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2014 California Rules of Court

Rule 8.630. Briefs by parties and amicus curiae

(a) Contents and form

Except as provided in this rule, briefs in appeals from judgments of death must comply as nearly as possible with rules 8.200 and 8.204.

(Subd (a) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(b) Length

(1)A brief produced on a computer must not exceed the following limits, including footnotes:

(A)Appellant's opening brief: 102,000 words.

(B) Respondent's brief: 102,000 words. If the Chief Justice permits the appellant to file an opening brief that exceeds the limit set in (1)(A) or (3)(A), respondent's brief may not exceed the length of appellant's opening brief approved by the Chief Justice.

(C)Reply brief: 47,600 words.

(D) Petition for rehearing and answer: 23,800 words each.

(2)A brief under (1) must include a certificate by appellate counsel stating the number of words in the brief; counsel may rely on the word count of the computer program used to prepare the brief.

(3)A typewritten brief must not exceed the following limits:

(A)Appellant's opening brief: 300 pages.

(B)Respondent's brief: 300 pages. If the Chief Justice permits the appellant to file an opening brief that exceeds the limit set in (1)(A) or (3)(A), respondent's brief may not exceed the length of appellant's opening brief approved by the Chief Justice.

(C)Reply brief: 140 pages.

(D) Petition for rehearing and answer: 70 pages each.

(4)The tables required under rule 8.204(a)(1), the cover information required under rule 8.204(b)(10), a certificate under (2), any signature block, and any attachment permitted under rule 8.204(d) are excluded from the limits stated in (1) and (3).

(5)On application, the Chief Justice may permit a longer brief for good cause. An application in any case in which the certified record is filed in the California Supreme Court on or after January 1, 2008, must comply with rule 8.631.

(Subd (b) amended effective January 1, 2011; previously amended effective January 1, 2007, and January 1, 2008.)

(c) Time to file

(1)Except as provided in (2), the times to file briefs in an appeal from a judgment of death are as follows:

(A)The appellant's opening brief must be served and filed within 210 days after the record is certified as complete or the superior court clerk delivers the completed record to the defendant's appellate counsel, whichever is later. The Supreme Court clerk must promptly notify the defendant's appellate counsel and the Attorney General of the due date for the appellant's opening brief.

(B)The respondent's brief must be served and filed within 120 days after the appellant's opening brief is filed. The Supreme Court clerk must promptly notify the defendant's appellate counsel and the Attorney General of the due date for the respondent's brief.

(C)If the clerk's and reporter's transcripts combined exceed 10,000 pages, the time limits stated in (A) and (B) are extended by 15 days for each 1,000 pages of combined transcript over 10,000 pages.

(D)The appellant must serve and file a reply brief, if any, within 60 days after the respondent files its brief.

(2)In any appeal from a judgment of death imposed after a trial that began before January 1, 1997, the time to file briefs is governed by rule 8.360(c).

(3)The Chief Justice may extend the time to serve and file a brief for good cause.

(Subd (c) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(d) Supplemental briefs

Supplemental briefs may be filed as provided in rule 8.520(d).

(Subd (d) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(e) Amicus curiae briefs

Amicus curiae briefs may be filed as provided in rule 8.520(f).

(Subd (e) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(f) Briefs on the court's request

The court may request additional briefs on any or all issues.

(g) Service

(1)The Supreme Court Policy on Service of Process by Counsel for Defendant governs service of the defendant's briefs.

(2)The Attorney General must serve two copies of the respondent's brief on each defendant's appellate counsel and, for each defendant sentenced to death, one copy on the California Appellate Project in San Francisco.

(3)A copy of each brief must be served on the superior court clerk for delivery to the trial judge.

(h) Judicial notice

To obtain judicial notice by the Supreme Court under Evidence Code section 459, a party must comply with rule 8.252(a).

(Subd (h) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

Rule 8.630 amended effective January 1, 2011; repealed and adopted as rule 36 effective January 1, 2004; previously amended and renumbered effective January 1, 2007; previously amended effective January 1, 2008.

Advisory Committee Comment

Subdivision (b). Subdivision (b)(1) states the maximum permissible lengths of briefs produced on a computer in terms of word count rather than page count. This provision tracks a provision in rule 8.204(c) governing Court of Appeal briefs and is explained in the comment to that provision. Each word count assumes a brief using one-and-one-half spaced lines of text, as permitted by rule 8.204(b)(5).

Subdivision (b)(4) specifies certain items that are not counted toward the maximum brief length. Signature blocks, as referenced in this provision includes not only the signatures, but also the printed names, titles, and affiliations of any attorneys filing or joining in the brief, which may accompany the signature.

Subdivision (g). Subdivision (g)(1) is a cross-reference to Policy 4 of the Supreme Court Policies Regarding Cases Arising From Judgments of Death.

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