How Long Can a Court of Appeals Take to Publish a Decision After a Vote?

Full Question:

How long does the court of appeals have to make a decision after they have re'd the vote sheet?
01/10/2010   |   Category: Courts   |   State: Arkansas   |   #20366

Answer:

There is no defined time period. The law merely says that a judge shall dispose of all judicial matters promptly, efficiently and fairly.

Please see the following AR court rules:

Rule 5-2. Opinions.

(a) Supreme court — Signed opinions. All signed opinions of the Supreme
Court shall be designated for publication.

(b) Court of appeals — Opinion form. Opinions of the Court of Appeals may
be in conventional form or in memorandum form. They shall be filed with
the Clerk. The opinions need not contain a detailed statement of the
facts, but may set forth only such matters as may be necessary to an
understandable discussion of the errors urged. In appeals from decisions
of the Arkansas Board of Review in unemployment compensation cases, when
the Court finds the decision appealed from is supported by substantial
evidence, that there is an absence of fraud, no error of law appears in
the record, and an opinion would have no precedential value, the order
may be affirmed without opinion.

(c) Court of appeals — Published opinions. Opinions of the Court of
Appeals which resolve novel or unusual questions will be released for
publication when the opinions are announced and filed with the Clerk. The
Court of Appeals may consider the question of whether to publish an
opinion at its decision-making conference and at that time, if
appropriate, make a tentative decision not to publish. Concurring and
dissenting opinions will be published only if the majority opinion is
published. All opinions that are not to be published shall be marked "Not
Designated for Publication."

(d) Court of appeals — Unpublished opinions. Opinions of the court of
appeals not designated for publication shall not be published in the
Arkansas Reports and shall not be cited, quoted or referred to by any
court or in any argument, brief, or other materials presented to any
court (except in continuing or related litigation upon an issue such as
res judicata, collateral estoppel, or law of the case). Opinions not
designated for publication shall be listed in the Arkansas Reports by
case number, style, date, and disposition.

(e) Copies of all opinions. In every case the Clerk will furnish,
without charge, one typewritten copy of all of the Court's published or
unpublished opinions in the case to counsel for every party on whose
behalf a separate brief was filed. The charge for additional copies is
fixed by statute.

Rule 1-7. Practice absent specific rule.

In cases where no provision is made by statute or other rule, proceedings
in the Court shall be in accordance with existing practice.

The following is from the AR Code of Judicial Conduct:

Canon 3. A judge shall perform the duties of judicial office impartially
and diligently.

A. Judicial Duties in General. The judicial duties of a judge take
precedence over all the judge's other activities. The judge's judicial
duties include all the duties of the judge's office prescribed by law. In
the performance of these duties, the following standards apply.

B. Adjudicative Responsibilities.

(1) A judge shall hear and decide matters assigned to the judge except
those in which disqualification is required.

(2) A judge shall be faithful to the law and maintain professional
competence in it. A judge shall not be swayed by partisan interests,
public clamor or fear of criticism.

(3) A judge shall require order and decorum in proceedings before the
judge.

(4) A judge shall be patient, dignified and courteous to litigants,
jurors, witnesses, lawyers and others with whom the judge deals in an
official capacity, and shall require similar conduct of lawyers, and of
staff, court officials and others subject to the judge's direction and
control.

(5) A judge shall perform judicial duties without bias or prejudice. A
judge shall not, in the performance of judicial duties, by words or
conduct manifest bias or prejudice, including but not limited to bias or
prejudice based upon race, sex, religion, or national origin, and shall
not permit staff, court officials and others subject to the judge's
direction and control to do so.

(6) A judge shall require lawyers in proceedings before the judge to
refrain from manifesting, by words or conduct, bias or prejudice based
upon race, sex, religion, or national origin, or other similar factors,
against parties, witnesses, counsel or others. This Section 3B(6) does
not preclude legitimate advocacy when race, sex, religion, or national
origin, or other similar factors, are issues in the proceeding.

(7) A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a
proceeding, or that person's lawyer, the right to be heard according to
law. A judge shall not initiate, permit, or consider ex
parte communications, or consider other communications made to the judge
outside the presence of the parties concerning a pending or impending
proceeding except that:

(a) Where circumstances require, ex parte communications for scheduling,
administrative purposes or emergencies that do not deal with substantive
matters or issues on the merits are authorized; provided:

(i) the judge reasonably believes that no party will gain a procedural
or tactical advantage as a result of the ex parte communication, and

(ii) the judge makes provision promptly to notify all other parties of
the substance of the ex parte communication and allows an opportunity to
respond.

(b) A judge may obtain the advice of a disinterested expert on the law
applicable to a proceeding before the judge if the judge gives notice to
the parties of the person consulted and the substance of the advice, and
affords the parties reasonable opportunity to respond.

(c) A judge may consult with court personnel whose function is to aid
the judge in carrying out the judge's adjudicative responsibilities or
with other judges.

(d) A judge may initiate or consider any ex parte communications when
expressly authorized by law to do so.

(8) A judge shall dispose of all judicial matters promptly, efficiently
and fairly.

(9) A judge shall not, while a proceeding is pending or impending in
any court, make any public comment that might reasonably be expected to
affect its outcome or impair its fairness or make any nonpublic comment
that might interfere with a fair trial or hearing. The judge shall
require similar abstention on the part of court personnel subject to the
judge's direction and control. This Section does not prohibit judges from
making public statements in the course of their official duties or from
explaining for public information the procedures of the court. This
Section does not apply to proceedings in which the judge is a litigant in
a personal capacity.

(10) A judge shall not commend or criticize jurors for their verdict
other than in a court order or opinion in a proceeding, but may express
appreciation to jurors for their service to the judicial system and the
community.

(11) A judge shall not disclose or use, for any purpose unrelated to
judicial duties, nonpublic information acquired in a judicial capacity.

C. Administrative Responsibilities.

(1) A judge shall diligently discharge the judge's administrative
responsibilities without bias or prejudice and maintain professional
competence in judicial administration, and should cooperate with other
judges and court officials in the administration of court business.

(2) A judge shall require staff, court officials and others subject to
the judge's direction and control to observe the standards of fidelity
and diligence that apply to the judge and to refrain from manifesting
bias or prejudice in the performance of their official duties.

(3) A judge with supervisory authority for the judicial performance of
other judges shall take reasonable measures to assure the prompt
disposition of matters before them and the proper performance of their
other judicial responsibilities.

(4) A judge shall not make unnecessary appointments. A judge should
exercise his power of appointment only on the basis of merit, avoiding
nepotism and favoritism. No judge shall employ a spouse or other relative
unless it has been affirmatively demonstrated to the Arkansas Judicial
Discipline and Disability Commission that it is impossible for the judge
to hire any other qualified person to fill the position. A judge shall
not approve compensation of appointees beyond the fair value of services
rendered.

(Amended November 19, 1990, effective July 1, 1991.)

D. Disciplinary Responsibilities.

(1) A judge who receives information indicating a substantial likelihood
that another judge has committed a violation of this Code should take
appropriate action. A judge having knowledge that another judge has
committed a violation of this Code that raises a substantial question as
to the other judge's fitness for office shall either communicate directly
with respect to the violation with the judge who has committed the
violation or report the violation to the Judicial Discipline and
Disability Commission.

(2) A judge who receives information indicating a substantial likelihood
that a lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional
Conduct should take appropriate action. A judge having knowledge that a
lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct
that raises a substantial question as to the lawyer's honesty,
trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects shall either
communicate directly with respect to the violation with the lawyer who
has committed the violation or report the violation to the Arkansas
Supreme Court Committee on Professional Responsibility.

(3) Acts of a judge, in the discharge of disciplinary responsibilities,
required or permitted by Sections 3D(1) and 3D(2) are part of a judge's
judicial duties and shall be absolutely privileged, and no civil actions
predicated thereon may be instituted against the judge.

(4) Sections 3D(1) and 3D(2) shall not apply to a member of the Lawyer
Assistance Committee ("the Committee") of the Arkansas Lawyer Assistance
Program ("ALAP") or a volunteer serving pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules
of ALAP regarding information received in one's capacity as a Committee
member or volunteer, acting in good faith, unless it appears to said
member of volunteer that the lawyer of judge in question, after entry
into the ALAP, is failing to desist from said violation, or is failing to
cooperate with a program of assistance to which said lawyer of judge has
agreed, or is engaged in the sale of controlled substance or theft of
property constituting a felony under Arkansas law, or the equivalent
thereof if the offense is not within the State's jurisdiction.

(5) Except as provided by the proceeding subsection 3D(4), and Rules 7(B)
and 10 of the Rules of ALAP, no information received, gathered or
maintained by the Committee, its members or volunteers or by an employee
of the ALAP in connection with the work of the Committee may be disclosed
to any person nor be subject to discovery or subpoena in any
administrative or judicial proceeding, except upon the express written
release of the subject lawyer of judge. However, the Committee may refer
any lawyer or judge to a professional assistance entity, and may, in good
faith, communicate information to the entity in connection with the
referral. If information obtained by a member of the Committee, a
volunteer or an employee of the ALAP gives rise to reasonable suspicion
of a direct threat to the health of safety of the subject lawyer, judge
or other person, then the obligation of confidentiality set forth in this
subsection 3D(5) shall not apply, and the Committee member, volunteer, or
ALAP employee may make such communications as are necessary for the
purpose of avoiding or preventing said threat. (Amended January 1, 2001.)

E. Disqualification.

(1) A judge shall disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which
the judge's impartiality might reasonably be questioned, including but
not limited to instances where:

(a) the judge has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party or a
party's lawyer, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts
concerning the proceeding;

(b) the judge served as a lawyer in the matter in controversy, or a
lawyer with whom the judge previously practiced law served during such
association as a lawyer concerning the matter, or the judge has been a
material witness concerning it;

(c) the judge knows that he or she, individually or as a fiduciary, or
the judge's spouse, parent or child wherever residing, or any other
member of the judge's family residing in the judge's household, has an
economic interest in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to
the proceeding or has any other more than de minimis interest that could
be substantially affected by the proceeding;

(d) the judge or the judge's spouse, or a person within the third
degree of relationship to either of them, or the spouse of such a
person:

(i) is a party to the proceeding, or an officer, director or trustee of
a party;

(ii) is acting as a lawyer in the proceeding;

(iii) is known by the judge to have a more than de minimis interest
that could be substantially affected by the proceeding;

(iv) is to the judge's knowledge likely to be a material witness in the
proceeding.

(2) A judge shall keep informed about the judge's personal and fiduciary
economic interests, and make a reasonable effort to keep informed about
the personal economic interests of the judge's spouse and minor children
residing in the judge's household.

F. Remittal of Disqualification. A judge disqualified by the terms of
Section 3E may disclose on the record the basis of the judge's
disqualification and may ask the parties and their lawyers to consider,
out of the presence of the judge, whether to waive disqualification. If
following disclosure of any basis for disqualification other than
personal bias or prejudice concerning a party, the parties and lawyers,
without participation by the judge, all agree that the judge should not
be disqualified, and the judge is then willing to participate, the judge
may participate in the proceeding. The agreement shall be incorporated in
the record of the proceeding.