Arizona Anders Brief
The Supreme Court established the Anders procedure to ensure substantial equality and fair process when defense counsel concludes that the client's appeal is "wholly frivolous." Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 87 S. Ct. 1396, 18 L. Ed. 2d 493 (1967)
In such cases, counsel should advise the appellate court of this conclusion and request permission to withdraw along with providing a brief referring to portions of the record that "might arguably support the appeal." Anders, 386 U.S. at 744.
If the court agrees with counsel's determination, it may grant the withdrawal request and either dismiss the appeal or, if state law requires, make a decision on the merits. Anders, 386 U.S. at 744.
If the court "finds any of the legal points arguable on their merits (and therefore not frivolous) it must, prior to decision, afford the indigent the assistance of counsel to argue the appeal." Id.
In Arizona, we do not require defense counsel to list non-meritorious arguments in an Anders brief to alert us to issues that "might arguably support the appeal." Anders, 386 U.S. at 744; State v. Clark, 196 Ariz. 530, 2 P.3d 89 (App. 1999).
It is sufficient that counsel sets forth a detailed factual and procedural background of the case with appropriate record citations so we can ensure no non-frivolous issues exist as well as determine that counsel made a thorough review of the record. Clark, 196 Ariz. at 538 32-33, 2 P.3d at 97.
The court reviews any possible issues made apparent from the factual and procedural recitation, 1 and it also reviews any issues as requested by the defendant.
If no non-frivolous issues are discovered from that review, the court then conducts its own review of the entire record for reversible error. Id. at 537, 30, 2 P.3d at 96.
If an arguable issue is found, the court issues a "Penson order" and directs appointed counsel and the State to brief the issue; a decision is subsequently rendered by the court. Id.
If no issue is found, the court affirms and permits defense counsel to withdraw. Id.