Now a majority of federal judges are using iPads

Judge David Nuffer (District of Utah) wrote a guest post on 3 Geeks and a Law Blog with some thoughts about the use of iPads by his colleagues on the federal bench.

The post begins by citing a recent report that 58% of federal judges “use an iPad for their court work.” (( He notes that the percentage of federal bankruptcy judges using iPads is higher (70%), but he does not mention the percentage of federal appellate judges using them. I can’t locate the survey online to check. ))

Judge Nuffer explained that they “have replaced laptops for many judges.” In particular, they are used not only for email but also for reading PDFs filed through the e-filing system.

Most judges also use an iPad for general reading because electronically filed documents are all PDF format. Apps such as PDF Expert, iAnnotate and Goodreader work well with these PDF documents. The documents can be annotated while reading and the annotations persist when the document is returned to chambers storage servers. Judges appreciate the ability to take voluminous documents with them in the same device they use for email. This results in less printing of electronically filed papers.

This echoes some of what Texas practitioners heard at the UT appellate conference two weeks ago. In 2010, the theme across the judicial panels panels was “e-briefs.” This year, it was “iPads.” The panel of Texas Supreme Court Justices noted that they are using a variety of devices, including the iPads that they have been issued. At least some of Texas’s intermediate appellate courts have also bought iPads for the use of the judges. And the panel of federal Fifth Circuit judges also mentioned that some judges are starting to review the parties’ briefs on iPads in preparation for oral argument.

Justice Guzman goes to summer school

Justice Eva Guzman is among the enrollees in the inaugural class of Duke University’s Master of Laws in Judicial Studies degree program.

She was quoted in an article in The Herald-Sun about the new program and how it fits into the schedule of a working judge:

Committing to the program, explained Eva Guzman, a justice of the Texas Supreme Court, has required some juggling and some very full days.

“While you’re here, you have to keep up with your full-time job back home,” Guzman said. “After your classes and dinner, you then begin your second eight-hour job.”

According to this list of enrollees, the class also includes Justice Frost of Houston’s Fourteenth Court of Appeals.

Source: The Herald-Sun, “The judges take a seat”

The challenge to Justice Hecht’s ballot eligibility has been dropped

Michele Petty, who is the Democratic nominee to run against Justice Hecht in the fall election, has dropped her challenge to his ballot eligibility.

According to the Statesman article, Petty concluded that any technical defect in the petitions had not actually confused any of the voters:

In a motion to dismiss her lawsuit, Petty told the Travis County District Court that her investigation revealed that voters “understood what they were doing” when they signed the petitions.

“Petty felt it would not be fair to invalidate their signatures because of error on the part of the circulators or notary,” said the filing.

In the filing, Petty also encourages the Legislature to revisit the requirement that judicial candidates solicit these signatures at all. Currently, state law requires potential judicial candidates who would run as Republicans or Democrats to obtain 50 signatures from each of Texas’s fourteen appellate districts. It does not impose the same requirements on third-party candidates.