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7th Circuit seeks comment on e-filing rule changes

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals is revising its rules to require initial electronic filing of all documents, and the federal appellate court is taking public comment for the next three weeks.

Proposed revisions to Circuit Rule 25 on e-filing and Rule 27 on emergency filings were posted Monday, giving the public until March 25 to review and submit comment about the changes. The Circuit would also strike Rule 31(e), which deals with uploading digital briefs and would no longer be needed under the new rules.

If the rules are adopted by an advisory committee as proposed, the court expects them to take effect May 1. A draft of the Electronic Case Filing (ECF) Procedures can be found on the court’s website at www.ca7.uscourts.gov.

“Many courts are using this e-filing already, so we’re just hopping on the bandwagon,” said Circuit Clerk Gino Agnello in Chicago. “This has been evolving nationally during the past two years and we’re one of the last to do it, because we wanted to make sure all the kinks are out of the system. We were one of the first in the country to make briefs and opinions available electronically and most attorneys have been doing this at the District level already, so our bar is ready to go.”

Rule 25 pertains to all briefs, motions, petitions, and similar documents filed with the court but does not apply to pro se litigants and also allows for parties to request an exemption from the rule. Rule 27 outlines the procedures for emergency filings when the Clerk’s Office is closed.

As far as electronic access to documents, these rule revisions don’t make any practical changes to what attorneys and members of the public will see online, Agnello said. Rather, it will push the court to go paperless and require the initial e-filing. Traditionally, paper filings have been the “official” copies while e-briefs have been the courtesy copy.

Agnello said pinpointing a number of documents this could involve is difficult to assess, because any of the 3,300 to 3,400 new filings a year could entail multiple briefs and documents.

“Whatever the amount, this will reduce the number of paper files we have dramatically,” Agnello said.

Written comments can be submitted to: Advisory Committee, c/o Clerk of Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 219 South Dearborn St., Chicago, IL 60604. They can also be sent by email to USCA7_Clerk@ca7.uscourts.gov.

Once the start date gets closer, Agnello said the court will likely post training materials online for attorneys and members of the public.

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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