Criminal Practice Guidelines

I. General

  1. Professional behavior best serves your clients and this Court.

II. Case Scheduling

  1. Counsel requesting continuances of a trial setting should use the standard form available at the bailiff’s window. Forms are to be signed by both the State and defense counsel. It is normal practice that the defendant also personally sign the continuance form.
  2. When a filing is submitted to the Clerk’s office, the filing does not instantaneously reach Chambers and could take up to three days to be received. Please consider this when timely attention is needed to your filing. If more timely attention is genuinely necessary, please e-mail a courtesy copy of your motion or other filing to the bailiff.
  3. The Court typically has two dispo/sentencing days each month, which are conducted on Friday mornings in Courtroom 7B. Such dispo/sentencing days begin promptly at 9:00 a.m. and continue throughout the morning until all cases have been heard.

III. Status and Pretrial Conferences

  1. Typically, all court settings in Courtroom 7B are considered “Trial” settings; however, in the early stages, such “Trial” settings become pretrial conferences to move the case toward timely resolution. The Court and/or counsel may request special status conferences if a need arises.
  2. If the Court is in trial, pleas and other business may be conducted during the noon hour.

IV. Discovery

  1. The Court expects counsel to timely respond to requests for discovery and to supplement such discovery when needed.

V. Motions and Memoranda

  1. When motions are submitted to the Court for consideration, a proposed Entry in Word should be separately uploaded.
  2. Motions to Suppress will be set for hearing. Counsel are expected to be fully prepared for such hearing and to have the necessary witnesses available. Typically, the Court takes the issue under advisement and issues a written decision.

VI. Continuances

  1. Counsel requesting continuances of a trial setting should use the standard form available at the bailiff’s window. Forms are to be signed by both the State and defense counsel. It is normal practice that the defendant also personally sign the continuance form.

VII. Trial Procedures

  1. Cases set for “Definite Trials” will be confirmed by the bailiff the week before trial. Counsel are expected to keep the bailiff fully informed regarding the status of a “Definite Trial” so that another case in line may go forward to trial if necessary.
  2. Counsel are expected to be fully prepared for trial and to have the necessary witnesses available.
  3. The Court anticipates that everyone will be ready to proceed in cases set for “Definite Trials”. If, for any reason, counsel wish to seek a continuance of a “Definite Trial”, such continuance should be sought promptly.
  4. Counsel are expected to notify the Court as soon as possible if cases set for “Definite Trials” will plea or are otherwise resolved.
  5. Counsel should be present at 8:30 a.m. on the first day of Trial in order that the bailiff may order a jury right at 8:30 a.m.
  6. Trials typically commence at 9:00 a.m. and recess for the day around 4:30 p.m. These hours can be altered somewhat to accommodate witness schedules. Once a jury is sworn, we make it a priority to move trials to completion. Non-trial business is sometimes conducted during the noon hour.
  7. Prior to opening statements, the Court gives an oral charge to orient jurors to their role. The final jury instructions are submitted to each juror in writing in all cases during deliberations. Counsel should provide the Court with proposed jury instructions as early as possible but at least one day prior to the day the case is anticipated to go to the jury.
  8. Counsel shall follow the “Rules on Voir Dire” set forth in Local Rule 27.13. Because the Court does preliminary questioning and juror questionnaires are available, lengthy voir dire is usually unnecessary. It is the Court’s preference that voir dire be directed to all prospective jurors at the same time.
  9. Challenges are exercised outside the presence of the jury and after voir dire is completed.
  10. Stipulations should be presented as early as possible during trial to minimize confusion and avoid unnecessary questioning thereafter.
  11. Juror note-taking is permitted. Questions from jurors during trial are not permitted.
  12. Display of exhibits to the jury in opening statements or before formal admission is permitted absent objection by opposing counsel. However, share all such material with all other counsel before displaying it.
  13. Counsel are expected to remain available on ten minutes’ notice during jury deliberations in case questions arise from the jury. Counsel should provide contact information to the bailiff.
  14. The Court sometimes imposes time limits on opening statements, voir dire, closing arguments and the overall presentation of evidence where counsel are unable to closely manage the anticipated duration of their case. Jurors in this Court are ordinarily summoned for a one-week/one-trial period, and staying within a tight time frame is essential in all but the most complex trials.