Something the Mississippi Supreme Court and Mississippi Court of Appeals have right is how they release opinions.
The Supreme Court issues opinions at 1:30 pm. every Thursday except for a few weeks a year (holidays, bar convention). The Court of Appeals issues its decisions at 1:30 pm. on Tuesday. I don’t know if they are scheduled to publish or if someone turns a switch. But one minute they are not there, the next, they are.
This is good for the mental health of litigants and attorneys with cases before the Court. You don’t have to worry about whether that decision might come down the rest of the week.
Yea, its anxiety city at 1:30 on Tuesday or Thursday if you have a case pending. But the rest of the week is much less stressful. Sure you still know on Friday they may hammer you. But not today, Chap– not today. It’s a civilized way to get shot in the gut.
Compare that to something like a motion for summary judgment in federal court or an ECF venue in state court. The Court’s decision could arrive in two minutes. Or it might be 6 months. Or longer. Who knows? These courts give you much more anxiety for your money.
I have two suggestions. First, the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals could make their good system even better by giving the parties a day’s notice that the decision in their case is coming down the next day. That way, every week attorneys don’t have to hit the reload page on the Court’s decision page with one hand on the mouse and the other on a bottle of whiskey.
Instead, they can have a ‘liquid lunch’ on the faithful day knowing that they will soon be celebrating the Court’s infinite wisdom or drowning their sorrows because High Street just doesn’t get it.
My second suggestion is for all you other courts out there. You should also give the parties a day’s warning on when a decision on a dispositive motion is forthcoming. Why? Because you are driving us crazy, that’s why.
When I started practicing there was no email or electronic filing. Except for the occasional fax, bad news arrived in the morning mail. If you dodged a bullet, you were safe for another day–or 3 days on Friday. Afternoons in particular were much more enjoyable than these days.
Now courts issue decisions at any time on any weekday. It’s one of the reasons lawyers obsessively check their emails. They don’t want to be the last person to learn that Judge Screwem let em have it.
So how about it distinguished jurists? I know you’re reading. How about doing a solid for us poor anxiety filled street lawyers?