Report me and my cause aright
Hamlet, Act V, Scene 2

  The Catchline



BULLETIN OF THE ASSOCIATION OF REPORTERS OF JUDICIAL DECISIONS


Volume XXI, No. 3 May 2003

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

Last summer in Montreal, on the occasion of the ARJD's 20th anniversary, Janette Bloom stressed the point that the association is at a crossroads. For two decades, our charter members functioned as the heart of the organization. Now, however, only one of the founders, Richard Ross, remains actively engaged in association activities, while other longstanding members-e.g., former Presidents Bill Haggerty and Emily Lebovitz (see the story inside)-are retiring in droves and playing less active roles. Given this "changing of the guard," it is apparent that newer members will have to assume leadership posts and take a more active role if the ARJD is to continue as the strong and vital force it has been. Some of our "youngsters" have already stepped up to the plate, but more are needed. To try to encourage additional participation, I have been writing letters to our "absentees"-reporters and opinion editors who are not members and members who have thus far played no active role in the association-urging them to get involved. The letters focus upon the enhanced professional development, as well as the lasting personal friendships, that ARJD membership affords those who are willing to take part. As time permits, I will follow up the letters with phone calls to those who do not respond. As those of you who already participate know, the benefits of active membership far outweigh the inconveniences prompted by annual trips to Washington for Executive Board meetings.

Actually, there is no time like the present to get involved. This issue of the Catchline (as well as the ARJD Web site) includes membership forms and registration materials for this summer's meeting at the Hotel Vintage Plaza in Portland, Oregon. What a meeting it will be! Education Committee Chair Chris Fallon has arranged a full slate of interesting, informative, and timely presentations, including a lecture by Craig Searles, Chief of a CIA Operations Unit, on Web site security and the integrity of on-line data, followed by a roundtable led by Andy Ashe discussing some of the same security issues encountered by ARJD members, as well as the results of the last Catchline's Web site survey. There will also be a workshop by the noted expert Richard Wydick, Professor of Law at the University of California at Davis School of Law, who will challenge us with hands-on exercises designed to hone our legal writing and editing skills. Mr. Wydick has already contacted Ed Jessen to learn the ins and outs of our jobs, so this should be a very useful session. Also on tap is an all-day trip to Salem to tour the Supreme Court of Oregon and the State Capitol. We will be greeted in Salem by Mary Bauman, Editor-Composer for the Oregon Appellate Courts, who has prevailed upon the Chief Justice of Oregon, the honorable Wallace P. Carson, Jr., to address the group. Thanks, Mary. We look forward to meeting you.

The August meeting will also include a full slate of social events designed to sample the historic, gastronomic, and natural wonders of the greater Portland area. LexisNexis and West Group have once again graciously agreed to host several of the activities. LexisNexis is sponsoring breakfast and breaks each day, as well as a dinner cruise in the scenic Willamette Valley. West Group is hosting our trip to Salem, a cocktail reception at the Pittock Mansion high above downtown Portland, and a daily hospitality suite, which once again will serve as an informal meeting place to visit with friends, have a snack, sign up for optional events, or just locate a shopping or dining partner. And this year there's a new kid on the block: Loislaw has graciously agreed to sponsor lunch on Thursday at our hotel. Also planned by our ad hoc Social Committee (chaired by Carol Oakes, my lovely bride and the well-known shrinking violet), are some awesome optional activities, including a trip to the beautiful Dolce Skamania Lodge for Sunday brunch and then to the 620 ft. Multnomah Falls, a stunning example of the Columbia Gorge's natural beauty. All told, if you don't leave Portland with your heads full of knowledge and inspiration and your tummies full of salmon, it won't be our fault!

Save the dates. The annual meeting starts promptly at 9 a.m. on Thursday, August 6 (7:30 if you want breakfast), and extends through Monday morning, August 11. If you are arriving Wednesday afternoon or early evening, please stop by the hospitality suite to visit and pick up your registration materials. Information on guests and the optional activities will also be available. I look forward to seeing each and every one of you in Portland.

Frank Wagner

Emily Lebovitz to Retire

Emily Lebovitz has announced her retirement as Reporter of Decisions for the Connecticut Supreme Court. Emily, an active member of ARJD for many years, began her career with the court in 1975 as an Assistant Reporter of Decisions. She was appointed to the top post in 1986. Remarking on the changes she has witnessed during her tenure, Emily said she remembers the days when the court was still printing with hot lead. (She did not say whether one of her duties was to pour it.) Although she characterizes her decision as "huge," she has not committed to any special post-retirement plan. She did reveal one little-known aspect of her life -- her participation in 4-H with her daughter Danielle. Emily said that few of us know that she got to sleep with sheep and pigs last year, and she also declared that if she's lucky she'll get to do it again! All the best to Emily from her ARJD family.

MINUTES

EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETING
APRIL 10, 2003

The executive board's fall meeting was held at the United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, April 10, 2003. President Frank Wagner presided and called the meeting to order at approximately 1:10 p.m. on November 21. Janette Bloom was in attendance with Bilee Cauley and Ed Jessen participating via teleconference. Also in attendance were committee chairs Chris Fallon and Lloyd Hysan; Andy Ashe participated via teleconference.

Fall 2002 Executive Board Minutes

Minutes from the fall 2002 executive board meeting were reviewed and unanimously approved without correction.

Treasurer's Report

By motion, the board unanimously approved Tim Fuller's written report showing a treasury balance of $11,688.06 on March 18, 2003. The board further moved and unanimously approved Tim Fuller's suggestion to add $2,000 to an existing one-year certificate of deposit with a current balance of $4,529.37 and a maturity date of May 24, 2003.

Site Selection Committee Report and Meeting Plans

The site selection package has been completed for the Hotel Vintage Plaza, Portland, Oregon, for arrival on August 6, 2003, and departure on August 11. The Vintage Plaza is a self-described "European boutique hotel" with appropriate amenities, including discount valet parking for the ARJD at $10 per day. The Tuscany meeting room (1,100 square feet) would nicely accommodate the ARJD.

The tentative agenda of sponsored events for the Portland meeting was reviewed. In that regard, Janette Bloom advised that last year Loislaw expressed interest in participating in the ARJD's Portland meeting; Frank Wagner stated he would follow up with Loislaw.

For the 2004 ARJD meeting in New York City, Andy Ashe and Lloyd Hysan conducted site inspections for six hotels in the city, including an overnight stay at the Hotel Roosevelt. Their report concluded that "[t]he best overall site was thought to be the Roosevelt, which had the lowest sleeping room cost, and is a beautiful older hotel that has been total refurbished, while preserving the original design and architecture." Other factors in the recommendation included a solicitous and helpful group-events salesperson and a personal endorsement from Emily Lebovitz. By motion the board unanimously endorsed the Hotel Roosevelt as the site for the 2004 meeting.

In conjunction with the site selection report, Andy Ashe also reported on planning for the Second International Symposium on Official Law Reporting, which will be held on July 30, 2004, in conjunction with the ARJD meeting under the auspices of the New York Law Reporting Bureau. In reviewing the tentative agenda, it was noted that preparing for the ARJD meeting alone is typically a daunting burden for the group's president, thus preparation and delivery of planned remarks on behalf of the ARJD about official law reporting in the United States should be delegated to the vice president for 2004.

Education Committee Report

For the 2003 annual meeting in Portland, Chris Fallon reported that Craig Searles will give a one-hour presentation on Thursday about computer security (i.e., Web site security and/or data integrity security). Andy Ashe will then lead a one-hour roundtable discussion on computer security. On Thursday afternoon, Richard Wydick, a nationally recognized author on legal writing who is a professor at the University of California, Davis, Law School, will give a two-hour presentation. On Friday, the education program will entail a trip to Salem, the Oregon state capital, and may include a talk by a justice from the Oregon Supreme Court.

Membership Committee Report

There were no additions to the membership since the last executive board meeting; Frank Wagner reported no response to a letter sent to 16 appellate court officers asking each to consider joining the ARJD. Additional efforts will be made to increase membership.

Web Site Committee

Andy Ashe reported receiving 12 responses thus far to the Web site survey sent with a recent Catchline; responses will be compiled and reviewed at the 2003 meeting. Registration forms and materials for the 2003 meeting will be made available on the ARJD Web site at the earliest date possible, subject to the tight availability of the New York Law Reporting Bureau's technical staff. The February 2003 issue of Catchline is now available on the Web site.

Catchline Report

Sheila D'Ambrosio reported that the 2003 ARJD Directory was distributed with the February 2003 Catchline. Every effort will be made to editorially close the May issue as soon as possible after receipt of material pertaining to the annual meeting; reproduction and distribution will be closely monitored to ensure this issue is received as far in advance of the annual meeting as possible.

Although the revised appearance of the September 2002 Catchline was well received, graphics staff for the Administrative Office of the Courts in California could not locate the previously created template when asked to compose, reproduce, and distribute the February 2003 issue and the directory. Rather than delaying the February issue and directory until the template could be found or recreated at a time when the graphics staff was quite burdened, the traditional ARJD template was used for the February issue. Efforts are underway to have the new template recreated and secured for use on future editions.

Other Committees

The nominating, honors, and electronic publishing committees had previous advised Frank Wagner that there was nothing to report for this meeting.

Adjournment

With all business on the agenda concluded, the executive board meeting was adjourned on April 10, 2003, about 4:45 p.m.

Historical View of American Law Reporting

In his book A History of American Law Publishing (Oceana 1990), Professor Erwin Surrency provides the reader with an illuminating look at the development of American legal publishing. Particularly noteworthy is his chapter on the history of law reporting in the United States. As we eagerly anticipate the upcoming Second International Symposium on Law Reporting in 2004, we offer some of Professor Surrency's observations, which appear at pages 37 - 59 of his book.

In colonial times, the courts looked to England and the decisions of its courts as a "source of all laws." Attorneys at that time therefore relied on the English reports. In the late 18th century, Pennsylvania and Connecticut saw the inception of publication of law reports; clearly, however, the volumes produced then bear no resemblance to today's law reports. In Kirby's Connecticut Reports, the "opinion or judgment was given in the reporter's own words and the opinions were accompanied by notes stating what the court said orally in amplification of the point it discussed." The Reports by Dallas in Pennsylvania were "incorporated into the series of reports of the Supreme Court of the United States," although the "'opinions' [were] more in the nature of statements of legal principles rather than opinions as the term is generally understood."

Early law reporters plied their trade without "'official encouragement'" i.e., law reporting was fueled by the desire to sell volumes and obtain payment for the reporter's efforts.

Fortunately, the great state of Georgia passed a law in 1841 mandating that the judges of its Supreme Court "write out their decisions 'in a fair and legible hand' and place them in the minutes of the court" and specifying in which cases the judges had to write their opinions. The clerk of the court was directed to forward these opinions to the Governor for publication and distribution to the judges. (Editor's note: Thus as Athena sprang from the head of Zeus did the concept of official reports and reporters burst forth from the minds of Georgia's legislators. Actually, Professor Surrency claims that the first official reporter of decisions was appointed in Massachusetts in 1804, and the first official reporter of the United States Supreme Court was appointed in 1817. These appointments appear to predate the Georgia law. In any event, Georgia was and remains a state sponsor of law reporting, and apparently it has successfully exported the concept to other jurisdictions.)

Professor Surrency writes: "The early reporters' responsibilities were to summarize the facts, prepare the headnotes, summarize the arguments of cocounsel, and supply a useful index to the volume. . . . A good reporter also checked the accuracy of the citations and the development of the reasoning, which often improved the opinions." He adds: "The volumes of reports have included other materials ranging from court rules to such activities of the court as memorial services for deceased members and proceedings at the dedication of buildings."

Until the mid 19th century, many state reports were cited by the name of the reporter rather than the jurisdiction thus "a definite feeling persisted that the reporter was far more important than the judges who rendered the decisions." Early reporters also received their compensation from the sale of books, leading to the charge that this practice resulted in the multiplication of volumes. Eventually, reports were cited by the state's name rather than the reporter's name, and all reporters were salaried. Although Professor Surrency opines that these developments led to a decrease in the work of reporters and the "significance of the office," his book predates the explosion of the "information age." He does devote a paragraph to the "advent of the computer," and questions the utility of the vast extent of "information retrieval" capability. He does not address how the work of reporters continues to evolve and expand in just such an environment, as in 1990 few if any courts maintained their own Web sites and posted their opinions on the Internet. He shows us where we came from; the ARJD provides a forum for us to see where we are going.

Michigan Appoints Reporter of Decisions

In February, Danilo Anselmo was appointed the Reporter of Decisions for the Michigan Supreme Court. Mr. Anselmo had been a Legal Editor in the office since 1985. He lives in Lansing with his wife and daughter. Congratulations, and welcome to our newest ARJD member.

Resident Scholar Strikes Again!

Bill Jones, Reporter of Decisions for Arkansas, has edited a collection of essays by leading international Robert Louis Stevenson scholars. The book, Robert Louis Stevenson Reconsidered: New Critical Perspectives, has been published by McFarland & Company. This book follows Bill's earlier work on the Classics Illustrated series. Well done, Bill.

Your Dues are Due

A dues notice is enclosed with this issue. Please complete and send with your check to Tim Fuller at your earliest convenience.

ANNUAL MEETING

REGISTRATION DEADLINE

If you will be attending the annual meeting in Portland in August, please complete your forms and return them to:

Frank D.Wagner
Supreme Court of the United States
One First Street, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20543

The registration Deadline is June 30, 2003. The fee is $100 and is waived for retired members, family members, and event sponsors. Please make your cheques payable to the ARJD.

From the Membership Chair

A warm welcome is extended to our newest members: Dr. Eamonn G. Hall, Chairman, Business Committee, Law Reporting Council for Ireland; Danilo Anselmo, Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Court of Michigan; and Carolyn Kern, Reporter of Judicial Opinions, Northern Mariana Islands.

The membership looks forward to meeting our newest members in Portland, Oregon in August.

Kathryn M. Bann

Information, Please

If you are a newly appointed Reporter or a new staff member, please let us know something about yourself so we can include it in the newsletter. You can e mail the Catchline editor at: sheila.d'ambrosio@jud.ca.gov.

http://www.arjd.washlaw.edu