Tuesday, April 04, 2006

U.S. v. Biggs (9th Cir. - March 31, 2006)

I'm not complaining, exactly. I love short opinions as much as the next person. Perhaps even more so. After all, when you read every published Ninth Circuit and California Court of Appeal opinion, as you might expect, you're often really in favor of brevity.

So when Judge Beezer writes an opinion that, in toto, is a mere seven paragraphs, I'm hardly predisposed to react negatively. Especially when, as here, the opinion seems right. Yeah, the Seventh and First Circuits have squarely held that self-defense, like necessity, includes a "no lawful alternatives" requirement. But, in truth, it doesn't. At least not in our circuit. So there.

Here's my only point. The entire opinion is seven paragraphs. The briefs were filed in early- to mid-2005; the last one came in on July 25, 2005. The oral argument was on December 7, 2005. You've had this whole time to decide the case. Why exactly did it take almost four months after oral argument to write a seven-paragraph opinion? Especially since you already had a bench memorandum that, I'm quite sure, was even longer.

Seven paragraphs. Four months. Doesn't seem quite right. Speed, ladies and gentlemen. Sometimes it's a virtue.