Protocol and Practice of Persons Appearing in the Court of Judge Joseph Kreamer

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Specific Comments or Advice for Litigants

Specific Requirements or Preferences This profile is geared toward my current assignment on the criminal calendar.  
I don’t have a lot of courtroom “rules.” I’m not particularly concerned with where someone is located when they address the Court, use of the podium, etc. I am inclined to focus more on substance than form.  
I do expect attorneys and litigants to treat everyone in the courtroom with respect. I pledge to do the same.  
Please be on time. I recognize that on the criminal calendar, attorneys are frequently required to be in more than one courtroom at a time. If that happens, please at least check in and let my staff know that you are aware of your hearing and give us an idea of when you will arrive.  
I will prepare for every hearing. However, if you don’t give me the tools to prepare (i.e., a joint pretrial statement or a case management conference memo), we will waste time in the courtroom educating me.

Pre-Trial Practice and Management Issues

Other Pre-trial Practice Guidelines or Comments If you have a motion or request that you would like to be addressed immediately, please send it directly to my judicial assistant Katy Snyder. E-filed documents sometimes do not get immediately delivered to me.  
If you want to schedule an oral argument, contact Katy for a date. Don’t assume that because you asked for oral argument, you will automatically get one.  
Please don’t ask me to resolve a discovery or some other pre-trial dispute before you have made a reasonable attempt to resolve it with opposing counsel. Rule 15.7(b) of the Rules of Criminal Procedure requires that a motion seeking sanctions for failure to make disclosure must be accompanied by a separate statement from counsel certifying that good faith efforts have been made to resolve a discovery dispute. That “personal consultation and good-faith efforts” requirement should extend to every disagreement that you want me to resolve. In other words, communicate with each other and determine that you really do have a dispute and the parameters of that dispute before you raise it with me.  
Oral arguments in my courtroom are not the traditional five or ten minutes per side oral arguments. Instead, I try to make oral arguments meaningful by telling counsel my initial impression after reading the papers. I typically then give whichever party I disagree with the opportunity to tell me why I’m wrong.  
I enjoy conducting settlement conferences. It is sometimes difficult to get on my calendar for a settlement conference, so try to call as far in advance as possible to schedule one. If you have scheduled a settlement conference with me (outside the Master Calendar system) please provide me with a memorandum at least 24 hours before the settlement conference. I typically have matters scheduled in quick succession, and if I have to use time to talk to attorneys about matters that should have been communicated in a settlement conference memorandum, we are wasting time.

Trial Practice and Protocol

Trial Practice and Procedure My trial days are Monday thru Thursday. Trial hours are typically 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:30 to 4:45 p.m.  
I always try to value the jury’s time during trial. Some delays are inevitable, but expect me to push counsel to be ready to go on time at the beginning of the day, after lunch, and coming out of breaks.  
Attorney voir dire is certainly permitted and encouraged. However, proposed attorney voir dire questions need to be submitted in writing before the first day of trial, so I can review them and the opposing side can object, if necessary. Reasonable attorney follow-up is permitted.  
I utilize the “struck” method of jury selection.  
I am comfortable using jury questionnaires for capital cases, and for a small number of other cases involving issues such as pretrial publicity.  
Please submit proposed jury instructions, including proposed final jury instructions, on or before the first day of trial.  
Objections at trial should be concise, and not argumentative. “Objection, hearsay” is an appropriate objection. “Objection, how can he testify about what someone else told him, and he wasn’t even there” is not an appropriate objection. If I need more information about an objection other than the one-word basis, I will ask.  
I encourage use of technology in the courtroom. However, please check to make sure your presentation is working before you try it in front of the jury. I am happy to allow you access to the courtroom before trial when court is not in session to practice any presentation.
Other Courtroom Policies and Recommendations If you are well-prepared, on time, and treat everyone in the courtroom with respect, things will probably work out.