Air Force Staff Sergeant Joshua P. Lovett is doing 14 years for various offenses, including the rape of a child. After extensive appellate review, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces affirmed his findings and sentence on 6 June 2006. United States v. Lovett, 63 M.J. 211, 212 (C.A.A.F. 2006). On 14 July, Lovett filed a pro se petition for reconsideration. On 14 July 14, Lovett's appellate defense counsel informed him “that neither I nor any other attorney from the Appellate Defense Division will represent you in any further action you decide to take in your case.” On 14 August, CAAF denied Lovett's pro se reconsideration petition.
In granting Lovett's petition for writ of mandamus, CAAF set out that procedural history and then explained:
The Uniform Code of Military Justice provides: “Appellate defense counsel shall represent the accused before the Court of Criminal Appeals, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, or the Supreme Court . . . when requested by the accused . . . .” Article 70(c)(1), UCMJ, 10 U.S.C. § 870(c)(1) (2000). Petitioner’s case is not final as a matter of law. See Article 71(c), UCMJ, 10 U.S.C. § 871(c) (2000). The immediate question before us is not whether counsel must file any particular matter in the course of representing a servicemember, but whether counsel may discontinue such representation before the case is final as a matter of law. Nothing in the record of the present case established a basis for counsel to sever the lawyer-client relationship. Accordingly, it is ordered that the Judge Advocate General of the Air Force shall provide appellate defense counsel to represent Petitioner for the purposes of review of his court-martial under Article 67a, UCMJ, 10 U.S.C. § 867a (2000).
From the Daily Journal, it isn't clear exactly for what purpose Lovett is seeking an appellate defense counsel's assistance -- though it one does the math, it is apparent that his time for filing a cert petition at the Supreme Court hasn't yet run. But CAAF is insisting, no doubt correctly, that Lovett continue to be represented until his case is final -- if for no other purpose, I suppose, than to advise him that he has no non-frivolous issue to raise in a cert petition before the Supremes.