Protocol and Practice of Persons Appearing in the Court of Judge Christopher Whitten

Specific Comments or Advice for Litigants

Specific Requirements or Preferences

Through at least May 29, 2020, the following procedures are applicable to cases with hearings scheduled in Courtroom 303 (Judge Whitten):  
· We thank you for your patience and appreciate your willingness to adapt during this time. These procedures will be revisited on an ongoing basis; please call 602-372-1164 or email division staff with any questions or suggestions.  
· All hearings will be held telephonically or by videoconference, only.  
· Please do not arrive for hearings in person or knowingly allow others to do so. If a telephonic-only hearing will not suffice in an exigent circumstance, counsel for a Party may file a written Motion with the clerk of the court and email it directly to Division Staff at least 48 hours in advance of the hearing to allow the Court to rule on the Motion. Please submit necessary documents in advance via email to both the JA and Bailiff, or electronically via JAX.  
· For adoptions, Attorneys must send the necessary documents to the division prior to the hearing date. Preferably, send all documents to the Court one week ahead via FedEx. Runners may leave paperwork in the “inbox” if no division staff is available. Please contact the division. If these methods are infeasible by the hearing date, promptly call or email the division with a copy of the order.  
· Division staff will email GoToMeeting conference line information to attorneys in advance. Attorneys should forward the meeting information to clients, placement, DCS case managers, and any other necessary parties. If you have not received a meeting invitation, please email or call the division directly- prior to the hearing time. Participants should use video conferencing whenever possible. When in the conference, mute your personal device and refrain from interjecting, so that all can hear and effectively participate.  
· The Rule 41(F) admonition regarding confidentiality applies to all open hearings conducted via teleconference.  
· Do NOT arrive at the Old Court House ill, and please do NOT knowingly allow anyone else to do so. Court Security has been given direction to exclude symptomatic individuals at security. Signs will be posted on the exterior courtroom doors to direct anyone who arrives in person to call Division Staff to advise that they are present.  
My Judicial Assistant is reachable via (602) 372-1164.  
Protocol and Practice of Persons Appearing in the Court of Judge Christopher Whitten  
I expect attorneys and litigants to treat everyone in the courtroom, including my staff, with dignity and respect. Do not roll your eyes or display other rude behavior. Do not raise your hand to speak when the other side is speaking, simply because they just said something with which you disagree. Sarcasm is not welcomed. Personal attacks on counsel, or the other party, are considered unprofessional, and diminish you credibility - not the other partys.  
Do not address opposing counsel during arguments.  
Be on time. If you or your client is late, please call or have your office call and let us know what to expect. If my schedule is full, the delay will have to come from your allotted time.  
When you begin, please identify yourself and your client.  
If you agree on an extension to file a response or reply, please let us know. If not, I might rule on the issue without knowing of the extension.  
If you do everything right ninety-nine times, but mislead or omit once - guess which will be remembered.  
I understand that an attorney and client may need to interact during trial, or at a hearing. If they do so while something is being said in the courtroom, however, it is distracting. If I am the one who is talking, I will stop. If the communication between attorney and client can wait, please wait.  
If you file a motion or stipulation that requires an order, please provide a proposed order, when applicable, in WORD format.  
If you think oral argument is necessary, you should indicate that in the caption. I will not look for that request in the body. Also, consider whether you need an oral argument, or an evidentiary hearing, and make sure you distinguish what you really want within the caption request.  
During oral argument, I tend to be very proactive. I want to let you know what questions I have, so you do not waste your time talking about other things. If I interrupt you, it is in an effort to be helpful, and guide you in the right direction. But, I will give you time to finish your argument.  

* You may also want to view my Commercial Court Protocol.