Tuesday, August 25, 2015

U.S. v. Christensen (9th Cir. - Aug. 25, 2015)

You might expect me to critique the Ninth Circuit for taking nearly 22 months after oral argument to write this opinion.

Nope.  Not this time.

This appeal involves the convictions of notorious private investigator Anthony Pellicano and a variety of his associates.  Defendants filed fourteen briefs in the Ninth Circuit, a total of over 900 pages.  The government's answering brief was nearly 700 (!) pages long.  The Ninth Circuit opinion itself caps out at 123 (!!) single-spaced pages.  Including a dissent on a material point by Judge Christensen, who's sitting by designation from the district court in Montana.  And who, in a neat little coincidence, has the same last name as the lead defendant.

Cranking out 123 pages of published text, plus additional stuff in an accompanying unpublished memorandum disposition, takes time.  Twenty-two months, even.

So notwithstanding the fact that several of the district court captions in this appeal begin with "05", I think this is about as timely an opinion as we have any legitimate reason to expect.