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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76955 Find in a Library
Title: Appellate Reform in Colorado
Journal: Judges Journal  Volume:20  Issue:1  Dated:(Winter 1981)  Pages:33-36
Author(s): C D Pierce
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 4
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper describes procedures such as accelerated dockets and preargument conferences adopted for civil cases by the Colorado Court of Appeals to facilitate case management and disposition.
Abstract: Under the accelerated docket plan adopted in 1978, each counsel is required to file preliminary statements of 2 or 3 pages within 30 days after the notice of appeal is filed. It is then decided whether the issues can be resolved without a transcript, by the use of a portion of a transcript, or from an agreed statement of facts. If a case is selected for accelerated docket, a shortened briefing schedule of 15 days is ordered to file an opening brief, and another 15 days is given to file the answer brief. Briefs are limited to 20 pages and oral arguments to 15 minutes per side. If a case is not selected for the accelerated docket, it is immediately assigned to a judge for the scheduling of a preargument conference to work out a settlement or, if necessary, to limit the issues, settle the record, and set briefing schedules. Electronic equipment, including computers, acquired through cooperation with the legislature and other Colorado courts, is also used. Measures are taken to ensure the maintenance of quality. For example, to avoid the 'one person' opinion, each case is subjected to at least two conferences before it leaves court. To improve the quality of oral arguments, preargument memoranda are used in selected cases. In a memorandum, the court indicates issues on which a tentative decision has been made and those on which a conclusion has not been reached. The memoranda are distributed 10 days before the argument. Due to the rapid expansion of the workload and the time required to implement the preargument memorandum procedures, a new 'tentative' procedure is proposed. Tentative opinions would be issued in all cases on the basis of briefs and independent research, but without oral argument. Oral argument, tailored to the number and complexity of the issues raised in the petition for rehearing, would be allowed after such a petition is filed. The final opinion would then be issued and could contain tentative opinion modifications or reversals. Four footnotes are appended.
Index Term(s): Colorado; Computer aided operations; Court case flow management; Dispositions
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