Monday, April 8, 2013

AG's office called out for subpar briefing

This blog often reports on poor appellate lawyering as reflected in court decisions. Today's installment shows that not even the AG's office is immune: see here (footnote 1):
The Attorney General essentially abdicated her role as counsel for a party to these proceedings on this sufficiency of evidence issue. Responding to the insufficiency argument, which extended 27 pages in the appellant's opening brief and included numerous arguments concerning specific evidence, the Attorney General provided a little more than one page summarizing the evidence, without addressing defendant's specific arguments about the evidence. The Attorney General did this after we struck her first brief and directed her to file a new brief. We stated: "The Attorney General is directed to serve and file a respondent's brief, responding in detail to the appellant's opening brief . . . ." Because we cannot reverse unless there is a miscarriage of justice (Cal. Const., art. VI, § 13), we cannot deem the Attorney General's minimal treatment of defendant's arguments a concession of their merit. Nonetheless, the Attorney General's failure to respond appropriately in this case is unacceptable.