7th Circuit orders new defense counsel

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In an order handed down late Monday afternoon, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals relieved a court-appointed defense counsel from representing his client and will appoint new counsel in a future order.

In United States of America v. Shaaban Hafiz Ahmad Ali Shaaban, No. 06-2801, Shaaban had been convicted in the Southern District of Indiana of various offenses related to trying to sell the names of CIA agents working covertly in Iraq to the Iraqi Intelligence Service. Shaaban was sentenced to 160 months in prison.

He appealed, but his appointed counsel sought to withdraw because he believed any issue raised on appeal would be frivolous. The 7th Circuit Court denied the motion and ordered counsel to address whether the District Court miscalculated the guideline range to sentence Shaaban.

Just before the 7th Circuit affirmed the sentence, the defense counsel sent a letter to Shaaban stating if the appeal was denied, the counsel would "argue for a rehearing and the appeal would not be final until rehearing were denied." Shaaban received another letter from his counsel just after the deadline to file a petition for rehearing lapsed, saying his sentence had been affirmed, but counsel made no mention of filing for a rehearing.

Shaaban filed a motion to recall the mandate because he believed his attorney did not follow through on his promise to file a rehearing request and Shaaban should be allowed to file one, even though the deadline had passed.

The appointed counsel was ordered to respond to the motion and stated he believed the affirmation and decision of the 7th Circuit on the case left him with only a frivolous appeal. He conceded he erred in not explaining to Shaaban his reasons for not filing for a rehearing and would file a petition for rehearing if the court deemed it necessary.

But the federal appellate court relieved the appointed counsel of his duties, finding he failed to communicate with Shaaban and already formed an opinion that the petition for rehearing was not necessary. In order to ensure full protection of Shaaban's right to counsel, new counsel will be appointed in a separate order, wrote Judge Kenneth Ripple. The newly appointed counsel shall file either a petition for rehearing or a motion to withdraw on the ground that any such petition would be frivolous and must do so within 30 days of appointment.

If the new counsel wants to withdraw because no nonfrivolous issue can be raised in a petition for rehearing, then Shaaban can file a response pursuant to 7th Circuit Rule 51(b).


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.