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Criminal Division Presiding Judge Protocols
Defendant First Appearance in Court
Date of Plea
Date of Trial
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Date of Trial
Date of Trial
Make a continuance request:
If something occurs that counsel feels justifies a continuance of the trial date, a request to continue the trial date should be filed with the Criminal Division Presiding Judge (CDPJ) as soon as the grounds for the continuance request become known, with notice to the other side.
If defendant will plead guilty, as soon as defense counsel becomes aware of this counsel should inform the Court and the prosecutor of the defendant's intent to plea and have all plea paperwork completed, reviewed with the defendant, and signed before the time the case is called on the trial date.
If defendant is in-custody, have clothes so defendant is dressed for trial.
If defendant will plead guilty, prepare amended information and declaration in support thereof (if needed) and judgment and sentencing paperwork and deliver to the court by the time the case is called on the trial date.
If trial attorney to whom the case has been assigned is already in trial, the assigned prosecutor should review the case and arrange for coverage by another prosecutor or the assigned "barrel" deputy in the CDPJ courtroom.
Attorneys should confirm trial readiness with the Criminal Court Case Coordinator (CCCC) by 2:00 p.m. the day prior to the scheduled trial date.
Attorneys should be ready to begin trial, with exhibits ready and all witnesses previously interviewed and subpoenaed.
Motions to be heard on the day of trial (
see list under motions
), including in limine motions related to trial evidence, should be in writing. Other motions should have been scheduled and heard earlier. Do not expect them to be heard on the day of trial without good cause for the delay.
Proposed jury instructions, pursuant to PCLR 51, and any trial brief should be ready on the morning of the trial.
What Should Happen the Day of the Trial
Check in with the CCCC prior to docket call which will begin promptly at 8:45 a.m. in CDPJ courtroom 260.
If the defendant is not present, the defense attorney should notify the court at the docket call.
Court calls the calendar to determine the status of the cases set for trial.
Matters are heard in the order of readiness by direction of the Court. The paperwork requesting the continuance should be completed and ready to present to the CDPJ. Prior to submitting the paperwork to the CDPJ, attorneys should receive a new trial date from Criminal Administration (CrA).
Case scheduled to begin trial is assigned to an open department to start trial.
Department to which case is assigned either starts trial promptly, or, if there is a request for a continuance, or problem with starting, declines to exercise authority to hear the continuance and returns the case to the CDPJ to hear the continuance request.
During the Trial
Attorney presenting case should have sufficient witnesses subpoenaed to fill trial day.
Judge should inform lawyers, court staff, and jurors of anticipated start and end time for each day of trial.
All attorneys, defendant(s) and first witnesses should be present and ready to start the trial at the time designated by the judge.
Judge and necessary court staff should be ready to start the trial at the time designated by the judge.
Failure to Appear, Quash or Surrender
If the defendant failed to appear at a plea date or other proceeding and a warrant is issued, a quash hearing will need to be set. Defendants need to contact their attorney or the Department of Assigned Counsel (DAC) at (253) 798-6062 to set a quash hearing. It is expected the next proceeding after the proceeding to quash the warrant or surrender, will be a pretrial conference.
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