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Document Type

Survey Article


During the survey year, according to a Westlaw search, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit rendered 2252 opinions. However, only 375 of these opinions were "published," which is consistent with the Eleventh Circuit's recent trend of sharply limiting the number of published decisions. The court's view on this issue is illustrated by Internal Operating Procedure ("IOP") 5 in Eleventh Circuit Rule 36-2:

The unlimited proliferation of published opinions is undesirable because it tends to impair the development of the cohesive body of law. To meet this serious problem it is declared to be the basic policy of this court to exercise imaginative and innovative resourcefulness in fashioning new methods to increase judicial efficiency and reduce the volume of published opinions.

The Eleventh Circuit applies this policy with vigor, perhaps to the disappointment of lawyers looking for helpful authority to cite when appearing before the Eleventh Circuit or the district courts within the circuit. The problem, if it can be called a problem, is exacerbated by the fact that a significant percentage of published opinions are cases that raise issues about aliens, particularly the deportation of aliens, and federal sentencing guidelines. These may well be areas of the law that are in need of precedential guidance, but lawyers looking for published cases addressing more traditional issues like evidence will find relatively few cases.

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