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Browsing in Civil > General Trial Procedures >

Judge Mark W. Snauffer

  Judge Mark W. Snauffer

L. Whipple
Trace Ramey
(559) 457-6318
(559) 457-1624
  1. Trial hours are Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. Trial hours are extended to 4:30 p.m. on Mondays.
  2. Counsel are expected to be punctual and ready to proceed on time. In particular, the jury’s time must be respected, and not wasted.
  3. Exhibits should be exchanged between counsel 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. Please check with the clerk in regard to numbering exhibits.
  4. 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.
  5. Counsel should provide the clerk with a list of prospective witnesses and put the names of potential witnesses on the board or overhead projector/ELMO for jury selection.
  6. The Court must 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.
  7. Counsel should meet and confer as to all possible factual stipulations on uncontroverted matters.
  8. Twenty one (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. Code of Civil Procedure section 222.5 will be strictly enforced with or without objection from opposing counsel. Challenges for cause will be expressed in the hallway behind the court after counsel have completed their voir dire. Generally, the Court imposes reasonable time limits on attorney voir dire.
  9. Counsel may walk through the well and approach witnesses to examine them about exhibits without permission. Please return to a position behind counsel table as soon as the examination about the exhibit is concluded. Please do not position yourself in such a way as to obstruct opposing counsel.
  10. Speaking objections are not permitted, nor is argument regarding objections 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.
  11. 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 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 requesting it, all blanks must be filled in and any irrelevant portions redacted.
  12. Counsel should discuss and inform the court if willing to stipulate as follows:
    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 (Code Civ. Proc., § 611) so that after the Court gives the required admonition at the outset of the trial, it need not repeat it at each recess or adjournment.
  13. Counsel should lodge with the clerk all depositions to be used in the trial. No reading from depositions (other than for impeachment) is permitted without reasonable notice of each page and line reference to the court and other counsel.
  14. 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. If objections to any of the testimony are raised, they must be addressed outside of the jury’s presence and without inconveniencing the jury.
  15. Motions in limine must be in writing.
  16. A short, non-argumentative statement of the case for reading to the jury during jury selection must be jointly filed.
  17. Jury fees are to be posted promptly as directed by the clerk.
  18. With the exception of criminal matters, the Court no longer provides a court reporter for trials or law and motion hearings. Should counsel desire the services of a court reporter, it is their responsibility to hire one.  Please see the Fresno Superior Court website for information regarding securing court reporters for trial. http://www.fresno.courts.ca.gov/court_reporter_info/
  19. Witnesses must be available when needed. No delays or continuances will be permitted due to witness unavailability, unless under exceptional circumstances which could not have been anticipated. Counsel are to inform the court immediately of any witness scheduling problem.
  20. Witnesses who are excused by the court following their testimony are not subject to recall unless requested by counsel, or for good cause shown. (Evid. Code, § 778.)
  21. Bench conferences and sidebar/hallway conferences are discouraged unless requested by the court. No record is made of such conferences unless counsel requests it at the following recess.