Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Phillips v. Ornoski (9th Cir. - Aug. 21, 2007)

You don't typically see -- indeed, I don't think I've ever seen -- the Ninth Circuit publish an order granting an extension of time to file respondent's brief. Those things are pretty routine.

But it does so today.

Let me summarize -- in my own words -- Judge Reinhardt's three-page order. And perhaps you'll see why he published it:

"California has asked for a 45-day extension to file its answering brief in this death penalty case. This is after we already granted them an additional 60 days. No problem. No problem at all. Death penalty cases are very difficult. As well as important. Take all the time you want.

I know this won't shock you, but I'm in no rush to execute the guy anyway. So if you feel like delaying a little bit on your end, feel free. Mind you, it's a bit ironic that we're granting you extra time merely to write a brief, whereas you, pursuant to 28 USC 2266, can typically make the Court of Appeals decide the case within 120 days with an appropriate request. So we'd have to adjudicate the thing faster than we're giving you simply to prepare a single brief.

But who am I to complain? You want more time. You got it. In this, and any other, capital case."

Okay, so a lot of those words are mine. But I think they accurately reflect the sentiment in the order.