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In re Acceptance of Records On Appeal In Electronic Format And Elimination of The Abstracting And Addendum Requirements

Supreme Court of Arkansas

June 6, 2019

IN RE ACCEPTANCE OF RECORDS ON APPEAL IN ELECTRONIC FORMAT AND ELIMINATION OF THE ABSTRACTING AND ADDENDUM REQUIREMENTS

          PER CURIAM.

         Today, we are pleased to make four significant announcements regarding electronic filing and briefing in this court and the court of appeals. First, we authorize, effective immediately, the electronic filing of all case-initiating documents, including appellate records, in this court and the court of appeals. Second, we publish for comment proposed amendments to our court rules that incorporate the electronic filing of case-initiating documents, that eliminate the abstract and addendum requirements for appellate briefs, and that update our briefing rules. Third, in cases with an electronically filed record, we authorize parties to proceed under today's proposed rules as a pilot project prior to formal adoption of the proposed rules. Fourth, we announce that we are exploring the feasibility of shifting the onus of filing electronic records from appellants' attorneys and to a more automated process.

         Today's announcements mark the next steps on this court's journey to comprehensive electronic filing in the appellate courts. That journey began in 2010 when we adopted Administrative Order Number 21, which encourages every court of this state to implement an electronic-filing system and vests this court with the authority to adopt electronic filing in the Arkansas appellate courts. Ark. Sup. Ct. Admin. Order No. 21 3(a)(3)-(4). Thereafter, we began accepting select motions, petitions, and responses thereto via the court's electronic-filing system (eFlex) "as a first step toward mandatory electronic filing in the appellate courts." In re Appellate Motion Electronic-Filing Pilot Project, 2015 Ark. 282 (per curiam). Later, we began accepting appellate briefs via eFlex "as a second step toward comprehensive mandatory electronic filing in the appellate courts." In re Appellate-Motion Electronic-Filing Pilot Project, 2016 Ark. 314 (per curiam). And recently, we began accepting petitions for review and rehearing, along with their corresponding filing fees, via eFlex. In re Electronic Filing of Petitions for Rehearing and Petitions for Review, 2019 Ark. 79 (per curiam). Now, we authorize, effective immediately, the electronic filing of all case-initiating documents, such as original-action complaints, appellate records, and partial records submitted in conjunction with extraordinary writ petitions.

         Upon request for an electronic record and payment of any requisite fees for preparation of the appellate record and transcript, circuit court staff shall provide the record in an electronic format that complies with the proposed court rules set forth at the end of this order. Those proposed rules include significant changes in the form of the record, including the following. The circuit clerk's portion of the record shall no longer be combined with the transcripts prepared by the court reporter. Instead, the clerk's portion and the court reporter's portion shall be contained in separate portable document format (PDF) files, and each shall be paginated beginning with page one. If either the clerk's portion or the court reporter's portion is 30 megabytes (30 MB) or larger, that portion shall be divided into separate PDF files that are each under 30 MB in size, and the pagination of the subsequent files shall be continuous from where the previous PDF file ended. Each PDF file must include bookmarks to the beginning of each document contained therein and to the beginning of each witness's testimony, respectively. Exhibits to transcripts, other than physical evidence, shall be scanned when possible and included in the court reporter's portion of the record. Any documentary exhibits that cannot be scanned shall be provided to the appellant or appellant's counsel for conventional filing, and the electronic record shall identify any exhibits that are not included in the electronic record.

         Appellants who electronically file[1] the record on appeal shall pay any associated filing fees via eFlex and shall also electronically file the cover sheet required by Supreme Court Rule 3-7. See Ark. R. Sup. Ct. 3-7. For cases in which the record is electronically filed, parties shall follow the proposed rules at the end of this order regarding the format, content, and filing of briefs. The proposed rules include significant changes to appellate briefs, including elimination of the abstract and addendum requirements, which are replaced by an updated jurisdictional statement and an enlarged statement of the case and facts section. The jurisdictional statement shall include all information necessary for this court to confirm its jurisdiction, and the statement of the case and the facts shall include all of the factual and procedural information needed to understand the case and decide the issues on appeal. Throughout the briefs, parties shall cite directly to the PDF page numbers of the circuit clerk's portion and the court reporter's portion of the electronic record where pertinent information can be found. Also, page limitations are eliminated and replaced with word-count limitations.

         As previously mentioned, today we recommend eliminating the abstract and addendum requirements. We do so because the adoption of electronic records on appeal renders those sections unnecessary. The abstract procedure has served this court well since its adoption 134 years ago in 1885. See Rules of the Supreme Court of the State of Arkansas, 43 Ark. 1, 4 (1885) (reprinted as corrected at 44 Ark. 8 (1885)). The purpose of the abstract was to provide each justice with a condensed form of the record, and for many years, abstracting was considered a less expensive solution to the alternative of having the entire record reprinted for use by each justice. See Neal v. Brandon & Baugh, 74 Ark. 320, 85 S.W. 776 (1905). Associate Justice George Rose Smith explained the necessity of the abstract as follows:

         WHY AN ABSTRACT AT ALL?

For purely practical reasons. There is only one typewritten record of the trial court's proceedings. That one transcript cannot possibly be examined by all seven members of the court in every case and in fact will not be so examined in any case. In this situation the court thinks the abstracting of the record to be not only less expensive but also more efficient than the multiple printing of the record in its entirety. Moreover, the typewritten record invariably contains many many matters, such as the captions and signatures to pleadings, their verification, irrelevant testimony, interlocutory orders, and so forth, that are not essential or even pertinent to the issues to be presented on appeal. Hence some condensation of the record is absolutely essential.

         George Rose Smith, Arkansas Appellate Practice: Abstracting the Record, 31 Ark. L. Rev. 359, 361 (1977). Just as it was in 1885 and 1977, it is certainly still true today that some condensation of the appellate record is absolutely essential. However, with the adoption of electronic records on appeal, the problems that arose when there was only one paper record of the trial court's proceedings are no more, and we believe that requiring appellants to prepare an abstract and the addendum may no longer be an efficient use of resources.

         There have been past efforts by this court to eliminate the abstract based on similar concerns about whether abstracting is worth the time and effort that must be devoted to it. See Josephine Linker Hart & Guilford M. Dudley, Briefing in an Electronic Age, Ark. Lawyer, Summer 2011, at 18, 19. Those efforts were unsuccessful at fully eliminating the abstract, although in 2001, one such attempt resulted in a shift from the abstracting of pleadings, orders, and exhibits, to a requirement that copies of those documents be placed in an addendum. Id. Those efforts to eliminate the abstract were made at a time when there was still only one paper appellate record, and the appellate bench felt strongly that abstracting testimony was still necessary for an understanding of the record and the context in which decisions were made below. See In re Modification of the Abstracting System-Amendments to Supreme Court Rules 2-3, 4-2, 4-3, & 4-4, 345 Ark.Appx. 626, 627 (2001) (per curiam). At that time, we noted that the abstract and addendum system was "interim in nature because the rapid advances in technology will eventually permit the electronic filings of records and briefs, and some of the issues with which we are struggling will disappear." Id. at 628. Indeed, with today's authorization of electronic records on appeal and the ability to access the electronic record in an easily navigable form on a tablet or laptop computer, every appellate judge may now directly review the relevant portions of the record; thus, the need for any abstract or addendum is eliminated. Of course, we must still rely on the parties to provide citations directing us to those relevant portions of the record in an efficient manner.

         We propose amending Supreme Court Rules 1-2, 2-3, 3-1, 3-3, 3-4, 4-1, 4-2, 4-3, 4-4, 4-5, 4-8, 6-1, 6-3, and 6-9; Rule of Appellate Procedure-Civil 7; and Rule of Appellate Procedure-Criminal 3 to provide for the electronic filing of the appellate record, to eliminate the abstract and addendum requirements, and to update our briefing rules. An ad hoc working group was formed to assist in drafting these proposed rule changes. The working group was comprised of volunteers from various Supreme Court committees and court staff. We thank them for their efforts.

         The proposed rules retain the practice of requiring the appellant to transmit the record on appeal from the circuit court to the appellate courts. In the future, this court envisions the possibility of eliminating one step in that process by having the circuit clerks submit the record directly to the appellate clerk in an automated fashion. To that end, we request that the ad hoc working group investigate processes to accomplish the task of clerk-to-clerk submission of records on appeal. We also authorize the clerk of this court to promulgate and update policies and procedures for the implementation of this order and for the use and operation of the electronic-filing and document-management systems. See In re Appellate-Motion Electronic Filing Pilot Project, 2016 Ark. 314 (per curiam).

         The proposed amendments are set out in full at the end of this order, as well as in "line-out, line-in fashion" (deleted material is lined-through; new material is underlined). Comments regarding the proposed rule changes are welcome. Please forward any comments by February 28, 2020 to Stacey Pectol, Clerk of the Arkansas Supreme Court and Arkansas Court of Appeals, 625 Marshall Street, Suite 130, Little Rock, Arkansas, 72201, or via email at eROAcomments@arcourts.gov.

         Rules of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals of the State of Arkansas Rule 1-2. Appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.

         . . . .

         (c) Transfer and certification. The Supreme Court may transfer to the Court of Appeals any case appealed to the Supreme Court and may transfer to the Supreme Court any case appealed to the Court of Appeals. If the Court of Appeals seeks to transfer a case, the Court of Appeals shall find and certify that the case: (1) is excepted from its jurisdiction by Rule 1-2(a), or (2) otherwise involves an issue of significant public interest or a legal principle of major importance. The Supreme Court may accept for its docket cases so certified or may remand any of them to the Court of Appeals for decision. The Clerk of the Court shall notify the parties or their counsel of the transfer of any case.

         (d) Petition for review. No appeal as of right shall lie from the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will exercise its discretion to review an appeal decided by the Court of Appeals only on application by a party to the appeal, upon certification of the Court of Appeals, or if the Supreme Court decides the case is one that should have originally been assigned to the Supreme Court. In determining whether to grant a petition to review, the following, while neither controlling nor fully measuring the Supreme Court's discretion, indicate the character of reasons that will be considered: (i) the case was decided in the Court of Appeals by a tie vote, (ii) the Court of Appeals rendered a decision which is arguably in conflict with a prior holding of a published opinion of either the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals, or (iii) the Court of Appeals arguably erred in some way related to one of the grounds listed in Rule 1-2(b).

         (e) Improper filing. No case filed in either the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals shall be dismissed for having been filed in the wrong court but shall be transferred or certified to the proper court.

         (f) Allocation of workload. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, cases may be assigned and transferred between the courts by Supreme Court order to achieve a fair allocation of the appellate workload between the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals.

         (g) In all appeals from criminal convictions or post-conviction relief matters heard in the Court of Appeals, the appellant shall not be required to petition for rehearing in the Court of Appeals or review in the Supreme Court following an adverse decision of the Court of Appeals in order to be deemed to have exhausted all available state remedies respecting a claim of error. When the claim has been presented to the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court, and relief has been denied, the appellant shall be deemed to have exhausted all available state remedies.

         Rule 2-3. Petitions for rehearing. . . . .

         (h) Previous reference in the statement of the case and the facts. In no case will a rehearing petition be granted when it is based upon any fact thought to have been overlooked by the Court, unless reference has been clearly made to it in the statement of the case and the facts prescribed by Rule 4-2.

         . . . .

         Rule 3-1. Preparation of the record. . . . .

         (f) Pagination. The circuit clerk's portion of the record shall be consecutively paginated, including any papers under seal, and the cover of the circuit clerk's portion shall be page one. The court reporter's portion of the record shall be separately paginated, and the cover of the court reporter's portion shall be page one.

         (g) Table of contents. The circuit clerk's portion of the record and the court reporter's portion of the record shall each include a table of contents which refers to the pages in the record where the matter identified is copied. For example:

Complaint ......................................................................... Page 3
Answer ............................................................................. Page 4
Motion for Summary Judgment ........................................ Page 6
Exhibit A - Medical Records (completely redacted and filed under Seal)………………………………...Pages 8
Brief in Support of Summary Judgment (internal redactions with complete version filed under seal) .................................................................. Page 16
Response to Motion for Summary .................................... Page 27
Exhibit A - Medical Records (internal redactions with complete version filed under seal) ............................................................. Page 29
Brief Opposing Summary Judgment ................................... Page 34
Judgment...........................................................................Page 45
Notice of Appeal................................................................Page 47

         The table of contents shall also list all documents filed under seal.

         (h) Fee for index. Clerks may add to their fee for the record a reasonable charge for these items where no charge is fixed by statute.

         (i) Record fee and costs certified. The fee for the production of the record must be certified in all cases; in addition, all costs in the circuit court must be reported, and by whom paid.

         (j) Clerk's record and reporter's transcript--Paper size and preparation.

         The record must be prepared in the digital equivalent of plain typewriting or computer or word processor printing of the first impression, not copies, on 8 1/2" x 11" paper. The record, as defined in paragraph (o) of this Rule, shall be fastened on the left of the page. All transcripts shall be prepared by certified court reporters and comport with the following rules:

(1) No fewer than 25 typed lines on standard 81/2" x 11" paper;
(2) No fewer than 9 or 10 characters to the typed inch;
(3) Left-hand margins to be set at no more than 13/4";
(4) Right-hand margins to be set at no more than 3/8";
(5) Each question and answer to begin on a separate line;
(6) Each question and answer to begin at the left-hand margin with no more than 5 spaces from the "Q" and "A" to the text;
(7) Carry-over "Q" and "A" lines to begin at the left-hand margin;
(8) Colloquy material, quoted material, parentheticals and exhibit markings to begin no more than 15 spaces from the left-hand margin with carry-over lines to begin no more than 10 spaces from the left-hand margin;
(9) All transcripts to be prepared in the lower case;
(10) All transcripts shall be prepared on only one side of the paper, not front and back;
(11) All transcripts of depositions shall comply with these Rules.

         (k) Exhibits. Photographs, charts, drawings and other documents that can be digitized shall be included. Documents of unusual bulk or weight shall not be transmitted by the clerk of the circuit court unless the clerk is directed to do so by a party or by the Clerk of the Court. Physical exhibits other than documents shall not be transmitted by the clerk of the circuit court except by order of the Court.

         (1) Folding of record. Records must be transmitted to the Clerk without being folded or creased.

         (m) Surveys. Real property surveys which form a part of the record shall not be fastened to the record.

         (n) Record in volumes. Where the record is 30 megabytes or larger, it shall be divided into separate files, each of which is less than 30 megabytes and is paginated continuously from the preceding file to the subsequent file. Any portion of the record filed under seal shall be a separate PDF file.

         (o) Definition of record. The term "record" in civil cases, and as used in these Rules, refers only to the pleadings, judgment, decree, order appealed, transcript, exhibits, and certificates.

         (p) Record of jury matters.

(1) The record shall not include the impaneling or swearing of the jury, the names of the jurors, or any motion, affidavit, order, or ruling in reference thereto unless expressly called for by a party's designation of the record.
(2) Verdict forms, written jury instructions, and proffered jury instructions shall be inserted in the record when expressly identified by a party's designation of the record.

         Rule 3-3. Record in Civil Cases.

         Not all records in civil cases will have the same contents. To the extent possible, items will be arranged in the following sequence:

(a) Circuit clerk's portion of the electronic appellate record.
1. The Complaint;
2. Plaintiff's exhibits which accompany the Complaint;
3. Statement regarding summons, set out in Rule 3-2(b);
4. Answer;
5. Defendant's exhibits which accompany the Answer;
6. Subsequent pleadings and orders in chronological order;
7. Final judgment, decree, or order appealed;
8. Post-judgment decree, order or motion (e.g., motions for new trial);
9. Orders granting or denying post-judgment motions;
10. Notice of appeal and designation of record;
11. Statement of points to be relied upon if abbreviated record designated;
12. Extensions of time to file record on appeal;
13. Stipulations to abbreviated records;
14.Narrative of testimony upon stipulations;
15. Supersedeas bond;
16. Circuit clerk's certificate, duly acknowledged; and
17. Certificate of costs of circuit clerk's portion of appellate record, indicating payor.
(b) Court reporter's portion of the electronic appellate record.
1. Transcription of proceedings;
2. Digitized transcript exhibits;
3. List of exhibits not included in the electronic transcript;
4. Court reporter's certificate; and
5. Court reporter's certificate of costs of the transcript, indicating payor.

         Rule 3-4. Record in Criminal Cases.

         Not all records in civil cases will have the same contents. To the extent possible, items will be arranged in the following sequence:

(a) Circuit clerk's portion of the electronic appellate record.
1. Return of the indictment or information;
2. Defendant's pleadings;
3. Subsequent pleadings and orders in chronological order;
4. Final judgment and commitment or order appealed;
5. Verdict forms and written jury instructions;
6. Motion for new trial, to set aside, amend, etc.;
7. Order granting or denying above motions;
8. Notice of appeal and designation of record;
9. Extensions of time to file record on appeal;
10. Appeal bond;
11. Circuit clerk's certificate, duly acknowledged.; and
12. Certificate of costs of circuit clerk's portion of appellate record, indicating payor.
(b) Court reporter's portion of the electronic appellate record.
1. Transcription of proceedings;
2. Digitized transcript exhibits;
3. List of exhibits not included in the electronic transcript;
4. Court reporter's certificate; and
5. Court reporter's certificate of costs of the transcript, indicating payor.

         4-1. Style of electronic briefs.

         (a) Format. Briefs filed by represented parties shall be typewritten using word-processing software, shall be contained in a single electronic file, and shall be in word-searchable portable document format (PDF). PDF files shall be converted from the word-processing software from which they were created, rather than by scanning paper documents.

         (b) Spacing. Briefs shall be double-spaced, except for quoted material, which may be single-spaced and indented. Footnote lines, except quotations, shall be double-spaced. Use of footnotes is not encouraged and should be used sparingly.

         (c) Margins. The margins at the top bottom, and sides of each page shall be not less than one inch except that the top margin of the brief cover shall be not less than two inches to accommodate the file-mark.

         (d) Font. Typeface shall be proportionally spaced, shall not be less than 14 points, and must include serifs, but sans-serif type may be used in headings and captions.

         (e) Pagination and bookmarks. Briefs shall be paginated consecutively, and the cover page shall be page one. Briefs shall also be bookmarked for ease of navigation. There shall be a bookmark for each section of the brief referenced in Rule 4-2(a).

         (f) Compliance with Administrative Order No. 19 required. Briefs shall comply with the requirements of Administrative Order Number 19 concerning confidential information and the following requirements.

(1) Redaction. Confidential information shall be redacted from appellate briefs in the manner described in Arkansas Rule of Civil Procedure 5(c).
(2) Redaction Not Required for Sealed Cases. If the entire record on appeal is sealed pursuant to statute, court rule, court order, or court practice, all briefs filed in the case shall be filed under seal, and no redaction is required.
(3) Unredacted briefs. If court review of any confidential information redacted from a brief is necessary to decide the appeal, the party filing the brief must file an unredacted version of the brief under seal. If court review of redacted confidential information is not necessary to decide the appeal, the party filing the brief is not required to file an unredacted brief.

         Rule 4-2. Contents of electronic briefs.

         (a) Appellants' briefs. The contents of appellants' briefs shall be in the following order.

(1) Cover. On the cover of every brief there should appear the number and style of the case in the Supreme Court or Court of Appeals; a designation of the court from which the appeal is taken, and the name of its presiding judge; the title of the brief; and the name or names of counsel who prepared it, including their bar numbers, addresses, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses.
(2) Table of contents. Each brief must include a table of contents. It should reference the page number for the beginning of each of the major sections identified in Rule 4-2(a)(2)-(10).
(3) Points on appeal. The appellant shall list and separately number, concisely and without argument, the points relied upon for a reversal of the judgment or decree. The appellee must follow the same sequence and arrangement of points as contained in the appellant's brief and may then state additional points. Either party may insert under any point not more than two citations which the party considers the principal authorities on that point.
(4) Table of authorities. The table of authorities shall be an alphabetical listing of authorities with a designation of the page number of the brief on which the authority appears. The authorities shall be grouped as follows:
(A) Cases
(B) Statutes and Rules
(C) Books and Treatises
(D) Miscellaneous
(5) Jurisdictional Statement. Briefs must contain a brief statement, supported by citations to applicable authority and to the pages of the appellate record, demonstrating the appellate court's jurisdiction. The statement must identify:
(A) Information demonstrating that the appeal is from a final order or judgment that disposes of all of the parties' claims, or information establishing the appellate court's jurisdiction on some other basis;
(B) The filing dates establishing the timeliness of the appeal; and
(C) Whether, under Supreme Court Rule 1-2, the appeal should be decided by the Arkansas Supreme Court or the Arkansas Court of Appeals.
(6) Statement of the case and the facts. The appellant's brief shall contain a concise statement of the case and the facts without argument. The statement shall identify and discuss all material factual and procedural information contained in the record on appeal. Information in the appellate record is material if the information is essential to understand the case and to decide the issues on appeal. All material information must be supported by citations to the pages of the appellate record where the information can be found.
(7) Argument. Arguments shall be presented under subheadings numbered to correspond to the outline of points to be relied upon. For each issue, the applicable standard of review shall be concisely stated at the beginning of the discussion of the issue. Citations of decisions of the Arkansas Supreme Court and Court of Appeals must be from the official reports, and all citations to both official and unofficial reports shall follow the format prescribed in Rule 5-2. All citations of decisions of any other court must state the style of the case and cite the official reporter (including a regional reporter so designated by the issuing court) in which the case is found. If the case is also reported by unofficial publishers, including an unofficial electronic database, one of these should also be cited. Reference in the argument portion of the parties' briefs to material found in the appellate record shall be followed by a reference to the page number of the appellate record at which such material may be found.
(8) Request for Relief. The appellant shall request, with specificity, all relief sought on appeal.
(9) Certificate of service. All briefs must include a certificate of service evidencing service of the brief in compliance with Rule 4-4(e).
(10) Certificate of Compliance with Administrative Order No. 19 and With Word-Count Limitations. All briefs must include a statement that the brief complies with Administrative Order No. 19's requirements concerning confidential information and that the brief conforms to the word-count limitations identified in Rule 4-2(d). The person preparing the certificate may rely on the word count of the word-processing system used to prepare the document. The certificate must state the number of words in the document.

         (b) Appellees' briefs. Appellees' briefs shall conform to the requirements of Rule 4-2(a) except that appellees may, but are not required to, submit a jurisdictional statement and a statement of the case and facts. Appellees may adopt by reference all or part of the appellant's jurisdictional statement or statement of the case and the facts and may respond to or supplement those statements if the appellee controverts them or believes them to be insufficient.

         (c) Reply Briefs. Reply briefs shall contain a cover, a table of contents, a table of authorities an argument, a certificate of service, and a certificate of compliance with Administrative Order No. 19 and with the word-count limitations contained in Rule 4-2(d).

         (d) Word-Count Limitations: Briefs shall comply with the word-count limitations identified below, and only the jurisdictional statement, the statement of the case and the facts, the argument, and the request for relief shall be counted against these limitations. The cover, the table of contents, the points on appeal, the table of authorities, the certificate of service, the certificate of compliance, and any list of adverse rulings required by Rule 4-3(a) shall not count against these limitations.

(1) Appellants' brief and appellees' briefs. Appellants' briefs and appellees' briefs shall be no longer than 8600 words.
(2) Reply briefs. Reply briefs shall be no longer than 2875 words.
(3) Appellees/cross-appellants' briefs. If an appellee is also a cross-appellant, the argument on cross-appeal shall appear after the appellee's argument in the brief, and appellee/cross-appellant's brief shall be no longer than 14, 325 words.
(4) Reply/cross-appellees' briefs. If the appellant is also a cross-appellee, the cross-appellee's argument shall follow the appellant's argument in reply, and the reply/cross-appellee's brief shall be no longer than 11, 475 words.

         (e) Motions for expansion of word-count limitations. Motions for an expansion of the word-count limitations must set forth the reason or reasons for the request, must state that a good faith effort to comply with this rule has been made, and must specify the number of additional words requested.

         Rule 4-3. Special rules for briefs in cases where defendant is sentenced to life imprisonment or death and for no-merit briefs.

         (a) Court's review of errors in death or life imprisonment cases. When the sentence is death or life imprisonment, the Court must review all errors prejudicial to the appellant in accordance with Ark. Code Ann. Sec. 16-91-113(a). To make that review possible, the appellant must include, in addition to the contents required by Rule 4-2, a list of all rulings adverse to him or her made by the circuit court on all objections, motions and requests made by either party, and the list must include the information needed for an understanding of each adverse ruling and the page number where each adverse ruling is located in the appellate record. The Attorney General will make certain and certify that all of those objections have been listed and will brief all points argued by the appellant and any other points that appear to involve prejudicial error.

         (b) Withdrawal of counsel and no-merit briefs in criminal, juvenile- delinquency, and involuntary-commitment cases.

         (1) Any motion by counsel for a defendant in a criminal, a juvenile-delinquency, or an involuntary-commitment case for permission to withdraw made after notice of appeal has been given shall be addressed to the Court, shall contain a statement of the reason for the request and shall be served upon the defendant personally by first-class mail. A request to withdraw on the ground that the appeal is wholly without merit shall be accompanied by a brief. The brief shall contain an argument section that consists of a list of all rulings adverse to the defendant made by the circuit court on all objections, motions and requests made by either party with an explanation as to why each adverse ruling is not a meritorious ground for reversal. The brief's statement of the case and the facts shall contain, in addition to the other material parts of the record, all rulings adverse to the defendant made by the circuit court and the page number where each adverse ruling is located in the appellate record.

         (2) The Clerk shall furnish the appellant with a copy of the appellant's counsel's brief, and advise the appellant that he or she has 30 days within which to raise any points that he or she chooses, and that this may be done in typewritten or hand printed form and accompanied by an affidavit that no paid assistance from any inmate of the Department of Correction or of any other place of incarceration has been received in the preparation of the response.

         (3) The Clerk shall serve all such responses by an appellant on the Attorney General, who shall file a brief for the State within 30 days after such service and serve a copy on the appellant, as well as on the appellant's counsel.

         (4) After a reply brief has been filed, or after the time for filing such a brief has expired, the motion for withdrawal and the briefs shall be submitted to the Court as other cases are submitted. If, upon consideration of the motion or briefs, it shall appear to the Court that the judgment of the circuit court should be affirmed or ...


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