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Friday, January 07, 2005

Indiana Courts - Footnotes in Judicial Opinions

Yesterday, in his opinion in Mirtha McHenry v. State of Indiana (1/6/05 IndSCt), Justice Dickson included this very interesting footnote #2:

As an experiment, this opinion departs from the author's usual style of citation and footnote use. Cf. Indiana Appellate Rule 22. Generally adhering to the footnote recommendations of Bryan Garner, The Winning Brief, 139-47 (2d ed. 2004), all citations unessential to the text are placed in footnotes, and substantive matter that otherwise might appear in footnotes is included in the text. This revised format does not meet with universal approval. See Richard A. Posner, Against Footnotes, 38 Court. Rev. 24 (Summer 2001). The public, the bench, and the bar are invited to comment to the Supreme Court Administrator, 315 State House, Indianapolis, IN 46204.
To better understand the change Justice Dickson is testing, here is the PDF version of his opinion in McHenry.

Here is Bryan A. Garner's 18-page Summer 2001 article titled "Clearing the Cobwebs from Judicial Opinions."

And here is Richard A. Posner's 2-page Summer 2001 article titled "Against Footnotes."

Both of these articles were in the same issue Court Review. Here is the Editor's note to that issue.

Finally, a real treasure, here is a 32-page presentation on Opinion Writing by Virigina Judge Clifford R. Weckstein. Starting on p. 23, he sets out the July 8, 2001 NY Times article on legal footnotes referenced in the Court Review "Editor's note."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 7, 2005 09:02 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts