On March 1, a panel of the Louisiana First Circuit will be riding circuit, but they won’t be riding very far. They will hold oral arguments in five cases at the LSU Law Center. The proceedings will start at 9:30 a.m. in the David Robinson Courtroom. To see the docket, follow this link.
The Louisiana Second Circuit has a handful of new and amended local rules and that will become effective on June 1.
- New Local Rule 16 sets an absolute 15-day deadline to a non-emergency writ application. That’s absolute as in “no extensions of time to file a response will be granted.” The new rule comes with the caveat that the court may “may adjudicate the application at any time after receipt, with or without the benefit of a response.”
- Amended Local Rule 9 requires lawyers to show up for oral argument when oral argument is docketed. To be excused from appearing for oral argument, a lawyer must file a motion to waive oral argument. Failure to appear for oral argument without filing a timely motion to waive oral argument will cost you up to $200.
- Amended Local Rule 4-1 implements a new schedule of fees charged by the clerk of court. The court’s web site says that the only change is in the numbers of copies required for various filings (generally the original and only one copy now required for some of the listed items).
- Speaking of numbers of copies, new Local Rule 3-1 requires only an original plus one copy for “[a]ll filings, in appeals or writs ....” That’s if you file on paper. If you file electronically, “that filing will be deemed the original and a duplicate is not required.”
- Finally, amended Local Rule 2-8 sets certain conditions on lawyers who borrow the record from the clerk of court. Under the amended rule, the exhibits remain at the courthouse—you have to go there to look at the exhibits. You have to return the record before or when you file your brief; the clerk won’t consider your brief filed unless you’ve returned the record. Also, you can’t borrow the record once the case is submitted except to prepare an application for rehearing to the Second Circuit or a writ application to the Louisiana Supreme Court; and then, you can only have the record for five days.
On that last item: it’s usually a good practice to make a copy of the record as soon as you get it, either on paper or scanned to PDF. Once you have your own copy, return the record promptly; don’t wait until your brief is due. That way, you reduce the risk of having your brief deemed untimely; plus you avoid the trouble of having to re-borrow the record for rehearing, LASC writ practice, and (if writs are granted) LASC merits briefing.
If you have a Zoom oral argument in the Louisiana Third Circuit, then you should read the court’s Guide on the Use of Zoom Videoconferencing for Oral Argument Sessions. And if you have a Zoom oral argument in the Louisiana Fourth Circuit, read this notice, which includes several links to training videos on using Zoom.
Here’s another lesson for anyone participating in a Zoom oral argument: Always assume that your camera is on.
A lawyer in Michigan learned this lesson the hard way. While watching a Zoom oral argument, he experienced a technical glitch with his computer screen. In frustration, he gave his computer the middle finger. He didn’t realize that, despite whatever problems he was having with his display, his camera was working fine and was live. So the appellate panel saw his gesture and interpreted it as flipping off the court or his opponent (who was arguing at the time) and fined him $3,000. Stories about this incident are at the ABA Journal and the Detroit Free Press.
The lesson: If you’re on Zoom and don’t want to be seen, learn how to turn off your camera. If your camera has a built-in lens cover, use it; if not, consider using a sticky note to cover the lens. And if you share your computer with anyone, make sure no one has turned on a video filter.
The ABA Journal has an interesting article about a third-year law student who recently argued a case in the U.S. Fourth Circuit through American Sign Language. She used two interpreters: one to translate her argument into spoken English for the judges, and another to translate what other people said (the judges and opposing counsel) into ASL. To read the ABA Journal article, follow this link.
For anyone who has to give an oral argument by Zoom, here’s a tip: check your video settings before going live. Otherwise, something like this may happen.
As readers of this blog know, the Louisiana Fifth Circuit held its May 2020 oral arguments by video conference, using the Zoom platform. The court’s web site has a page with general information for those wishing to attend a Zoom oral argument, but it’s hard to find (I couldn’t find a link to it from the home page). Not to worry, though; here’s a direct link to the court’s e-conference web page.
As discussed in a prior post, the Louisiana First Circuit is going to hold oral arguments in June by video conference, using Zoom. For lawyers participating in those arguments, the First Circuit offers some Zoom background images. They’re all taken within one of the First Circuit’s courtrooms from the perspective of the presiding judge. To view and download the images, follow this link.
The Louisiana First Circuit has docketed 21 appeals for oral argument on June 16 and 18 by video conference, using Zoom. Each of the docketing notices includes the clerk of court’s instructions for participating in or attending the argument by Zoom and the Chief Judge Whipple’s order for attorneys withing to participate or attend.