Monday, May 01, 2006


Here is an update from Arthur Farnsworth

Dear subscriber,

I've been cracking the books hard to teach myself Web site design and HTML programming, and the results are starting to pay off, albeit not monetarily. I've given the top level of my Web site a facelift, and am quite proud of the results. Why not take a look? It's still at, and if your browser supports frames, you'll get the site contents list in a handy frame to the left, and the page you're currently viewing in a larger frame to the right. If your browser does not support frames, let me know via the contact form. I do plan to be prudent and put up a NOFRAMES main page, but would like to learn which browsers can't handle frames, too.

In other news, attorney Peter Goldberger and I went to the oral arguments session at the appeals court in Philadelphia this past Thursday. A late train and a revised court schedule resulted in me missing the first few minutes, which was the government prosecutor pitching her case. I walked in when Mr. Goldberger was presenting our side. Things move more quickly here than at the "downstairs" court level, so my notes are fragmented. I neither participate nor sit at the "defense" table, but rather sit in the spectator area. It's truly and lawyers forum!

Anyhow, the three judges asked both attorneys a number of questions, and asked them some "what if?" questions to help them determine the impact of our proposed jury instruction on this case, and in light of the previously decided cases here in the third circuit. Leaving out my fragmented notes of the proceeding itself, which went less than one-half hour, here is what Attorney Goldberger told me afterwards about the process. In chronological order, it is as follows:

1. Each judge has already discussed the case with his law clerks.
2. The oral argument day (April 27) is called the submission date.
3. The judges confer at lunch, and perhaps (best outcome for me) add it to the "no-brainer" cases on their list of cases heard that day. These are the cases that can be dispensed with easily.
4. If the case is not dispensed with on the submission date, the presiding judge assigns one of the judges to write a rationale for the decision.
5. The draft write-up is circulated to all of the judges, who discuss it with their clerks again.
6. There might be possible dissention now, based upon the draft.

If the case is of the no-brainer type, we should hear from the court in writing within two weeks; otherwise, there's no time limit rule here so we can end up waiting, in the words of Goldberger, "six weeks to six months."

Now you know as much as I do!