Earlier this week, I attended a fantastic panel by the LACBA Appellate Section on avoiding fatal mistakes in writs. The presentation was made by two writs attorneys of the Second District Court of Appeal. Many of the points were already known to me while some were knew. Below were the most important or interesting points I noted:
- If a writ provides a set time (for statutory writs) or is governed by a 60 day deadline (for common law writs) do not wait until the last day to file your writ. In addition to the obvious risks of having a filing problem, waiting until the last day will often undercut the claim of exigency. File the writ at the earliest opportunity.
- Trial counsel should be advised not to “waive notice” following a hearing. Doing so deprives appellate counsel of time to work on the writ.
- The fact that a petition is supported by a declaration in lieu of a reporter’s transcript will not lessen the chances of the writ being granted. When a reporter’s transcript has been ordered but is not yet ready, the declaration should specify when it was ordered, from who and the expected completion date. When there was no court reporter present, a declaration can suffice but must fairly and completely describe the hearing.
- There are differences in the judicial philosophies among districts, divisions and justices. Each has different views regarding calling the clerk, including illustrations in briefs and whether to file an uninvited opposition to a writ.