A new opinion by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit clarified the “paradox” surrounding an attorney’s obligation to file an Anders brief when withdrawing from representing a criminal defendant, but ultimately determined that the adequacy of the briefs must be determined on a case-by-case basis.

According to the precedential Nov. 7 opinion, the required brief for withdrawing from representing a criminal defendant stems from an “edict” issued by the U.S. Supreme Court in Anders v. California under which “precedent and our Local Rules require counsel to identify all issues that might ‘arguably support’ the defendant’s appeal.” However, according to the opinion, the Third Circuit previously advised that counsel need not raise every frivolous issue.

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