We most often associate really long opinions with SCOTUS. But, they occasionally appear in the published opinions of Texas courts. The unpublished opinions of Texas courts have first become more widely available in the last 20-30 years. They are generally considered only to address more run-of-the-mill or settled issues, and thus might not be expected to be that long. Of course, as a rule, death-penalty appeals often involve more issues and thus longer opinions.
My curiosity was raised by this week's 127-page opinion in the Suniga case. Is that close to the record for the length of an unpublished opinion? What opinion holds that record? Considering this opinion was issued only 7 1/2 months after submission, maybe that is some sort of a record as well (although there was no hold up for dissents or concurrences). I recently tried to identify the unpublished opinion that involved the most points of error and found some in which more than 30 issues were already well-settled.
Not the longest by any means, but one that I found entertaining: Mark Ken Tafel v. State, 10-14-00019 and 20. Case was basically about a county commissioner who carried a concealed handgun to Commissioners Court. The sheriff told him not to, the county judge wrote a letter saying that he could, and when he did it again, the sheriff arrested him.
The opinion (affirming) is nothing special really, and only eight pages long. The dissent, however, is an impressive ninety pages, and well worth a read.
Posts: 41 | Location: 47th District | Registered: June 04, 2004