- Morning trial sessions will generally commence at 8:40 a.m. A lunch break will be taken at 12:00. The afternoon session will commence at 1:30. Evening recess will generally be taken at 3:30, depending on the Courtís law and motion calendar. These times are subject to modification based upon other calendars, which may need to be completed by the department and the progress of the trial. Counsel should be punctual and ready to proceed on time.
- Exhibits should be exchanged between parties before commencement of trial and should be pre-marked in the anticipated order 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.
- Counsel may not show an exhibit to a witness for any purpose unless it has been pre-marked for identification. Absent a stipulation, counsel may not display any exhibit to the jury unless it has first been received into evidence.
- Counsel should provide the clerk and the reporter with a list of prospective witnesses and put the names of potential witnesses on the board for jury selection.
- 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 juryís presence.
- Counsel should meet and confer as to all possible factual stipulations on uncontroverted matters.
- 18 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 counselís side with the jurors. CCP Section 222.5 will be strictly enforced with or without objection from opposing counsel. Challenges for cause will be expressed in the hallway after questioning is completed by all counsel.
- Counsel may walk through the well and approach witnesses without permission.
- Speaking objections or argument regarding objections are not permitted unless invited by the court. State the legal objection 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.
- Jury instructions and verdict forms must be submitted before the first witness is called. 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 to which there are objections. If objections are made to any jury instruction other than on 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.
- Counsel should discuss and inform the court if willing to enter into either or both of the following stipulations:
- Unless otherwise noted on the record, whenever the court is in session, all jurors, alternates, and counsel are present.
- Waiving the statutory language of the admonition to the jury at separation (CCP 611) after the Court gives the required admonition at the outset of the trial, so it need not be repeated in full at each subsequent recess or adjournment.
- Counsel should lodge with the clerk all depositions to be used in the trial. No reading from depositions (other than for purposes of impeachment) is permitted without reasonable notice of each page and line reference to the court and other counsel.
- A short, neutral statement of the case for reading to the jury during jury selection must be jointly filed.
- Court reporter fees are to be paid on the first day of trial for the anticipated length of the trial. Jury fees and mileage are to be paid not later than the last day of trial before reading of verdict.
- Counsel has full responsibility to arrange for the appearance of witnesses during the presentation of their case 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 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 will be equivalent to resting. Counsel should inform each other at the end of the trial day who their witnesses will be for the following day.
- 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.
- 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. If objections to testimony are raised, they must be addressed outside of the juryís presence and without inconveniencing the jury.
- 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 following recess.
- The Court is always willing to assist with settlement.