Usually there's no confusing about whether a matter is civil or criminal. But that wasn't the case in a recent Fifth Circuit opinion, released Monday. There, the Fifth Circuit ruled that Dan Morales' appeal to have two key documents disclosed is part of a civil appeal, not a criminal one notwithstanding the circumstances of the facts. That difference made his motion timely under the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure.
For litigators who think they've heard that name before, Morales was Texas' Attorney General up until it was discovered that he was involved in a scheme to skim a profit from the "Big Tobacco" settlement that took place in the 90's. The number? $17.3 billion. And those are 90s dollars.