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Browsing in Civil > General Trial Procedures > Judge Jeffrey Y. Hamilton, Jr.

Judge Jeffrey Y. Hamilton, Jr.

  Judge Jeffrey Y. Hamilton, Jr.
Maria Santana
Vince Flores
(559) 457-6309
(559) 457-1624


  1. Morning trial sessions will commence at 8:30 for counsel and 9:00 a.m. for jurors. A lunch break will be taken at 12:00. The afternoon session will commence at 1:30. Evening recess will generally be taken at 4:15 Monday through Wednesday. During trial, the Law & Motion Calendar will be heard on Thursdays, so evening recess will be at 3:15 on that day. These times are subject to modification based upon other calendars, which may need to be completed in the department during the progress of the trial – the court makes every attempt to avoid such circumstances.
  2. Counsel are expected to be punctual and ready to proceed on time.  Note that parking can be challenging and counsel should prepare in advance for such delays.
  3. Counsel has full responsibility to arrange for the appearance of witnesses during the presentation of their case so as to eliminate any possible delay in the proceedings. The Court suggests that counsel confer during trial as to when witnesses are needed. Counsel are expected to inform the court immediately upon discovering a problem with scheduling that might delay the trial so that arrangements can be made for the appearance of other witnesses out of order. If counsel does not comply with this procedure and there are no witnesses available to testify it is equivalent to resting. Counsel should inform each other at the end of the trial day who their witnesses will be for the following day.
  4. Witnesses who are excused by the court following their testimony are not subject to recall unless requested by counsel or for good cause shown pursuant to Evidence Code Section 778.

Documents and Court Processes

  1. Counsel shall provide the clerk and the reporter with a list of prospective witnesses in alphabetical order – by last name –  in MS Excel format so that they may be shown through the court's electronic display for jury selection.
  2. Jury instructions and verdict forms must be submitted before the first witness is called. A page or pages with the numbers of the CACI or CALCRIM instructions requested should be submitted separate from the completed forms (which are not necessary unless there are multiple “fill-ins.”).  Prior to the instruction conference at the end of trial, counsel must meet and confer and submit a packet of all requested instructions to which there is no objection and a separate packet of instructions as to which there are objections. If objections are made to any jury instructions on other than relevancy grounds, the objecting party must also submit an instruction that is believed to be non-objectionable. Each instruction must indicate the party or parties requesting it, all blanks must be filled in and any irrelevant portions redacted.
  3. Counsel shall lodge with the clerk all depositions to be used in the trial. No reading from depositions (even for purposes of impeachment) is permitted without first giving the court and opposing counsel notice of each page and line reference intending to be read.  Notice may be contemporaneous if the situation warrants, as in the case of impeachment.
  4. All court fees, including jury fees and mileage are to be paid prior to the jury being sworn.

Witnesses and Time Limits

  1. A trial “week” is Monday through Thursday and comprised of 19 hours and 50 minutes of jury time.  Jury time will begin at 9 a.m. sharp, Monday through Thursday.  The trial day will conclude at 4:20 p.m. Monday through Wednesday.  During trial, the law and motion calendar will be heard on Thursday only (with the possible exception of true emergency ex partes) at 3:15 p.m. 
  2. To facilitate an accurate time estimate for the potential jury members, the parties must file a Joint Statement re Trial Time Limits (or separate statements if unable to agree), setting forth:
    1. The total number of hours needed, per party, to try the case;
    2. A witness list with the name of each witness to be called on direct, a brief description of the general subject matter of the witness’ testimony, the number of hours of direct examination that will be required for that witness, and
    3. The total number of hours of cross-examination contemplated/required by opposing party(ies).
  3. The parties must file the joint statement or separate statements described above no less than five (5) days prior to the trial date or pretrial conference – whichever is first.


  1. Exhibits should be exchanged between counsel before commencement of trial and should be pre-marked in the anticipated order and form of presentation. All exhibits, regardless of who marks them, will be marked in numerical order. Counsel should meet and confer before trial to agree upon foundational issues, to the extent possible. The court should be provided with 5 sets from each proponent, or one if joint: 1) Official, 2) Court, 3) Witness, 4) Opposing Counsel, 5) Proponent.
  2. The court does not separate, nor receive into evidence, part of an exhibit.  For example, if Exhibit 1 has 50 pages, the court will not entertain a motion to receive page 27 of that exhibit.  Preplanning should and does prevent most of these circumstances.  However, should counsel find that they are in the above situation, they should have 5 extra copies ready of “page 27,” which will be presented to the clerk and offered as the “next in order.”
  3. Counsel may not show an exhibit to a witness for any purpose unless it has been pre-marked for identification. Absent a stipulation, pre-approved by the court, counsel may not display any exhibit to the jury unless it has first been received into evidence.
  4. Counsel shall provide the clerk with a list of exhibits by number and unique name in MS Excel format.

Courtroom Decorum

  1. After first approaching the witness with permission, counsel may subsequently walk through the well and approach witnesses without permission if a need to approach is presented (i.e. assisting the witness with a document, etc.).  Counsel is not allowed to linger at or around the witness stand while questioning.
  2. Speaking objections or argument regarding objections are not permitted. Period. State the legal objection (or response to same) only. Likewise, counsel should never suggest to any witness, with a speech appended to the objection, what the witness should say or has forgotten to say.
  3. The Court should be informed in advance, if possible, of any unusual legal issues or evidentiary matters that are anticipated during the trial in order to avoid any unnecessary delays for the jury. “Unusual evidentiary matters” include, but are not limited to, any question about prior criminal activity, which must be raised outside the presence of the jury before being asked in the jury’s presence.
  4. Counsel should meet and confer as to all possible factual stipulations on uncontroverted matters and inform the Court as soon as practical.
  5. If deposition transcripts are to be read to the jury counsel are expected to meet and confer in advance regarding any objections that will be offered to any of such testimony so as not to take up the time of the court or the jury unnecessarily. If objections to any of the testimony are raised, they must be addressed outside of the jury’s presence and without inconveniencing the jury.
  6. Bench conferences are generally not permitted and hallway conferences are strongly discouraged. No record is made of such conferences unless counsel requests it at the subsequent recess.

Jury Selection

  1. Generally 21 prospective jurors will be seated for voir dire.  Voir dire has specific and limited purposes. These do not include instructing the jury on the law or ingratiating counsel or counsel's side with the jurors.  CCP Section 222.5 will be strictly enforced with or without objection from opposing counsel. Challenges for cause, if any, will be expressed in the hallway behind the courtroom after all counsel have completed questioning.  If you believe you have a cause challenge, the response to the court’s question of “pass for cause,” is simply, “no.” 
  2. Hardships are not entertained in open court before the entire panel.  At the commencement of voir dire, the court will inquire if any among the panel believe they have a hardship.  Any potential juror who so believes will be examined by the court (and counsel) individually and on the record in the court’s anteroom. 
  3. The court selects a jury which includes the twelve members and the number of “alternates” agreed upon at the pretrial conference as one group.  The number of preemptory challenges each party receives will be discussed and agreed to prior to selection beginning.  Alternate jurors are chosen at random at the close of the case, just prior to deliberation. 
  4. Counsel should discuss and inform the court if willing to enter into either or both of the following stipulations:
    1. Unless otherwise noted on the record, whenever the court is in session, all jurors, alternates, and counsel are present.
    2. Waiving the statutory language of the admonition to the jury at separation (CCP 611) so that after the Court gives the required admonition at the outset of the trial, it need not at each subsequent recess or adjournment repeat or remind the jury of this admonition.
  5. The court strongly prefers counsel to each prepare and deliver a brief, mini-opening to the jury prior to selection. In the alternative, a short, non-argumentative statement of the case for reading to the jury during jury selection must be jointly filed.

The Court is always willing to assist with settlement if the parties collectively agree and can do so without subjecting the jury to unnecessary delay.