You got to love a court opinion that starts out by reminding the attorneys of their responsibilities in filing petitions on appeal. In B.J. v. State of Utah (PDF) the three-panel judges from the Utah Court of Appeals spends about 1/3rd of the opinion explaining to the attorneys that spitting out a series of citations without any facts to place those citations in context is failure to meet the requirement set by the appellate court. Here’s the quote from the court:
As a preliminary matter, the court takes this opportunity to remind all counsel appearing in child welfare proceedings of their responsibilities to file petitions on appeal, and responses to those petitions, that comply with the requirements of rules 55(d) and 56(b) of the Utah Rules of Appellate Procedure. While the court is mindful of the restrictions placed upon litigants due to the expedited appellate process in child welfare proceedings, petitions on appeal and responses to those petitions must be designed to zealously advocate the positions of the parties and to assist the court in resolving the matter. In so doing, the parties should provide the court with an adequate statement of facts that will allow the court to understand the nature and history of the case. Further, the parties should attempt to apply legal authority to the particular facts of the case. See In re B.A.P., 2006 UT 68, ¶ 12, 148 P.3d 934 (discussing the obligation to include an argument section in a petition on appeal). Legal citations unaccompanied by an application to the particular facts and issues involved in the case are rarely helpful. Ultimately, counsel should consider petitions on appeal and responses thereto to be more like briefs than docketing statements. [emphasis added]
Hat’s off to Judges Davis, Thorne and Roth for handing out a little wisdom as well as a decision.
[note: Thanks to Mari Ferguson Cheney for pointing this out via Twitter.]