Monday, June 09, 2008

Fifth Circuit Plan for Expediting Criminal Appeals

Effective May 4, 2008, the Fifth Circuit has adopted a plan to expedite the processing of criminal appeals. Those of you who handle appeals need to be aware that one of the means to this end is to require district courts, court reporters, and counsel to get records, transcripts, and briefs prepared and filed promptly, and to grant extensions of time sparingly. Of note,
[c]ounsel may request extensions [of briefing deadlines] only when absolutely necessary. The clerk or court will grant extensions sparingly and only as set forth in the rules and IOPs. Extensions in criminal appeals will be for the minimum time needed, and if granted, will exceed 30 days only in exceptionally rare instances. Counsel are responsible for reviewing the record on appeal within 15 days of receipt. If there are omissions from the record, counsel must notify the district court and this court of any missing materials, particularly transcripts, and arrange immediately with the court reporter for any additional transcripts within this period. Counsel who fail to act promptly and to make arrangements for a complete record within this time period, cannot expect an extension of time to file the brief because their lack of diligence caused the record to be incomplete.

There's this, too:
For conduct unbecoming a member of the Bar, or for failure of counsel to comply with the applicable Federal and Fifth Circuit Rules, the court shall issue a show cause order as provided by FED. R. APP. P. 46(c), and 5TH CIR. R. and 42.3.3. Sanctions may be imposed upon delinquent counsel as may be individually appropriate, ranging from reprimand to fine, or Criminal Justice Act financial deduction or removal from the roll of attorneys permitted to practice before this court.

You can read the full plan here.


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