In Indiana, we are fortunate to have one of the most efficient appellate court systems in the country. Consequently, having a sound tracking system for appellate cases is key to avoiding missed deadlines. Anyone who has perused the Indiana Appellate Rules will notice that they include specific deadlines, and the onus is on the appellant (usually the criminal defendant) to make sure those deadlines are met.
My appellate system is somewhat rudimentary, but it works for me 🙂 With every appeal, I print off this Appeal Checklist. There are places to add important dates, and I can do my own “quality-control” check on my filings to make sure they are not defected. This checklist gets placed into the file with the appeal. When I file the notice of appeal, for example, I make sure I calculate the deadlines for the notices of completion and filing. When I receive a notice of completion of clerk’s record, I pull the checklist back out and use it to construct my appendix, which I usually file before I file the brief. That way my appendix is ready to go when I begin working on the brief. It is one less thing I have to do during crunch time.
To track the deadlines, I pull the dates from the appeal checklist and add them to my tracker. I’ve shared an example of my Appeals Tracker. I highlight in yellow the tasks I must complete, I highlight in blue the tasks I am waiting on someone else (clerk, court reporter, State) to complete within the next week, and I highlight in green those deadlines that will change due to a motion filed (motion to compel, motion for extension of time, etc.). The filled-in green boxes reflect documents I am waiting for (transcripts, court records, etc.) For tasks that I must complete, I also track those on a paper calendar and on Google calendar. I also track my invoices on my appeals and follow up if I have not received payment.
Finally, on Monday mornings I pull up my tracker and check each of my cases on Mycase to make sure I have not missed any filings. It is not unusual for a clerk to file a notice of completion and not e-serve me with a copy. I also check my Google and paper calendars against my tracker to ensure I have not failed to include a task on my calendars.
A good tracking system in a busy appellate practice. If you have any questions, comment below!