State v. RiceAnnotate this Case
In 1971, David Rice was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. In 2012, Rice filed a successive petition for postconviction relief. The petition was filed on Rice’s behalf by attorney Timothy Ashford. Ashford also filed on behalf of Rice a motion to appoint counsel on the basis that Rice was indigent. The court did not rule on the motion to appoint counsel prior to denying postconviction relief. Thereafter, the court entered an order finding that Rice should be allowed to proceed in forma pauperis and appointed Ashford as Rice’s counsel. On appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed. Thereafter, Ashford filed an application for the allowance of expenses and fees associated with the appeal. The district court denied the application, concluding that the claims for postconviction relief were frivolous, as was the appeal. Ashford appealed. While the appeal was pending, Rice died. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) no substitution of parties was necessary as a result of Rice’s death; and (2) because the district court appointed Ashford as postconviction counsel, the court was statutorily required to fix reasonable expenses and fees.