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SCOW issues order on appellate court operations and procedures due to COVID-19

Due to the public health emergency created by COVID-19, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has decided to limit temporarily the number of people who are physically present in appellate court offices and to modify temporarily certain appellate procedures. For the court’s order, click here. Our summary and explanation is below.

  • With certain exceptions (listed below), all deadlines in all matters pending in either the supreme court or court of appeals that would expire between Thursday, March 19, 2020, and Friday, April 3, 2020 (inclusive), are tolled for 21 days. (This means 21 calendar days should be added to whatever the deadline would otherwise be.) Per the order, “[t]his tolling shall include, but not be limited to, deadlines for briefs, motions, responses to motions, docketing statements, statements on transcripts, etc.”
  • With certain exceptions (also listed below), all deadlines for filing documents in the circuit courts under Wis. Stat. §§ (Rules) 809.107, 809.30, and 809.32 that would expire between March 19, 2020, and April 3, 2020 (inclusive), are tolled for a period of 21 days. (Again, this means 21 calendar days should be added to whatever the deadline would otherwise be). Thus, filing dates for motions for postconviction or postdisposition relief and for notices of appeal under Rule 809.107, 809.30, or 809.32 that fall between March 19 and April 3 are tolled for 21 days.
  • EXCEPTIONS:

1) Deadlines for filing documents in circuit courts as required by circuit court rules or case-specific circuit court scheduling orders are not tolled under this order. (A circuit court may adopt its own modified procedures in light of the pandemic, and that might include tolling deadlines; links to the various counties’ orders are available on the state court website, here, under the COVID-19 tab.)

2) Notices of appeal in any case other than a case under Rule 809.30, 809.107, or 809.32 are not tolled. Most importantly, this means notices of appeal due between March 19 and April 3 in any civil cases must still be filed on or before the existing due date.

3) Deadlines for filing petitions for review under Rules 808.10 and 809.62 are not tolled. Petitions must still be physically filed with the clerk within the 30-day deadline under Rule 808.10. However:

…[I]f the deadline for filing a petition for review falls between March 19, 2020, and April 3, 2020 (inclusive), a party may comply with the deadline for filing a petition for review by filing a short statement that the party seeks Supreme Court review of an identified decision of the Court of Appeals, which statement shall be deemed to be a timely petition for review. A party who complies by filing such a short statement shall file a supplemental petition that contains all of the items set forth in Wis. Stat. § (Rule) 809.62(2) within 21 days after the filing of the short statement. Absent an extension of time granted by the Supreme Court for good cause shown, the failure to file the supplemental petition conforming to Wis. Stat. § (Rule) 809.62(2) within the 21-day period shall subject the petition for review to dismissal….

4) Deadlines for the filing of briefs, motions, or other documents in a specific list of nine cases pending in the Supreme Court and set for oral argument on March 30, 2020, April 1, 2020, and April 20, 2020 are not tolled. The list of cases is here.

  • Also, “non-emergency motions to the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court between March 19, 2020, and April 3, 2020 (inclusive), are discouraged so that court personnel may focus on essential court functions.” (Emphasis supplied). If you file a non-emergency motion, expect a delay in getting it ruled on. If you have what you think is an emergency motion, denominate it as such and explain your emergency. For more detail, see the order.
  • Finally, the clerk’s office is limiting its office hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and only one person at a time is allowed to enter. Filing by mail rather than in person is encouraged.

 

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