How Appealing

Friday, September 14, 2012

"Court upholds cop killer's death sentence": Bill Rankin of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a news update that begins, "The federal appeals court has upheld a death sentence against man who killed a sheriff's deputy, even though the condemned inmate's lead lawyer drank a quart of vodka every day during trial."

You can access yesterday's ruling of a divided three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit -- in which each of the three judges wrote separately -- at this link.

Senior Circuit Judge J.L. Edmondson's opinion concurring in the judgment, which appears at page 105 of the document, is rather unusual. He writes:

In my experience, longish opinions always present a strong possibility of error lurking somewhere in the text. That the opinion writer is a skilled and careful judge does not eliminate the risk. Furthermore, no one wishes to join in an opinion that they do not understand fully. It is hard, time-consuming, painstaking work for the panel's other judges to check long opinions, line by line, cited case by cited case. (Of course, always other cases are awaiting decision and also demand the judges' time and attention.)
A footnote then goes on to observe:
It seems to me that the incidence of long opinions has been on the rise in the last decade or, at least, more are coming across my desk. I should say that I, broadly speaking, do not agree that the length of an opinion necessarily reflects the thought, labor, and care that has been invested by judges in their endeavor to decide the case correctly. The shorter opinions often reflect the greater study and thought leading up to the ultimate decision. Mark Twain touched on a related idea: "If you want me to give you a two-hour presentation, I am ready today. If you want only a five-minute speech, it will take me two weeks to prepare."
Circuit Judge Ed Carnes wrote the 104-page lead opinion in the case.
Posted at 10:54 PM by Howard Bashman

"Federal appellate court backs how Kansas selects judges": Today's edition of The Kansas City Star contains an article that begins, "A divided U.S. Court of Appeals on Thursday rejected a challenge to the way Kansas selects its judges."

And The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that "Appeals court backs lawyers in nominating process."

You can access yesterday's non-precedential ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit at this link. Each of the three judges on the panel issued a separate opinion.
Posted at 07:35 PM by Howard Bashman

"Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan coming to Univ. of Richmond": The Associated Press has this report.
Posted at 07:22 PM by Howard Bashman

"Supreme Court's Alito tells Bristol law school audience he personally reviews cases seeking high court review": Katie Mulvaney of The Providence (R.I.) Journal has this news update.

And The Associated Press reports that "Alito says Supreme Court misunderstood by media."
Posted at 07:15 PM by Howard Bashman

"Veteran Panel Sizes Up the Supreme Court": Zoe Tillman has this post today at "The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times."
Posted at 04:33 PM by Howard Bashman

Programming note: A trip to the Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania area in connection with a pending appeal will cause me to be away from the office until this afternoon. Additional posts will appear here later today.
Posted at 07:55 AM by Howard Bashman

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