Wednesday, October 26, 2016

RIP PJ Spencer 1920-2016

Image result for vaino spencerFormer 2/1 Presiding Justice Vaino Spencer passed away on Tuesday at age 96. She was 2/1's PJ for over 20 years. Click here for an oral history.

Friday, October 21, 2016

BHBA honors Judicial Excellence

Image result for mexican generalThe Beverly Hills Bar Association Litigation Awards Dinner will be Feb. 22 at the Montage and the honoree for the Ronald M. George Award for Judicial Excellence will be ... 2/7's Justice Zelon, who collects awards like this like clockwork. Remember CJ Rehnquist's gold-striped robe? Well, if our justices adorned their robes with 'esteem and excellence award' insignias, J. Zelon would give General Diaz a run for his pesos! Congratulations!

DJ profiles Reardon

Today's DJ profiles Judge Reardon. Right, that's 'judge' Sharon Reardon of the San Francisco Superior Court, not 1/4's Justice Reardon, who's (of course) her father. What does Judge Reardon have to say about Justice Reardon? "He's very calm, so it's nice to talk. I won't tell him anything case specific, but sometimes he's a good sounding board."
Only "sometimes"?! Harumph! Kids today!

Ninth Circuit Judge Takes Part in Nuremberg Remembrance 

Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently traveled to Nuremberg, Germany, to take part in the 10th annual International Humanitarian Law Dialogs, an assembly of current and former prosecutors of international criminal tribunals.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Do you really need 14K words for a brief?

Image result for lots of wordsMonday's Moskovitz on Appeals column was titled You Don't Need 14,000 Words, about the coming reduction (effective December 1) of the word limit for federal appellate briefs, dropping the word-count from 14K to 13K. He says that "except in unusual situations, you don't need more than 13,000 words." His briefs are usually under 10K words, and he has even filed 5K-word briefs -- and that "the shorter briefs win just as often as the longer briefs."
What the article doesn't mention is that the circuits are free to opt out of the new rule and continue to allow 14K briefs. So far, the 2d, 7th, 9th, and Federal Circuits have all decided to keep the 14K-rule in place. Hooray!

See also Preparing for Changes to FRAP on Law360.
And also on Law360, see 6 Ways to be the High Court's Best Friend: avoid the 'me too' brief; illuminate broader implications; make friends who can influence people; be clear, concise and creative; it's ok to pile on -- to a point; and pick your battles.
FYI, the 4th edition of The Amicus Brief: Answering the Ten Most Important Questions About Amicus Practice, is now available.

Finally, an unpub'd case of note here from 4/1 starts like this: "This appeal illustrates the hazards of going off the record to discuss issues involving a complicated 12-page, 52-question special verdict form." Yep, it's an invited error case.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Another job for Justice Lui

The Supreme Court has appointed Justice Elwood Lui as a special master in In re Attorney Discipline System, charged with obtaining information from the State Bar about the Bar's request for a special regulatory assessment.
More details here. [10/18 Update: Today's DJ reports in Special master appointed to help court review State Bar's funding request, that Justice Lui had this job once  before, in 1998, "the only other time the bar sought and was granted funding from the court."]

State Bar appellate MCLE

How to Avoid Common Mistakes
That Can Ruin Your Appeal
Tuesday, October 25, 2016, 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
1 hour participatory MCLE credit for $55)
This program discusses 14 of the most common trial mistakes that can result in waiver, forfeiture, or other loss of arguments on appeal, such as failing to move to strike inadmissible evidence, forgetting to secure all relevant transcripts, and using an improper verdict form.  The program provides background on each potential mistake and analysis of how best to avoid them in trial practice.  This guidance on how to ensure the best chance at appeal is relevant to the practice of nearly any trial or appellate lawyer.  The presenters are appellate practitioners with significant experience in appellate practice and the identification of trial waivers/forfeitures.
Speakers: Ben Feuer and Anna-Rose Mathieson

Justice Liu Interview

Image result for polar bearsJustice Liu "opened up to Law360 during a recent 10-minute interview about his daily life." What did this investigative reporting reveal?
He enjoys being outdoors. He'd love to see polar bears at the North Pole. He is a runner training for a half-marathon. He just read Joseph Ellis' Revolutionary Summer (about the American Revolution).
He wishes he had more time to sleep (childcare means getting up early). He takes the BART and enjoys seeing "the diversity of the Bay Area on the train." And, he has a pen pal in federal prison -- a former client he's never met in person over 15 years ago.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Appellate lawyers' views on Prop. 66?

Image result for proposition 66Now that absentee ballots have arrived, it's time to start thinking about how to vote this November ... on the various ballot propositions. And as reflected on its website (and detailed in the full letter linked on the website), the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers (which "neither supports nor opposes the death penalty or reasonable measures to clear the backlog of death penalty appeals") opposes Prop. 66, "a ballot measure designed to speed up the processing of death penalty appeals in the Cal Supreme Court." CAAL's position is that Prop. 66 "would impose crushing burdens on California's Supreme Court and intermediate appellate courts, disrupting and delaying thousands of other cases for years to come."

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Has the future of formatting arrived?

Take a look at the formatting of this 2/5 decision here (from yesterday), which seems to use the font, margins, line spacing, etc., in a format that's become standard.
Now take a gander at this 2/5 decision here (from today). Looks different, right? This second example may be where the court is headed. If you care about how your briefs look, and want to try to match the court, take heed.

Image result for century schoolbook vs times new roman