In the heat of the rush to get a mandamus filed with the court of appeals, it’s easy to overlook basic mandamus requirements. That appears to be what happened in In re Moffitt, a mandamus proceeding filed in the Amarillo Court of Appeals.
Mr. Moffitt sought a mandamus to compel the Hutchinson County District Judge and Court Coordinator to issue a bench warrant and to hold a telephonic conference for final hearings. The court of appeals first noted that its mandamus jurisdiction was limited to writs necessary to enforce its jurisdiction and writs against specified district or county court judges. The court of appeals concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to issue mandamus against the court coordinator because the coordinator was not a judge and Mr. Moffitt had not indicated that mandamus was necessary to protect the court’s jurisdiction over a pending appeal.
Turning to the remaining target of the mandamus–the district judge–the court of appeals pointed out that Mr. Moffitt had not attached a copy of the document that he was complaining of, which is required by Appellate Rule 52.3(k)(1)(A). Additionally, on the merits, the court concluded that the failure to finalize a divorce proceeding within a 5- to 6-month period was not unreasonable. The court therefore denied the mandamas as it pertained to the district court.
The court’s opinion may be found here.