Nichols v. State

In Nichols v. State, 425 P.2d 247 (Alaska 1967) the Court held that an indigent defendant seeking post-conviction relief was entitled to counsel at public expense to assist them at the evidentiary hearing on their petition. Id. at 255. The following year (1968), the holding in Nichols was codified in former Criminal Rule 35(f) (enacted by Supreme Court Order No. 98, page 12): Indigent Applicant. If the applicant for post-conviction relief is indigent, and the court determines that the application shall not be summarily disposed of on the pleadings and the existing record ..., but that the issues raised by the application require an evidentiary hearing, counsel shall be appointed to assist the indigent applicant. Thus, after the decision in Nichols and the enactment of Criminal Rule 35(f), Alaska law clearly provided that an indigent petitioner for post-conviction relief was entitled to the assistance of counsel at public expense -- but only after the trial court concluded that the petition presented a prima facie case for relief.