Protocol and Practice of Persons Appearing in the Court of Judge Jeanne Garcia

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Specific Comments or Advice for Litigants

Specific Requirements or Preferences Please do not e-mail my staff asking them to vacate a hearing. What is needed is a stipulation explaining why the hearing should be vacated. I don't mind any such stipulation being e-mailed due to legitimate time constraints, but do mind my staff chasing down whether a party objects.  
Do not expect me (or my staff) to read the volumes of attachments to DCS Reports to the Court; I expect summaries in the Reports. Do not expect me (or my staff) to read voluminous disclosures that are routinely sent electronically; I am not the intended recipient and/or the documents are not admissible. Many times, my staff is included in e-mail communications amongst counsel regarding various issues, but I am not the intended recipient. My staff is instructed to delete such messages from her computer and not present them to me.

Pre-Trial Practice and Management Issues

Motion Practice Do not combine motions; each motion should contain one specific subject.  
Oral argument is set only if requested and if I believe it will help me resolve the motion.  
Motions should be concise, clearly state the relief requested, and cite to relevant legal authority.  
Motions may be summarily rejected if they lack the Rule 46(A) statement regarding positions of other parties. If an objection is noted in the Rule 46(A) statement, that does not relieve any objecting party from filing a timely written response explaining their objection.  
My practice at oral argument is have read all briefing and legal authority, present my summary of positions, and ask questions. Please do not waste time by parroting your motion; if I need clarification, I will ask for it.

Trial Practice and Protocol

Trial Schedule Dependency trials are held on Mondays at 1:30 or 3:00. For cases that need more than 90 minutes, I will set them on my calendar on the first available date. If that date is too far out (more than 90 days), I will likely set it on our OCH Commissioner's calendar.  
Severance trials are set Tuesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons from 1:30 to 4:30.  
I reserve Wednesday afternoons for desk time and adoptions.  
EXHIBITS: I require a courtesy copy of all exhibits presented to the clerk for marking, at least 2 business days in advance of trial. If you bring multiple exhibits to the trial and the clerk is required to take time away from the trial to mark them, you will likely have that amount of time deducted from your presentation allocation.  
If I admit a voluminous exhibit (over 50 pages), I will ask you to designate specific key pages either through witness testimony or a notice of designation.  
OBJECTIONS: If a party fails to file a timely notice of objection to a disclosed witness or exhibit, then objects at trial, I am likely to rule that the objecting party waived the objection under Rule 44.  
EQUIPMENT: The Court has no video equipment; bring your own equipment if you wish to play a video or audio recording. If you are marking a recording as an exhibit, be prepared to advise the length and time stamp of any key portion(s) if longer than 5 minutes.
Courtroom Etiquette Feel free to bring in beverages as long as they have a lid to prevent spills.  
Be sure to speak into the microphone and ensure your client does too. We need a strong recording in case I need to review FTR, you order a copy, or the appellate court reviews it.  
FTR is continuously running; if you need privacy and are unable to leave the courtroom to consult with your client, ask the bailiff to turn it off.  
WITNESS STAND: The only witness I allow to sit directly next to me in the witness stand is an expert (due to security issues). If you need to adjust your seat to have line of sight with any witness, please feel free to move to another area. If you need a portable microphone, my bailiff will provide one.
Other Courtroom Policies and Recommendations PROFESSIONALISM: Respect, professionalism, and courtesy are expected, both verbally and non-verbally, in the courtroom and with my staff. If my staff is not maintaining these requirements, please let me know. Do not speak out of turn (unless absolutely necessary). Do not cause distractions; if you think a recess is needed to discuss something with your client or others, just ask.  
MISTAKES: Sometimes mistakes are made on the calendar. For example, a party is included for a hearing and should not be, or vice versa. Please advise my staff of the error in advance so I can review and correct the mistake.  
INCARCERATED PARENT: If your client is incarcerated, you may request to speak with your client before a hearing only if it will not cause delay.  
TIMELINESS: I understand that counsel have other hearings in other courtrooms and may be delayed. I will usually wait no more that 15 minutes before I decide whether to get started without you or re-set the hearing. Letting my bailiff know where you are and your estimated time of arrival is vital to that decision. Please do not double-book or overbook yourself.  
TELEPHONIC APPEARANCES: Should you unexpectedly need to request to appear telephonically, contact my staff and advise the reason for your request giving us as much notice as possible. I am liberal in granting these requests, but many times my staff needs to combine a number of telephone lines into a single line BEFORE transferring it into the courtroom.