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General Info - Pro Se Handbook (11th Circuit)
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ITEM 1 | THE COURT OF APPEALS

The Court of Appeals reviews final decisions of the U.S. District Courts, U.S. Tax Court, U.S. Bankruptcy Courts, and certain federal agencies. The Court looks at the record of the lower court or the agency, as well as the briefs of the parties.

ITEM 2 | THE FEDERAL RULES

Carefully follow the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure (FRAP) and the 11th Circuit Rules. The FRAP and 11th Circuit Rules are available on the Court’s website, www.ca11.uscourts.gov under the Rules & Procedures link.

ITEM 3 | PAYMENT OF FEES

For appeals from the District Court, the docketing and filing fees are paid at the District Court where the notice of appeal was filed.

If you cannot afford to pay the fees, you may file a motion to proceed without payment of fees, called a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. A financial affidavit, including a statement by you swearing under penalty of perjury that you do not have enough money or other assets to pay the fees, must be included with your motion. (See Forms at the end of this document)
If you do not pay the filing fees or file a motion to proceed in forma pauperis, your case will be dismissed. 11th Cir. R. 42-1(b).
• The motion to proceed in forma pauperis may be denied if the Court determines that –
■ the allegation of poverty is untrue; or
■ the action or appeal –
o is frivolous or malicious,
o fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or
o seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief


If the motion is denied, you must pay the fees or your case will be dismissed. FRAP 24.
• If your motion to proceed in forma pauperis is granted, you do not need to pay the filing fees, unless you are a prisoner in a civil (non-habeas corpus) appeal, in which case you will be required to pay the entire $505.00 filing and docketing fee when funds exist in your prison account. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b).
If you are incarcerated, the Court will notify you of your obligations under this statute [28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)] and will require you to complete and return an authorization form to allow prison officials to deduct the funds from your account on a monthly basis.
All litigants proceeding in forma pauperis still have to pay for other expenses of their appeal, including copying and mailing. FRAP 39.
If you were permitted to proceed in forma pauperis in the District Court, you need not file a motion in this Court. FRAP 24(a). You will still be obliged to pay the fees under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b) in civil appeals if you are incarcerated.
• If at any time the District Court has found you are not entitled to in forma pauperis status, or that your appeal is not taken in good faith, you must file a motion to proceed in forma pauperis with this Court or pay the filing and docketing fees.

ITEM 4 | CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

In all appeals from proceedings filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 2254 or 2255, the appellant must obtain a certificate of appealability (COA) in order to seek review in the Court of Appeals. FRAP 22(b). A COA is also required for state prisoners appealing the denial of a 28 U.S.C. § 2241 petition.

• If the District Court denies a COA as to all issues, a COA from the Court of Appeals is required. 11th Cir. R. 22-1.
• A timely notice of appeal may be considered as a request for COA in the Court of Appeals. You may also file an application for a COA with this Court. See 11th Cir. R. 22-1(a).

ITEM 5 | TRANSCRIPT INFORMATION FORM

In order to make a hearing in the District Court a part of the record on appeal, the hearing must be transcribed.

• Fill out the Transcript Information Form and include the date of the hearing and the name of the court reporter who reported the hearing.
• A copy of the form must be sent to the court reporter, filed with the District Court Clerk and the Court of Appeals Clerk, and served on opposing counsel.
• Forms for ordering transcripts are available from the District Court clerk and are available on this Court’s website: www.ca11.uscourts.gov

ITEM 6 | TRANSCRIPT AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE

Having in forma pauperis status in civil appeals does not automatically entitle you to transcripts at government expense.

• You must first file a motion for transcripts in the District Court.
• If that motion is denied, you can file the same motion in the Court of Appeals.
• You may request transcripts at government expense only for hearings held in the District Court from which your case originated.

ITEM 7 | APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL

In direct criminal (non-habeas) appeals, if you have in forma pauperis status or can show that you are indigent, you may ask the Court to appoint counsel to represent you. The motion must be served on opposing counsel.

ITEM 8 | CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE

You may be required to include with briefs and other papers a certificate of compliance (“CoC”) showing that your document does not exceed the applicable length limits. The general rules are set out below, but see the “Sample Certificate of Compliance” at the end of this document for additional information.

Briefs
• CoC is required for briefs filed in reliance on a word or line limit
• CoC is not required for briefs filed in reliance on page limits

Motions, Responses, Replies, Petitions, and Answers
• CoC is required if paper is produced using a computer (word limits apply)
• CoC is not required if paper is handwritten or typewritten (page limits apply)

Application for a Certificate of Appealability
• CoC is required if a CoC would otherwise be required under FRAP 32(a)(7)(B). See 11th Cir. R. 22-2.

ITEM 9 | FILING A BRIEF AND AN APPENDIX IN THIS COURT

Your brief is the written argument of your case. As the appellant, you will file the first brief, or opening brief. The other side, the appellee, is given a chance to file a brief answering your arguments – the response brief. You will then have an opportunity to respond to the appellee’s arguments in a reply brief.

The appendix contains copies of portions of the district court, bankruptcy court, Tax Court, or agency record that support your appeal, and it must be bound separately from the brief.

The Clerk’s Office issues a notice telling you when your opening brief and appendix are due. Do not file an opening brief or appendix until you receive a due date from the Clerk’s Office. Your appeal will be dismissed if you do not file your brief when it is due.

Filers using the ECF system are required to file briefs and appendices electronically and to provide the required number of paper copies of briefs and appendices.

BRIEF
FRAP 28 and 32, along with 11th Cir. Rules 28-1, 28-3, and 28-5, contain the requirements for the content and form of a brief.

In general, paper copies of briefs should include:

• A durable cover, front and back, with the 11th Circuit’s case number on the front
■ The color of the covers of briefs are:
o Brief of appellant – blue
o Brief of appellee – red
o Reply brief of appellant – gray
o Amicus brief – green
o Appellate intervenor – green
o Supplemental brief -- white

■ The color of the covers of briefs in a cross-appeal are:
o Brief of appellant – blue
o Brief of appellee-cross-appellant – red
o Brief of cross-appellee and reply brief of appellant – yellow
o Reply brief of cross-appellant – gray
o Amicus brief – green
o Appellate intervenor – green
o Supplemental brief -- white


• A Certificate of Interested Persons
• A Statement Regarding Oral Argument
• A Statement of the Facts of your case
• What the originating court decided
• The issues in your appeal
• The arguments you wish to present
• A statement of what relief you want from this Court – what you want this Court to do – and why
• Your signature. Briefs must be signed by each pro se appellant – you cannot sign on behalf of or for another appellant
• A Certificate of Service providing the name and address of the person(s) on whom you served the brief, if required by FRAP 25(d)

Your brief must meet the requirements of the FRAP and Circuit Rules. If it does not, the Clerk’s Office will issue a notice of deficiency indicating which item(s) are missing and providing a specific amount of time in which to remedy the deficiency. Failure to timely file the corrections may result in the dismissal of your appeal. 11th Cir. R. 42-3.

File the original and 6 copies of your briefs with the Court. However, if you are proceeding in forma pauperis, you may file the original and 3 copies. 11th Cir. R. 31-3. Filers using the ECF system still must provide the required number of paper copies of the brief. All filers must serve the brief on opposing counsel.

11th Cir. R. 31-1 provides the time for filing and serving a brief:

► Appellant’s opening brief is due 40 days after the record is deemed filed as provided in 11th Cir. R. 12-1.
► Appellee’s response brief is due 30 days after service of the brief of the last appellant.
► Appellant’s reply brief may be served and filed within 21 days after service of the last appellee’s brief.

APPENDIX

11th Cir. Rules 30-1 and 30-2 contain the requirements for the contents of the appendix. Also see the Instructions for Preparing an Appendix at the end of this document.

Your appendix must meet the requirements of the federal rules. If it does not, the Clerk’s Office will issue a notice of deficiency indicating which item(s) are missing and providing a specific amount of time in which to remedy the deficiency. Failure to timely file the corrections may result in the dismissal of your appeal. 11th Cir. R. 42-3.

The appendix is filed within 7 days of the filing of your opening brief.

If you are incarcerated, you are not required to file an appendix. If you are proceeding in forma pauperis, you may file only 1 copy of the appendix. All other pro se parties must file 2 copies of the appendix. ECF filers still must provide the required number of paper copies of the appendix. If the appeal is classed for oral argument, the filer (except for pro se parties proceeding in forma pauperis) must file an additional three identical paper copies of the appendix within 7 days after the date on the notice from the Clerk that the appeal has been classed for oral argument. All filers must also serve the appendix on opposing counsel.

In appeals from the district court and the Tax Court, the appendix should include the items required by FRAP 30(a)(1), which are:

• the relevant docket entries in the proceeding below;
• the relevant portions of the pleadings, charge, findings, or opinion;
• the judgment, order, or decision in question; and
• other parts of the record to which the parties wish to direct the court’s attention.

Other than FRAP 30(a)(1), the requirements in FRAP 30 do not apply in this circuit.

Consistent with the requirements of FRAP 30(a)(1), the appendix must include:

• A durable white cover, front and back, with the 11th Circuit’s case number on the front cover
• The lower court’s docket sheet (District Court, Tax Court, or Bankruptcy Court)
• Indictment, information, or petition as amended
• Complaint, answer, response, counterclaim, cross-claim, and any amendments to those items
• Parts of any pretrial order relevant to the issues on appeal
• Judgment or order that is being appealed
• Any other orders of the lower court to be reviewed
• In an appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, a copy of any state court rulings sought to be reviewed
• Findings of facts and conclusions of law
• Instructions to the jury if that is an issue on appeal
• Magistrate judge’s report and recommendation when appealing the order of the district judge adopting the same
• Findings and conclusions of an administrative law judge if appealing an administrative agency determination
• Relevant parts of any document, such as an insurance policy, contract, agreement, or ERISA plan
• When an issue is raised concerning the guilty plea, the transcript of the guilty plea colloquy and any written plea agreement
• When an issue is raised concerning the sentence, the transcript of the sentencing proceeding, and the presentence investigation report and addenda (under seal in a separate envelope)
• Any other pleadings, affidavits, transcripts, filings, documents, or exhibits that you believe will be helpful to this Court in deciding the appeal

In agency cases, the appendix must include the items required by FRAP 30(a)(1), which are:

• the relevant docket entries in the proceeding below;
• the relevant portions of the pleadings, charge, findings, or opinion;
• the judgment, order, or decision in question; and
• other parts of the record to which the parties wish to direct the court’s attention.

Other than FRAP 30(a)(1), the requirements in FRAP 30 do not apply in this circuit.

ITEM 10 | EXTENSIONS OF TIME TO FILE A BRIEF/APPENDIX

If you need an extension of time in which to file your brief or appendix, you may request an extension in one of two ways:

► The Clerk’s Office has the authority to grant one extension of 14 days in length via telephone. You may contact the case administrator assigned to your case and request an extension of up to 14 days. If granted, you will need to send a letter confirming the extension. This letter may be filed along with the brief or appendix.
► If you need more than 14 days, you must file a motion with the Clerk’s Office. The motion must contain a statement of when the brief or appendix was originally due to be filed, and why the brief or appendix cannot be filed on time.
► The motion should contain a statement advising whether or not you have consent of opposing counsel, if possible.
► The motion for extension should be filed at least 7 days before the due date of the brief or appendix. 11th Cir. R. 31-2(c).

ITEM 11 | FILING MOTIONS

Any motion filed while your appeal is pending must specify the reason for the motion, the relief being sought from the Court, and the legal grounds for the relief. If your motion is being filed in paper, an original and 3 copies must be filed if the motion requires single judge action. See 11th Cir. R. 27-1(d). The motion must be made in writing and must be served on all parties.

All motions filed with the Court should contain a Certificate of Interested Persons as described in FRAP 26.1 and the accompanying 11th Circuit Rules. (See forms at the end of this document.)

A motion will be treated as an emergency only when: 1) the motion will be moot unless a ruling is obtained within 7 days; AND 2) if the order sought to be reviewed is a district court order or action, the motion is being filed within 7 days of the filing of the district court order or action sought to be reviewed. If the motion does not meet these two criteria, it may be treated as “time sensitive.” 11th Cir. R. 27-1(b).

Any motion for reconsideration or clarification of an order of the Court must be filed within 21 days from the file date of the order. No additional time is allowed for mailing.

ITEM 12 | PETITIONS FOR REHEARING

If you think the Court’s final decision on the merits of your case is incorrect, you may file a petition for rehearing within 21 days of the entry of the judgment (or 45 days if your case is a civil case and there is a federal participant). No additional time is allowed for mailing.

Unless you are incarcerated or filing electronically, the petition must be physically received in the Clerk’s Office on the due date. 11th Cir. R. 40-3.

• You must have a legal basis to support your belief that the Court’s final decision was incorrect; it is not enough to simply disagree with the outcome.
• Number of copies:
► Panel Rehearing – original and 3 copies; white covers
► Rehearing En Banc – original and 14 copies; white covers


Use of the ECF system does not modify the requirement that filers must provide to the Court the required number of paper copies of a petition for rehearing.

If you do not file a petition for rehearing in this Court, you may file a petition for a writ of certiorari directly in the United States Supreme Court. Consult the Supreme Court’s Rules before filing a petition for writ of certiorari.

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Use these in conjunction with the United States Pro Se Handbook!

Please get the justice you deserve.

Sincerely,



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