Friday, January 9, 2009

And never the twain shall meet: the East Coast, the West Coast, and missives to judges

I am still mildly surprised whenever I encounter the practice of attorneys in the S.D.N.Y. writing letters to federal judges. I was reared in the much more civilized C.D. Cal., where one learns early on that one simply does not do such things. And then some of us learn the hard way.

(h/t THR, Esq.)

UPDATE: Thanks to THR, Esq. you can now read the letter that Judge Feess wouldn't. Interestingly, the letter's author, who represents a non-party witness, states that she (and her "entire firm"!) are "well aware" of the C.D. Cal. local rule forbidding letters to judges, but that she sent it anyway "because our client is not a party to the pending lawsuit and we believe it is important to clear up what we believe to be a misrepresentation of the record that has subjected [her client] to public scorn."

On reflection, now I'm not so sure that L.R. 83-2.11 even applies to this letter. The local rule by its terms covers "[a]ttorneys or parties to any action or proceeding." But Ms. Millett's client is a mere witness, not a party. The next sentence of the local rule -- "All matters shall be called to a judge’s attention by appropriate application or motion filed in compliance with these Local Rules." -- is not explicitly limited to attorneys and parties to an action or proceeding, but the context does seem to imply that same limitation. Perhaps Judge Feess would have been persuaded to read the letter had it argued more explicitly that L.R. 83-2.11 simply does not apply to non-parties.


  1. Less baffling, however, than the bizarre NY "attorney affidavit."

  2. Are you trying to stir up an East Coast/West Coast attorney beef, Suge Sheffner?

  3. P.S. On a Slate podcast today, David Plotz made a reference to "the Notorious John Yoo." Or is that Y.O.O.?


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