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United States v. Ramirez

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS


April 7, 2009

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ISRAEL RAMIREZ, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Phil Gilbert District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This matter comes before the Court on defendant Israel Ramirez's motion for leave to proceed on appeal in forma pauperis (Doc.42). Ramirez has filed a notice of appeal of his criminal conviction. In the motion, Ramirez's counsel also seeks leave to withdraw and to have another counsel appointed for Ramirez's appeal.

Ramirez does not need the Court's permission to proceed on appeal in forma pauperis because the Court determined at the trial level that he was financially unable to obtain an adequate defense, see Doc. 8, although he eventually did retain private counsel. "A party . . . who was determined to be financially unable to obtain an adequate defense in a criminal case . . . may proceed on appeal in forma pauperis without further authorization" unless the district court certifies or a statute provides otherwise. Fed. R. App. P. 24(a)(3). The Court has not and will not certify that Ramirez should not be allowed to continue as a pauper, and no statute forbids it. Therefore, Ramirez already has the authorization he needs, and the motion for leave to appeal in forma pauperis (Doc. 42) is moot.

To the extent Ramirez's counsel requests leave to withdraw and appointment of counsel to handle Ramirez's appeal, the Court does not have the authority to make such decisions once final judgment has been entered. Only the Court of Appeals may allow defense counsel to withdraw after judgment is entered or appoint new counsel for purposes of an appeal. United States v. Flowers, 789 F.2d 569, 570 (7th Cir. 1986) (per curiam); accord Corral v. United States, 498 F.3d 470, 474 (7th Cir. 2007); see Circuit Rule 51 ("Trial counsel in a criminal case, whether retained or appointed by the district court, is responsible for the continued representation of the client desiring to appeal unless specifically relieved by the court of appeals upon a motion to withdraw.").

For the foregoing reasons, the Court DENIES Ramirez's motion (Doc. 42).

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20090407

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