The Second Department determined appellate counsel’s brief in support of a motion to withdraw was deficient:
An appellate court’s role in reviewing an attorney’s motion to be relieved pursuant to Anders v California (386 US 738) consists of two separate and distinct steps … . Step one requires the appellate court to perform “[an] evaluation of assigned counsel’s brief, which must, to be adequate, discuss relevant evidence, with specific references to the record; identify and assess the efficacy of any significant objections, applications, or motions; and identify possible issues for appeal, with reference to the facts of the case and relevant legal authority'” … . Step two requires the appellate court to perform “an independent review of the record’ to determine whether counsel’s assessment that there are no nonfrivolous issues for appeal is correct'” … .
Here, the brief submitted by the defendant’s counsel pursuant to Anders v California (386 US 738) was deficient because it failed to adequately analyze potential appellate issues, including, but not necessarily limited to, whether the defendant’s plea of guilty was entered knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily … . Moreover, upon this Court’s independent review of the record, we conclude that nonfrivolous issues exist, including, but not necessarily limited to, whether the defendant’s plea of guilty was knowing, intelligent, and voluntary … . Accordingly, under the circumstances, we must assign new counsel to represent the defendant. People v Robinson, 2019 NY Slip Op 06417, Second Dept 8-28-19