Appellate Insights

Sep 12, 2023 Laurie J. Hepler
Pictures In Appellate Briefs

There are some points that only a photograph or other image can effectively convey, and others that a photo or image conveys far more powerfully than words can.  While appellate briefs should not routinely contain pictures (and almost never more than one or two), counsel can use this tool to great advantage when the record supplies compelling material.  These tips will help you do it well:

  • Make certain that the image will end up crisp and clear in the final electronic filing.
  • Keep the size under half a page, typically, and consider whether black and white or color would be more effective.  (One appellate district used to reject briefs with color components, but those days have passed.)
  • Provide a record citation immediately after the image. An image from outside the appellate record is rarely appropriate, but if reference to it is justifiable, cite the source.
  • If your image shows words that you want the Court to read: count them manually, add that number to the total in your word-count certificate, and say you’re doing so.

►  The practical message.  Judicious use of a photograph or image in your appellate brief can make a core point leap off the page.

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