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Helpful Tips From Justices Slaughter and Goff

Last week I attended the Indiana Public Defender Council’s annual Appellate Advocacy CLE. I learned so much helpful information for my appellate practice. But the highlight of the day was the Q&A session with Justices Slaughter and Goff. Both justices answered questions for an hour. The most notable takeaway from their session involved a discussion regarding petitions to transfer.

When reviewing transfer petitions, Justice Slaughter begins his review with the petition to transfer. If the petitioner does not persuade him in the Questions Presented section and beginning of the Argument section of the public importance of the issues raised in the petition, he is unlikely to vote for transfer to be granted. Also, he reminded us that the Court is not an error-correcting court, so the publication status of the decision from the Court of Appeals certainly influences his consideration regarding transfer.

Justice Goff approaches petitions to transfer a little differently. He reads the briefs and the decision from the Court of Appeals in chronological order, beginning with the initial judgment being appealed.

Both justices appreciate amicus briefs if they provide the Court with a fresh perspective. Finally, both justices emphasized the importance of demonstrating why the Court needed to take the case.

I learned so many more tips and tricks from the CLE and plan to share them as I implement them in my own practice.

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