Today CAAF Clerk of Court Bill DeCicco and several CAAF staff members presented an extremely helpful orientation session for counsel. While it was billed as primarly for new counsel, I don’t think any of the experienced counsel who attended were disappointed that they did.
Firs the headline news — the highly regarded LeEllen Coacher of Judge Stucky’s chambers reported that Judge Stucky and every lawyer in his chambers HATES the Garnerian style of putting citations of authority in footnotes rather than in the main text. Allow me to quote her directly: “We hate them with a passion.”
Okay, onto the other news.
Mr. DeCicco indicated that the trend of the future is 15-minute arguments. He said the judges like the 15-minute time limit and when the next batch of arguments is announced, the majority will be 15-minute arguments.
Deputy Chief Clerk Dave Anderson emphasized the importance of applying the Rule 21(b)(5) factors to show good cause in supplements to petitions.
More than one presenter emphasized Rule 37(c)(4)’s prohibition against incorporation by reference.
More than one presenter warned against overly argumentative issue statements.
Mr. DeCicco emphasized that many court filings are sloppy — with incorrect gender pronouns, cites to the wrong UCMJ article and, in some Navy-Marine Corps cases, the wrong armed force in the caption.
Mr. DeCicco emphasized the importance in motion practice of explaining why the requested relief is appropriate.
He also noted that a number of filings have been received out of time lately. He indicated that the court is growing frustrated with this trend. While he didn’t expressly say this, he hinted that the historic paternalistic practice of not visiting the attorney’s sins on the clients may be in danger.
More than one presenter warned against ad hominem attacks in briefs or dismissive adjectives, such as referring to the opponent’s “foolish” argument.
The session highlighted the following common errors:
(1) using proportional type (such as Times New Roman) instead of courier or courier new;
(2) failing to put counsel’s bar number on the filing;
(3) not attaching the CCA’s opinion to the supplement;
(4) not observing the page/word count limits;
(5) simply attaching an affidavit to a filing (the so-called “staple rule”) instead of filing a motion to attach;
(6) including a motion within a brief rather than filing it as a separate document;
(7) putting the appellant’s SSN on the supplement — because supps and briefs are given to LEXIS and WESTLAW and enter the public domain, the appellant’s SSN should not appear on anything but the initial petition;
(8) putting the wrong docket number on a filing;
(9) filing past the deadline;
(9) drafting overly long, overly argumentative, overly repetitive, and unprofessional issue statements.
Mr. DeCicco also explained that grants of review often come in bunches because in some instances the judges decide whether to grant or deny in conference. For example, he indicated that yesterday there was a judges’ conference, and today there were three orders granting review. So look for those in tomorrow’s update to the daily journal.