AT THE CIRCUIT LEVEL

 
8th Circuit Conference
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. answers questions from the audience
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. answers questions from the audience


During the week of Aug. 11, lawyers and judges from the 8th Circuit met in Minneapolis for the annual Judicial Conference―focusing on “Lawyering in the 21st Century.” The Western District was well represented by judges, private practitioners and representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s and the Federal Public Defender’s offices. Attendees converged on the twin cities for education, social interaction, discussion about the current state of lawyering and, of course, a little baseball. Judge Michael J. Davis of the District of Minnesota chaired the conference, and it provided an opportunity for lawyers to meet the new chief judge, The Honorable William Jay Riley. Highlights of the conference included:

  • resolutions honoring retiring judges, including our own Magistrate William Knox, who continues to serve the district in recall capacity;
  • educational sessions on: social networking and jury trials, evidence in the 21st century, recent Supreme Court decisions, persuading judges, the sentencing guidelines and juror implicit bias;
    Judges Dow and Kays at Target Field
           Judges Dow and Kays at Target Field
  • a presentation of the American Inns of Court Award to Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh Sr.;
  • a panel discussion featuring Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., who shared observations about no longer being the junior justice; and
  • a trip to the new Target field for a session featuring a variety of baseball authorities who intertwined information about the league’s integration with legal topics and old-fashioned story-telling.

As with most conferences, the true benefit was the dialogue between judges and their colleagues, and between the judges and the lawyers who practice before them. This sharing continues to produce a “best practices” mentality for all those who work for and with the federal courts. Unfortunately, as law firms reduce expenses in these economic times, it becomes harder for practitioners to attend the conferences―missing out on the benefits of in-person information exchange. But the good news is that the Western District will be hosting the event in August 2012. This should give Kansas City lawyers a great chance not only to participate, but also to contribute to both educational and social event planning.

 

Judge Benton shares stories at the WDMO breakfast   Judge Hendren from Arkansas and Judge Gaitan with Justice Alito at his reception
Judge Benton shares stories at the
WDMO breakfast
 
Judge Hendren from Arkansas and Judge Gaitan
with Justice Alito at his reception

Judges Wright and Knox Receive Recognition at Jury Instruction Committee Annual Meeting

The members of the 8th Circuit Jury Instruction Committee and Civil and Criminal Subcommittees held their annual meetings on Aug. 9 and 10 at the 8th Circuit Judicial Conference in Minneapolis. At the conclusion of the meetings, Senior U.S. District Judge Bill Wilson, Eastern District of Arkansas, and the chairman of the 8th Circuit Jury Instruction Committee, gave special recognition to Senior District Judge Scott O. Wright and Magistrate Judge William A. Knox. Judge Wright was the founder of the Jury Instruction Committee and had been chairman from 1986 until 2009. Judge Knox had served as a member of the committee and was chairman of the Civil and Criminal Jury Instruction Subcommittees from 1986 until August 2010. Both Judge Wright and Judge Knox were recognized and thanked for their many years of dedicated service and hard work on the 8th Circuit Jury Instruction Committee and Subcommittees. They also each received a very nice hand-carved leather belt as a gift from Judge Wilson.

Replacing Judge Knox as chairs of the Civil and Criminal Subcommittees are Magistrate Judge Beth Deere, Eastern District of Arkansas, who was appointed by the Jury Instruction Committee as the new chair of the Civil Subcommittee, and Magistrate Judge Matt Whitworth of the WDMO, who was appointed to be chair of the Criminal Subcommittee.

The Jury Instruction Committee consists of district judges from throughout the 8th Circuit. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey also serves as a member of the committee. Magistrate Judge Whitworth will also serve as a member of the committee, since he is chair of the Criminal Subcommittee.

Other Criminal Subcommittee members from Western Missouri are James R. Wyrsch, Wyrsch Hobbs and Mirakian PC, Assistant Federal Public Defender Troy Stabenow, Jefferson City, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gene Porter and Linda Marshall.

Civil Subcommittee members from Western Missouri are Daniel Boatright and Denise Drake of Littler Mendelson PC, Dennis Egan of the Popham Law Firm PC, Ann Maloney of Holman Schiavone LLC, Marty Meyers of the Meyers Law Firm LC, Larry Schumaker, of the Schumaker Center for Employment Law, and Magistrate Judge Whitworth.

The members of the committee and subcommittees work throughout the year to draft new and modify existing model jury instructions consistent with changes in the law. The subcommittee members typically meet in either St. Louis or Kansas City on a monthly basis. Once the members of the subcommittee complete their work on recommended new jury instructions or changes in existing instructions, the proposals are then presented, debated and voted upon by the members of the committee. When the committee completes its work and approves or disapproves the proposed instructions, the changes are posted on the 8th Circuit Model Jury Instructions website and are later sent to West Publishing for publication. Both the proposals and the later approved instructions can be viewed at any time on the 8th Circuit Model Jury Instructions website hosted by the WDMO.

Members of the committee and the civil and criminal subcommittees will all be devoting significant time to a “plain language” review of the 8th Circuit’s Model Jury Instructions during 2010-11. The members of the committee and subcommittees volunteer their time to work on the model jury instructions.



8th Circuit e-Filing to Change

Beginning Oct. 1, 2010, some changes will be made to the way you e-file your documents in the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Specifically, changes are being made to Rules 25A, 25B and 28A.

These new rules will:

  • require attorneys to file the electronic copy of a brief first―file paper copy only after an OK from the clerk’s office;
  • require attorneys to file electronic versions of the addenda to briefs, along with paper copies; and
  • pro se litigants will no longer have to serve defendants with paper copies of pleadings if opposing parties use the electronic case filing system.

To learn more, view the new rules at http://www.ca8.uscourts.gov/files/rulesOct2010.pdf.

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