Prehearing Research and Screening in the Michigan Court of Appeals: One Court's Method for Increasing Judicial Productivity
Norman Otto Stockmeyer
Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School
T. John Lesinski
Vanderbilt Law Review, Vol. 26, p. 1211, 1973
The Michigan Court of Appeals was created in 1965. Within three years, it was inundated with appeals. As an alternative to adding judges or multiple law clerks, in 1968 it became the first state appeals court to employ a central research staff. The staff screens and prepares bench memos on every appeal that passes through the court. This 1973 article was written by the court’s Chief Judge (now deceased) and its Research Staff Director. They describe the methods used to research and screen appeals, and the selection, direction, and tenure of the research staff. They also address the benefits of the prehearing-report system and concerns about potential delegation of judicial authority. The use of prehearing research staffs by other pioneering courts is described and compared with the Michigan experience. That experience led national advisory commissions to recommend that central staffing and screening be incorporated within appellate court systems generally.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 30
Keywords: appellate courts, judicial staff, prehearing research, judicial productivity
Date posted: January 1, 2011
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