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Where’s (Judge) Waldo?–The Role of Substitute Judges under the Appellate Rules and Rules of Civil Procedure

Imagine that Judge Waldo has orally ruled against your client.  A proposed written order has been submitted by the parties to the trial court.  You are gearing up for an appeal.  However, before a written order is entered, Judge Waldo wins the lottery and immediately retires to explore the world.  Can another trial court judge sign the proposed order?  Can a substitute judge rule on a new trial motion? Ann Anderson …Read More

Help Wanted: Office of the Appellate Defender Adding to Its Indigent Appeals Roster

Good appellate lawyers are in demand. The Appellate Defender is looking for a few good appellate attorneys to add to the Office of the Appellate Defender’s appointed appellate counsel roster.   Interested applicants can find information and the roster application here. Good writing skills and the ability to spot issues are essential. Although criminal litigation experience is helpful, it is not required.  The Office of the Appellate Defender provides free training …Read More

Back To The Fold: Vacant Supreme Court Clerk Position Being Filled By Familiar Face

As recently reported, Bryan Boyd stepped down as Clerk of the Supreme Court on Friday. We will miss Bryan, but wish him all the best in his new position.  Bryan’s exit had the potential to create a gaping hole in the leadership of the Clerk’s office. The Supreme Court, however, has found an ingenious solution to its dilemma: the return of Christie Cameron Roeder. Before retiring in June 2016, Christie …Read More

Consistency Is The Solution To A Gray Area (Or Is It Grey?)

Proofreading is tedious.  And no matter how many times you proofread a brief, you inevitably spot a hidden “misstate” about two seconds after you file it.  If you have read my blog posts long enough, you know that perfection is a noble, but unobtainable, goal. However, next time someone suggests that proofing (or re-proofing) is not a valuable exercise, take a look at State v. Walker.   In what must have been the drafting fun of the day, Judge Murphy included a rather …Read More

Help Wanted: Bryan Boyd Resigns As Supreme Court Clerk To Return To Academia

Supreme Court Clerk Bryan Boyd recently tendered his resignation—meaning the North Carolina Supreme Court has likely begun its hunt for the Court’s sixteenth Clerk of Court. Bryan’s resignation was precipitated by the siren song of his first love: legal education. As noted previously, Bryan was recognized by the student body three times as its outstanding professor of the year during his tenure at Campbell University School of Law. While at Campbell, Bryan worked closely with …Read More

Court of Appeals Extends Grace To Reach Merits of Appeal–Twice in the Same Day

Our appellate blogosphere has been filled with an unusual number of posts involving dismissed appeals. However, the North Carolina Court of Appeals on Tuesday bestowed leniency on two appeals, utilizing Appellate Rules 2 and 21 to reach the merits of both appeals.  Curious as to what justified this cheerful news?  Keep reading. Sarno v. Sarno involved a family law appeal facing a potential fatal obstacle based on  bizarre procedural facts: 1) …Read More

In A Final Judgment Appeal, Must The Appellant Argue That The Appeal Affects A Substantial Right?

Last week, a rather unusual (but certainly not unique) question of appellate practice and procedure reared its head.  In an appeal from a final judgment, can the appellate court’s opinion destroy jurisdiction? And if so, is the appellant required to anticipate the destruction of final judgment jurisdiction by arguing in the alternative that the remaining orders on appeal affect a substantial right (or some other interlocutory jurisdiction statute)? The Court …Read More

Interlocutory Appellate Jurisdiction: Should The Courts Analyze The Merits First?

On Tuesday, the North Carolina Court of Appeals issued its latest batch of opinions.  An opinion that caught my eye represents a trend in the Court of Appeals of collapsing the substantial right jurisdictional analysis into the merit-based analysis of the underlying issue being argued on appeal. Merits-jurisdiction intermingling is an issue that my colleague, Pat Kane, previously raised in two blog posts from 2012. See here and here.  Five years later, it has …Read More

Procedural Oddity: Fourth Circuit Publishes En Banc Opinion Without Oral Argument

The Fourth Circuit recently issued a published, en banc opinion overruling prior circuit precedent.  In an unusual move, however, the Fourth Circuit dispensed with oral argument before the entire court.  Local Rule 36(a) states that the court “will publish opinions only in cases that have been fully briefed and presented at oral argument.”  What procedural oddity led the Fourth Circuit to utilize Federal Appellate Rule 2 to suspend this requirement?  Check out Maryland’s Appellate Blog for all the …Read More

By the Numbers: 2016 Outcomes in Supreme Court Decisions

North Carolina’s appellate statistician, Kenzie Rakes, has more numbers for us. Kenzie’s pie charts break down the outcomes from last year’s appeals to the Supreme Court.  Which disposition was used most frequently in 2016?  Affirmed, modified and affirmed, reversed, or vacated? Check out the North Carolina Appellate Stats Blog for all the details. –Beth Scherer Please follow and like us: