About

With the launch of this blog, we seek to discuss issues relating to appeals and appellate law in Maine, including the activities and decisions of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court and First Circuit Court of Appeals relevant to Maine, and other participants in the Maine appellate community.

Peter DeTroy, appellate lawyer

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I shall return to my download of the Law Court’s appellate seminar, but first I wanted to weigh in on the recent passing of Peter DeTroy.  Many people have justly noted that he was the consummate trial lawyer.  Let’s take a moment to talk about his appellate talents, too.

SJC appellate seminar (I)

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As we alerted was coming in previous blogs, the Maine SJC held its seminar on appellate issues last Friday.  There were 100 registrants and the conference, with all 7 Justices participating, was chock-a-block with useful material.  Here’s a start on summarizing.

Alan DuBois on briefing

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Following up on my last entry, here is the download from Alan DuBois, the First Assistant Public Defender of the District of North Carolina (so he spoke from the criminal defense perspective and how to draft the appellant brief).  His presentation was excellent and thought provoking, in part because he spoke against conventional wisdom.  Here are some nuggets I found useful:

Oral argument – the fundamentals

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There has been much publicity about the clubbiness of the US Supreme Court, including how, if you want your cert petition granted, you’d better have the signature of one of the handful of folks they like to hear argue on the petition.  These are the Lucky Few who (1) went to Harvard or Yale; (2) clerked for a Supreme Court Justice; and (3) then typically went to the Solicitor General’s office for a few years before hitting the Supreme Court boutiques.  See http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/scotus/

What’s doing at CTA1

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It’s been a while since we’ve discussed what’s been happening at the First Circuit vis-à-vis- Maine, so here’s an update.  Nothing too spectacular on the Maine front decision-wise, but the Court is offering a free seminar, with one session in April in Boston, and one in May in Portland, on criminal appellate practice in the First Circuit.  They do something like this every five years or so.  I went to the last one and it was very good.  While most of the schedule is focused on issues of only criminal appellate interest, the beginning of the day has Judge Kayatta speaking, followed by another speaker on issues of generic appellate interest.  It’s free and you get CLE (although not ethics, which seems odd, since David Beneman is talking about that for a half-hour).

http://www.ca1.uscourts.gov/news/federal-criminal-appellate-practice-seminar-0

Ranked voting, Joshua Chamberlain, and excellent legislative history

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The Attorney General recently issued an opinion on the constitutionality of proposed legislation to adopt ranked voting, noting that the proposed law presents serious constitutional issues. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3PYp5sROj_1RGNBUldIelk0T1lHVTZ1UTRrSkU3eHZtdFZJ/view?pref=2&pli=1.   

The problem is that the relevant provision in the Maine Constitution refers to vote by a “plurality,” which suggested that you pick the candidate with the most votes and end there.