Doherty v. United States/Opinion of the Court

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United States Supreme Court

404 U.S. 28

Doherty  v.  United States

Applicant Doherty was convicted in federal court of smuggling marihuana. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed, 441 F.2d 1168. Doherty's retained counsel, who had represented him both at trial and on appeal, withdrew after the appellate decision because Doherty was without funds to pay for legal services. Without opinion the Court of Appeals denied Doherty's pro se motion for appointment of counsel to assist in preparing a petition for writ of certiorari. Doherty has now filed a motion in this Court seeking appointment of counsel for that purpose. We treat the motion for appointment of counsel as a petition for writ of certiorari seeking review of the Court of Appeals' order denying the appointment.

The Court of Appeals has a rule that counsel appointed for indigent appellants must, after adverse decision in the Court of Appeals, inform his client of the right to seek review in this Court and, if the client so desires, prepare a petition for certiorari. [*] In denying Doherty's motion for counsel, the Court of Appeals apparently determined that its rule was of no help to Doherty, whose counsel had been retained rather than appointed. We defer to that court's construction of its own rule. However, it is not clear that the court also considered Doherty's motion in the light of the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act of 1964 insofar as they may be relevant to a federal prisoner's right to have counsel's help in seeking certiorari in this Court. 18 U.S.C. §§ 3006A(c), 3006A(d)(6), 3006A(g). See also H.R.Rep.No.1709, 88th Cong., 2d Sess., 7 (1964); U.S.Code Cong. & Admin.News 1964, p. 2990; Report of the Proceedings of a Special Session of the Judicial Conference of the United States, 36 F.R.D. 282, 291 (1965); Fed.Rule Crim.Proc. 44(a). In order that the Court of Appeals may give further consideration to the request for counsel, Doherty's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is granted, the petition for certiorari is granted, the judgment of the Court of Appeals affirming Doherty's conviction and its order denying appointment of counsel are vacated, and the case is remanded to that court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion, including re-entry of its judgment of affirmance and appropriate reconsideration of the motion for appointment of counsel.

So ordered.

Vacated and remanded.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).