In Gomez-Diaz v. U.S., No. 04-11105 (Dec. 20, 2005), the Court remanded the case to the district court for an evidentiary hearing concerning whether the defendant was entitled to an appeal.
The defendant signed a plea agreement in which he waived most, but not all, issues on appeal. After sentencing, no notice of appeal was filed. The defendant brought a § 2255 proceeding, claiming that his lawyer was ineffective in failing to file a notice of appeal. The district court dismissed the action, on the ground that the defendant failed to identify any meritorious grounds for appeal.
Reversing, the Court pointed out that, under Supreme Court caselaw, the defendant need not show meritorious grounds for appeal, (1) if no notice of appeal despite a specific instruction by the defendant to his lawyer to file an appeal, or (2) if the attorney failed to consult with his client in order to determine whether the client wished to appeal. The Court therefore remanded the case to the district court for an evidentiary hearing to determine whether the defendant specifically requested an appeal, or whether the lawyer failed to determine his client’s wishes.