County Office of Appellate Courts
Swanson, Attorney General, Saint Paul, Minnesota; and Michael
O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Brittany D. Lawonn,
Assistant County Attorney, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for
Bradford Colbert, Legal Assistance to Minnesota Prisoners,
Saint Paul, Minnesota, for appellant.
Lillehaug, J. Dissenting, Stras, McKeig, JJ.
appellant did not have a "review" on direct appeal,
the postconviction court erred when it denied appellant's
request for appointed counsel for postconviction proceedings.
2012, Jamil Joshua Eason was convicted of first-degree felony
murder. He appealed his conviction, but voluntarily dismissed
the appeal after his brief had been filed but before the date
set for oral argument. In 2016, Eason filed a pro se petition
for postconviction relief, arguing that his trial counsel was
ineffective and that the prosecutor improperly refused to
renew her initial plea offer. He asked the postconviction
court to appoint counsel. The postconviction court referred
Eason's request for counsel to the state public defender,
which declined to represent him. The postconviction court
then summarily denied Eason's petition.
reverse and remand for the appointment of counsel.
2012, the State charged Jamil Joshua Eason with first-degree
felony murder, Minn. Stat. § 609.185(a)(3) (2016); and
second-degree intentional murder, Minn. Stat. § 609.19,
subd. 1 (2016). The parties exchanged several plea offers
before trial, but failed to reach an agreement.
trial, the State presented physical evidence linking Eason to
the crime, and testimony from a witness who met Eason in jail
to establish that, on November 2, 2012, in the course of a
burglary of a Minneapolis home, Eason killed the homeowner by
stabbing. The jury returned a guilty verdict on the
first-degree felony murder charge and a not-guilty verdict on
second-degree intentional murder. The district court
sentenced Eason to life in prison with the possibility of
release after 30 years.
filed a notice of appeal a few months later, and his
attorney-an assistant state public defender-filed a 24-page
brief on his behalf. But before the State's brief was
due, Eason and his attorney filed a notice of voluntary
dismissal. The record does not disclose why Eason made the
decision to ...