Thursday, February 1, 2007
In a concurrence to an opinion released January 31, 2007, Arkansas Court of Appeals Judge Wendell Griffen calls for that state to modernize appellate practice by instituting electronic appeal procedures. The case's record and brief consumed 25,399 pieces of paper, says the judge, who calculated that the paper consumed was the product of three trees. The judge also noted the costs of transporting the paper records and briefs from the attorneys' home counties to the state capital, estimating gasoline totals of $100 for the 960 miles of travel necessitated by this one case.
Judge Griffen quoted an observation by Judge George Nicholson of California's Third District Court of Appeal that judges have "one foot in the nineteenth century and the other in the twenty-first," because although a judge can easily access foreign case law by a few keystrokes, when he then "slides the chair over to the other side of the desk where lies the record on appeal, a collection of bound pages of trial court transcripts and filings," he crosses the threshold of time into an earlier era. See George Nicholson, A Vision of the Future of Appellate Practice and Process, 2 J. App. Prac. & Process 229 (2000).
The judge also cited with approval an article by former legal writing professor Deborah Parker (Wake Forest), Electronic Filing in North Carolina: Using the Internet instead of the Interstate, 2 J. App. Prac. & Process 351 (2000).