Criminal Practice Guidelines

I. Status Conferences 

  1. The Court may require a brief status conference the Friday before a case is scheduled for trial. Only counsel must attend, and they must be prepared to discuss the number of days the trial will take, the number of witnesses, proposed jury instruction and any evidentiary issues anticipated.

II. Courtroom Technology

  1. Parties wishing to utilize courtroom technology must call the bailiff to reserve an evidence cart no later than one week prior to trial. If a party is unfamiliar with how to use the evidence cart, he/she may schedule a time with the bailiff to go over the use of the evidence cart.

III. Jury Instructions

  1. Jury instructions must be submitted to the Bailiff and Secretary by email as a Microsoft Word document. Parties are to discuss and come to an agreement of final instructions. If parties cannot agree on jury instructions, the parties are to submit one final formatted instruction, with any sections highlighted where parties disagree. A copy of any additional information for parties supporting arguments should be provided to the Court and opposing counsel.

IV. Motion Practice

  1. Leave of Court is required to extend any time-period for filing motions. No stipulation or agreed entry will change any deadline without Court approval, except those filed pursuant to Loc. R. 13.01. Page limits (Loc.R. 12) will be enforced except with express leave of the Court. Pinpoint citations to legal authority or evidentiary materials help to ensure that such materials can be located when reviewing motions, and should be used. All discovery related motions must comply with Civ.R. 37 and state with specificity the efforts made prior to involving the Court. Parties are encouraged to contact the Staff Attorney and request a status conference prior to resorting to discovery related motions practice. All motions, including motions for default judgment, must include a certificate of service and counsel’s phone number and email address in the signature block.

V. Continuances or Amended Case Schedules

  1. If a continuance or amendment of the case scheduling order is requested, the party requesting the continuance or amendment must submit a proposed amended case scheduling order with their motion. Continuances of trial dates will be granted for good cause only.

VI. Trials

  1. Trials will commence at 9:00 a.m. and recess for the day around 5:00 p.m. These hours may be altered to accommodate witness schedules. Trial witnesses may be taken out of order for the convenience of the witness, subject to objection by opposing counsel.
  2. Trial exhibits must be pre-marked and exchanged with opposing counsel prior to the Pre-Trial Conference. Counsel shall make efforts to mark joint exhibits when possible. Each party must submit a separate exhibit and witness list to the Court prior to voir dire.
  3. Counsel must be available during jury deliberations on ten (10) minutes notice and are required to leave cell phone numbers with the Bailiff or Staff Attorney.
  4. Counsel will refer to participants, including their own client(s), as “Mr.” or “Ms.” or by other appropriate titles such as “Dr.” rather than by first names in open court.

VII. Voir Dire

  1. The Court reserves the right to limit voir dire. One hour per side is usually sufficient. The Court allows counsel to question the entire venire one time, and all challenges will be done outside the presence of the jury. The Court will seat 8 jurors and 2 alternates in civil cases, and at least two alternates in criminal cases. The Court allows the taking of notes by jurors, but jurors are not permitted to ask questions.