Lawyers I’ve asked vary in whether they list the trial judge as an “interested person” in Mississippi appellate briefs. M.R.A.P. 28(a)(1) says to list “all persons, associations of persons, firms, partnerships, or corporations which have an interest in the outcome of this case.”
That typically includes the parties, their counsel, and entities like parent companies. The idea is that an appellate judge who might have a conflict of interest could then consider whether to recuse.
But what about the trial judge? I suppose he has an “interest” in being affirmed, maybe. But it doesn’t seem to be the kind of “interest” envisioned by the rule (firms, partnerships, corporations —-> $$$).
I also note that the rule says that “governmental parties need not supply this certificate,” which seems to imply that the trial judge doesn’t have an “interest” for purposes of the rule, or else why not require it then, too? (Of course, that also seems to imply it’s overkill to list the lawyers, who anyway are on the cover and the certificate of service—not exactly a mystery.)
The parallel federal Rule 28(a)(1) calls it a “corporate disclosure statement” that is limited to parent corporations and publicly-held corporations that hold 10% or more of the corporate party’s stock, which again suggests that any “interest” of trial-court judges is not at issue.
What do you think, Gentle Readers?
… I’m reminded that the local rule 28.2.1 for the Fifth Circuit is broader, but still defines “interested” as “financially interested,” as well as requiring opposing counsel and their firms. No judges, though.
… To put it another way, aren’t judges, by definition, disinterested parties? If the trial judge “had an interest” in the outcome of the case, then what was he doing trying it in the first place?