In a per curiam handed down on May 21, 2009, the Arkansas Supreme Court ordered rebriefing due to a deficiency in the appellant’s abstract. See Roberts v. Roberts, Case No. 08-740. According to a majority of the Court, the appellant’s abstract failed to comply with Arkansas Supreme Court Rule 4-2.
While Justice Brown opined, in his dissent, that the case should not be sent back for rebriefing due, in part, to the additional delay and expense to the appellant, the majority of the Court disagreed.
Justice Corbin wrote, in his concurring opinion, which Justice Imber joined, that he “must write separately to voice [his] concern about the problems arising from the increased number of appeals with deficiency problems.” Justice Corbin blamed both practitioners and the Court of Appeals for the current deficiency problems:
In fact, I believe the inconsistency of our appellate courts has contributed greatly to the current dilemma we face. I do not believe the problem stems from confusion over our rules. If it were simply a matter of the rules being confusing, we would have had more problems back in 2001 when the current rule was adopted, not eight years later. I believe the real problem is the fact that attorneys are being held to two different standards. This court expects the work product submitted to us to be in compliance with our rules. The court of appeals, however, is less stringent in enforcing those same rules.
According to Justice Corbin, “attorneys need to know that the briefs they submit are acceptable to both the court of appeals and this court.” He adds that “such consistency is the only way to resolve this problem.”