Appeal in University of Idaho campus firearm possession case

Today Aaron Tribble appealed his loss in the University of Idaho campus firearm possession case. The Notice of Appeal is here.

I really want this case to succeed but I worry that Tribble doesn’t have enough experience to do this and will loose due to some error on his part rather than the merits of his case. Such a loss would set a precedent that would be difficult to overcome.

5 thoughts on “Appeal in University of Idaho campus firearm possession case

  1. Possibly, but not necessarily.

    This appeal is almost certainly going to be dismissed. Most dismissals on appeal are on issues of jurisdiction, standing, procedure etc…

    Few appeals of this nature actually end up being ruled on the pure merits of the original argument, even when that is specifically what the appellant is asking for. The respondents council will ask the court to dismiss the appeal for every possible reason, including disclaiming any error on the part of the trial court.

    In general, trial courts are not reversed on matters of fact or law, unless they made clear, reversible error. I read the brief, and saw no claim of clear reversible error. I see a request for reconsideration based on four questions, but no affirmative claim of reversible error. This leaves the court a lot of room to dismiss the appeal without making a positive determination of law.

    These cases generally don’t end up making significant case law.

    Oh and I have to say, this is a very poorly written appeal brief. It’s entirely possible that, as written, the brief will be rejected. Oh and you NEVER want to just submit a huge list of amicus briefs and affadavits without supporting arguments for inclusion, relevancy etc… It irritates judges clerks.

  2. Chris,

    It’s good to know we’ve got some high quality legal talent analyzing this. Did you forget to read the Idaho Appellate Rule 17 that states, among many other things, that a notice of appeal need only contain “A preliminary statement of the issues on appeal which the appellant then intends to assert in the appeal; provided, any such list of issues on appeal shall not prevent the appellant from asserting other issues on appeal”? Try reading it next time before you open you mouth and show us all how little you know.

    The parties cannot even argue the issues until the clerk of the court compiles the record that is specifically requested in that notice of appeal. Once that happens, the Idaho Supreme Court will calendar the submission of briefs. The briefs will contain the actual arguments or both parties. Since all the issues raised in the Notice of Appeal are questions of law or mixed questions of law and fact, the Idaho Supreme Court will review then de novo, meaning that it is a free review, not a clear error of abuse of discretion standard of review as you suggest.

    I seriously hope you didn’t go to law school, because, if you did, you should sue them for a refund. This is stuff they teach the first year law students.

  3. Yes, but they have to agree to hear arguments on the appeal first. They can always refuse to consider the appeal.

    I see nothing in the original ruling, or the initial brief, that would compel the court to hear arguments. If asking for a de novo review of the decision, you must be challenging either the basis in law of that decision, or a fundamental aspect of the previous hearing of the issue. I don’t see a specific cause to do so in the initial brief; though of course I’m sure it will be asserted positively in the full appellants brief to follow.

    A pure question of language: The notice of appeal raises the issue of reconsideration of the four questions, but does not assert error in law or in fact. The respondents preliminary brief will I’m sure state affirmatively that there was no such error, and they will immediately move for summary dismissal without further consideration (hell they’d do this anyway pretty much automatically no matter what the appellants brief said).

    Without a clear cause of appeal, asserted in the preliminary brief, what is to prevent the court from doing so?

    I say this, because I have seen several appeals where that is exactly what happened.

    No, I am not an attorney, nor did I go to law school; though I do have some legal training (as a part time paralegal and a researcher in a trial lawyers office for several years. It’s the “family business” of one side of my family), and I’ve been involved as a technical consultant and investigator in a large number of cases (mostly around corporate liability, fraud, misuse of resources, malfeasance, breech of contract, and various intellectual property issues).

    I have read, and been involved in preparing a large number of briefs, and several appeals briefs in federal court in particular. However, all of the cases I have worked on have either been federal, or in California, Massachusetts, or Arizona. Idaho may be different enough that my question is invalid.

    Also, you are entirely right in that I overlooked the fact that this was simply the notice of appeal. I did know that’s what I was reading, but by the time I wrote my comment, that had slipped my mind, and I was treating it as if it was the brief to be argued. In this case, the giant dump of supporting documentation is entirely appropriate…

    …but is still going to irritate the clerks.

    I have seen the results of irritated clerks, and irritated judges, presented with a large flood of supporting filings. Most memorably, a federal circuit court of appeals judge giving an appellants attorney a 10 minute ass chewing for wasting his time.

  4. Oh and by the by, I do believe the trial court decided wrongly, both in regards to the Idaho constitution, and the U.S. constitution.

    I believe that the right of a private property owner, and the right to freely contract, both in fact supersede the right of someone voluntarily present on their property to keep and bear arms.

    …however, that goes out the window when we’re talking about public property, property administered or operated by an agent of the state, or if someone is required by law to be present on that property.

    To my mind, that includes courtrooms and police stations by the by.

  5. Chris,

    Here’s the thing…

    (1) Did the trial court correctly interpret Art. I § 11 of the Idaho Constitution as allowing the prohibition of firearms in Mr. Tribble’s home?
    (2) Did the trial court correctly interpret the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution as allowing the prohibition of firearms in Mr. Tribble’s home?
    (3) Did the trial court correctly find that Mr. Tribble alienated his fundamental right to keep arms in his home?
    (4) Did the trial court correctly conclude that the Defendants-Respondants have the power to prohibit firearms in the home, satisfying Idaho Code § 18-3302J?

    The interpretation of a law or constitution is always a question of law that is reviewed de novo. The Idaho Supreme Court knows this and will hear the case on that basis alone. Alienation of a right is a mixed question that is also reviewed de novo. Determining the power of a government agency is also a question of law that is reviewed de novo. These are all legitimate de novo issues.

    On the question of dumping documents on the court, it’s not surprising to see the Plaintiff identify all the documents that are relevant to the issues. This saves the Supreme Court a lot of time and frustration having to wade through all of the irrelevant material. They rely on the parties to provide only the necessary documents. It looks like Tribble has identified 30 of them. No problems here. I’d just sit back and enjoy the ride. This guy knows what he’s doing.

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