Sunday, April 20, 2008

Judges Signing Orders

The other day I was reading some online comments about judges signing orders. They were wondering why the judge had the lawyer prepare the order. They felt that something fishy was happening to them.

I can think of three situations where attorneys write up the order for the judge.

First, the judge issues an order from the bench and tells one of the lawyers to write it up. That usually happens when there is a pro se party on the other side.

Second, one party offers to write up an order - honestly, that usually happens when one side gets paid more than the other.

Third, one party (or both) wants written findings and both lawyers (pro se if someone is representing themselves) are told to submit proposed findings.

Indiana Trial Rule 52(C) allows the same thing (albeit in a more formal style):

(C) Proposed findings. In any case where special findings of facts and conclusions thereon are to be made the court shall allow and may require the attorneys of the parties to submit to the court a draft of findings of facts and conclusions thereon which they propose or suggest that the court make in such a case.
I think Trial Rule 52 has great usefulness. By necessity it focuses the court on the facts that support its judgment and winnows out the issues for an appeal.

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