good faith is established by the presentation of any issue that is not plainly frivolous"

Summary of this case from Martin v. Miller

noting that "[i]n the absence of some evident improper motive, the applicant's good faith is established by the presentation of any issue that is not plainly frivolous"

Summary of this case from Heyward v. Cal. Highway Patrol

noting that "[i]n the absence of some evident improper motive, the applicant's good faith is established by the presentation of any issue that is not plainly frivolous"

Summary of this case from Rafael v. Donahoe

noting that "[i]n the absence of some evident improper motive, the applicant's good faith is established by the presentation of any issue that is not plainly frivolous"

Summary of this case from Perry v. United States

stating that, "[i]n the absence of some evident improper motive, the applicant's good faith is established by the presentation of any issue that is not plainly frivolous"

Summary of this case from Hurt v. All Sweepstakes Contests

stating that, "[i]n the absence of some evident improper motive, the applicant's good faith is established by the presentation of any issue that is not plainly frivolous"

Summary of this case from Hurt v. Am. Governors

stating that, "[i]n the absence of some evident improper motive, the applicant's good faith is established by the presentation of any issue that is not plainly frivolous"

Summary of this case from In re Guancione

In Ellis v. United States, 356 U.S. 674 (1958), the Supreme Court held that the request of an indigent for leave to appeal in forma pauperis must be allowed unless the issues raised are so frivolous that the appeal would be dismissed in the case of a non-indigent litigant.

Summary of this case from U.S. v. Frost

explaining that counsel may ask to withdraw, if after a conscientious investigation, he is convinced that client's appeal is frivolous, and court may grant request, if satisfied that counsel has diligently investigated possible grounds of appeal and agrees with counsel's evaluation of case

Summary of this case from Com. v. Santiago
Case details for

Ellis v. United States

Case Details

Full title:ELLIS v . UNITED STATES

Court:U.S.

Date published: May 26, 1958

Citations

356 U.S. 674 (1958)
78 S. Ct. 974

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