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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 82438 Find in a Library
Title: Appellate Discussion, Parts 1 and 2
Author(s): W Rehnquist; B Rosenberg; W McCree; J Hopkins; S Mosk
Date Published: Unknown
Format: Film
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Federal and State supreme court justices and representatives of the Solicitor General's Office and the Justice Department's Appellate Division examine the appeals process and the judge's and attorney's role in that process.
Abstract: Appeal is available to litigants who feel they received a wrongful decision from the trial court or because the law was misapplied. As the first step in preparing an appeal, the attorney must carefully review the trial's transcript, although the need to review the complete transcript depends on the particular State's rules and the attorney's experience. Panel members agree that a good brief inspires confidence in the judge who reads it, focuses on issues in some depth, and can be turned into an opinion. A brief's length and argumentation is determined by the court to which it is submitted. In presenting an affirmative case, respondents should answer appellants' questions but should not limit themselves to that. The brief should be self-explanatory, but the extent to which factual material is reiterated will depend on the depth of the judge's prior knowledge of the case. Amicus curiae briefs are useful in providing new insights into the case, especially when the other briefs are weak. Oral arguments are important to the appellate process because they represent a visible phase of the judicial process. Whether or not oral arguments are presented in individual cases, however, depends on the court's size and the complexity of the issues involved. Whether or not judges should familiarize themselves with the details of a case before its presentation remains a controversial issue. In general, attorneys are discouraged from reading prepared texts to the court. Panelists agree that attorneys' habits and appearance may affect the response to oral arguments, especially if the attorney stutters or speaks inaudibly. Suggestions to lawyers for case presentations and possible types of appellate decisions are also presented.
Index Term(s): Appeal procedures; Appellate courts; Attorney competence; Attorney work products
Note: *This document is currently unavailable from NCJRS. 2 videotapes, total running time 1 hour and 20 minutes, color, 1 inch.
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