Protocol and Practice of Persons Appearing in the Court of Judge Joan Sinclair

Pre-Trial Practice and Management Issues

Motion Practice

• The Juvenile Court does not have e-filing to date, but efforts are moving in that direction. For now, counsel must send copies of any pleadings to the division. Pleadings filed within the Clerk’s Office may take several days to process and route internally. Unless the Court is provided with the positions of the parties in the motion itself, the Court will not rule on the motion until the allotted time for a response has passed.  
• If an oral argument is desired, one must be requested. If oral argument is granted, please note that I will have read all of the filed documentation prior to the start of the proceeding. Attorneys are encouraged to refer to information encompassed in their motion in a concise manner, before focusing on new information, additional authorities, or attributes unique to the case to which the Court’s attention should be directed.

Discovery or Disclosure Disputes and/or Sanctions

• Disclosure issues are not common in Juvenile Court, and are generally dealt with at the pretrial conference. If there is a significant disclosure issue with which the parties require assistance, the Court would appreciate being notified of the matter as soon as possible. In such instances, the parties should contact my Judicial Assistant and schedule a status conference.

Other Pre-trial Practice Guidelines or Comments

• Attorneys are expected to follow the rules when filing motions. Please keep in mind the Court will allow the appropriate time limitations to pass for filing objections. It benefits counsel to highlight in their motions that they have spoken with each other, and identify their respective positions at the beginning of each motion. If a matter is uncontested, and I agree with the outcome, the matter will be processed faster than if the same information was omitted.

Trial Practice and Protocol

Trial Schedule

• Trials are normally scheduled between 8:30am-12:00pm, and 1:30pm-5:00pm, with a brief recess in the morning and afternoon. I rely on attorney time estimates and input, thus am generally flexible with scheduling matters and special accommodations. These issues, among others will be discussed at the pretrial conference.

Joint Pre-Trial Memo and/or Conference; Exhibits and Objections

• This Court, and especially court staff, appreciates it when exhibits are marked in advance of a proceeding. In particular, voluminous materials must be processed early.  
• Objections announced with a legal basis will be recognized. The parties should avoid arguing about the objection and wait for the Court to make its ruling. If an attorney wishes to make a record, I will permit him or her to do so.

Trial Practice and Procedure

• Technology is limited in Juvenile Court. The courtrooms use FTR recording systems. Should parties wish to have a court reporter, my division must be notified in advance.  
• This Court will work with counsel relative to witnesses who cannot appear in person. Permission must be acquired prior to the start of a proceeding if a witness cannot appear in court, such as during the pretrial conference, and such requests are generally granted. Parties are required to appear in person. Parties will only be excused and allowed to appear telephonically under extraordinary circumstances.

Courtroom Etiquette

• Matters in Juvenile Court are generally handled in an informal manner. For example, attorneys are not required to stand when speaking.  
• Personal electronics must be turned off during a proceeding.  
• Counsel must dress appropriately for court.  
• Outside beverages are allowed, but should be placed under the counsel table, so as to avoid accidental spills.  
• My time on the Juvenile Court assignment has been positive and I appreciate attorney contributions in this regard. If there are additional concerns not address in this profile, counsel should contact my Judicial Assistant for further direction.