Word Count

I read on Jane’s Law Blog about Andy Lowry’s motion to amend the appellate rules to allow for word counts.  Andy is exactly right.  This amendment should be made.

I like his demonstration on the different fonts and the discussion about margins.

The real issue is that the rules need to make filing briefs EASIER, not more difficult.

I commend Copeland Cook for their tremendous effort and work on the MRCP Revision Project.  The Copeland Cook firm has submitted a detailed proposed rewrite of the MRCP.  I’m busy right now, so I haven’t read through the entire submission.  Some of it makes very good sense.  I only wish they would show the differences between their changes and the FRCP.  It will be very interesting to see what the Supreme Court does with this project, and whether the project outlives the terms of the Committee members.

 

Mississippi Rules of Court

In the last post, I talked about the consolidation of Rules.  Specifically, I said the Mississippi Rules of Court should include the following:
1. Uniform Rules of Circuit and County Court Practice;
2. Uniform Chancery Court Rules;
3. Uniform Rules of Procedure for Justice Court;
4. Uniform Rules of Youth Court Practice;
5. Court Annexed Mediation Rules for Civil Litigation; and
6. Rules for Electronic and Photographic Coverage of Judicial Proceedings.

The table of contents of the Rules of Court would look like this:
1. Court Proceedings – General
2. Pleadings
3. Chancery
4. Circuit and County – Civil
5. Circuit and County – Criminal [depends on the MRCrP]
6. Justice Court
7. Youth Court
8. Electronic and Photographic Coverage

These Rules would be organized to remove the duplicate and unnecessary Rules and leave important Rules.

Rules Proposal

For a number of years, I have pushed for the consolidation of the Rules.  I believe the volume of the Rules (21) prevents a clear understanding and consistent application of the Rules.

The first thing we need to do is decide what is the purpose of the various Rules. Then we need to determine whether we can group the Rules according to purpose.

As an example, the Mississippi Court Rules should include the following:
1. Uniform Rules of Circuit and County Court Practice;
2. Uniform Chancery Court Rules;
3. Uniform Rules of Procedure for Justice Court;
4. Uniform Rules of Youth Court Practice;
5. Court Annexed Mediation Rules for Civil Litigation; and
6. Rules for Electronic and Photographic Coverage of Judicial Proceedings.

I would consider adding the Mississippi Electronic Courts Administrative Procedures and the Appellate E-Filing Administrative Procedures.  If we kept these separate, the Rules of Court should reference these electronic filing procedures.

Next, the Mississippi Rules of Professional Conduct should include the following:
1. Mississippi Rules and Regulations for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education;
2. Rules Governing Admission to the Mississippi Bar,
3. Code of Judicial Conduct,
4. Rules of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance,
5. Rules and Regulations for Mandatory Continuing Judicial Education,
6. Rules and Regulations Governing Certified Court Reporters,
7. Rules and Regulations for Certification and Continuing Education for Mississippi Court Administrators, and
8. Rules of the Mississippi Lawyers and Judges Assistance Program.

Since I would not touch the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure, the Mississippi Rules of Evidence or the Mississippi Rules of Appellate Procedure, my proposal would leave 5 or maybe 6 sets of rules.  The consolidated Rules would be modified to remove any unnecessary duplication and leave important Rules for various courts in sections dedicated to those courts.

What are your thoughts?

 

 

 

Motions for Recusal

Motions for Recusal of a Trial Judge are consistent.  [The Uniform Justice Court Rules are different, and there is no similar provision in the Youth Court Rules.

Uniform Circuit and County Court Rule 1.15 and Uniform Chancery Court Rule 1.11- MOTIONS FOR RECUSAL OF JUDGES

Any party may move for the recusal of a judge of the circuit or county [chancery] court if it appears that the judge’s impartiality might be questioned by a reasonable person knowing all the circumstances, or for other grounds provided in the Code of Judicial Conduct or otherwise as provided by law. A motion seeking recusal shall be filed with an affidavit of the party or the party’s attorney setting forth the factual basis underlying the asserted grounds for recusal and declaring that the motion is filed in good faith and that the affiant truly believes the facts underlying the grounds stated to be true. Such motion shall, in the first instance, be filed with the judge who is the subject of the motion within 30 days following notification to the parties of the name of the judge assigned to the case; or, if it is based upon facts which could not reasonably have been known to the filing party within such time, it shall be filed within 30 days after the filing party could reasonably discover the facts underlying the grounds asserted. The subject judge shall consider and rule on the motion within 30 days of the filing of the motion, with hearing if necessary. If a hearing is held, it shall be on the record in open court. The denial of a motion to recuse is subject to review by the Supreme Court on motion of the party filing the motion as provided in M.R.A.P. 48B.

MRAP RULE 48B. PROCEEDINGS ON MOTION FOR DISQUALIFICATION OF TRIAL JUDGE.
If a judge of the circuit, chancery or county court shall deny a motion seeking the trial judge’s recusal, or if within 30 days following the filing of the motion for recusal the judge has not ruled, the filing party may within 14 days following the judge’s ruling, or 14 days following the expiration of the 30 days allowed for ruling, seek review of the judge’s action by the Supreme Court. A true copy of any order entered by the subject judge on the  question of recusal and transcript of any hearing thereon shall be submitted with the petition in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will not order recusal unless the decision of the trial judge is found to be an abuse of discretion. Otherwise, procedure in the Supreme Court shall be in accordance with M.R.A.P. 21. Appointment of another judge to hear the case shall be made as otherwise provided by law.

Should the Recusal rules be tied to the “major donor” provision of the Code of Judicial Conduct?