Bill of Exceptions

Then: A bill of exceptions is not a complete transcript of the trial but a record of the appealing party’s objections, exceptions, and reasons for making them. The bill is prepared for the appealing party, must be signed by the trial judge, and is submitted to the appellate court for review over the questions of law denoted by the objections and exceptions.

Now: The bill of exceptions has since fallen out of favor. With complete trial transcripts readily available, there is little purpose of compiling a separate record just of the points contested during the trial (George Bryan “Debunking the Bill of Exceptions,” p. 385-386). In fact the United States Code abolished the Bill of Exceptions in federal courts in 1967 (Title 18, Part II, Chapter 235 Section 3734 Rule 51). States have discretion in permitting them in the lower courts and the Nebraska Code does allow defendants in criminal cases to order a bill of exceptions for review (Section 29-2020).

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