I just filed my reply brief. The way it works is that since I am the one appealing a lower court brief, and I am the one who must show that the lower court did wrong, I file the opening brief. Then the other side, my ex-wife, files an opposition brief, and I get the last word with a reply brief. The appellate court now has all the briefs it needs.
I filed it with the appellate clerk in person, just to make sure the clerk accepts it. There is usually some problem. This time she complained that the info on the front cover was out of the usual order. She checked with her supervisor, and she said that was okay.
I gave the clerk five copies of the reply brief, as that is required, and then the clerk asked which was the original. She has to stamp one copy as "original" and the other four as "copy". The brief does not need to be signed, but the original must include a proof of service and the proof of service must be signed. So I signed one of the briefs on the spot, and she stamped that one as the "original".
The clerk quizzed me about serving the other parties, but not about the fundamental catch-22 in the rules. I cannot serve the other parties with copies of the brief until I know that the clerk has accepted it, but the clerk will not accept it until I prove that the other parties have been served. So I pretty much have to lie to somebody.
I mailed copies to the California Supreme Court, the Santa Cruz Superior Court, and my ex-wife, as required. They should get it in the mail tomorrow. They can get an electronic version from the web site today.
I wish the court would just switch to electronic filing. That would completely eliminate a lot of hassle, including the crazy service rules.
The appeal court now has all the necessary paperwork to make a decision. The case is not formally submitted yet, because there is a pending motion to seal parts of the record. There is also a missing transcript that a court reporter has not done yet. I am expecting those matters to be taken care of shortly.
Once the record is finalized, and the appeal court reads our papers, then it will schedule oral arguments and make a decision. The clerk could not predict how long that would take.