Protocol and Practice of Persons Appearing in the Court of Judge Susanna C. Pineda

Specific Comments or Advice for Litigants

Specific Requirements or Preferences

• Litigants must check in with the Bailiff when reporting to Court for a proceeding, enabling the Bailiff to further coordinate the calendar, and holding cell traffic, on a first come-first serve basis. Check-in involves relaying your name, your case number, and a cell phone number, or email address to the Bailiff.  
• The Bailiff/or JA should also be updated by counsel when proceeding coverage is being sent. Please inform the Bailiff of who is covering for you, why they are covering for you, how long they will be covering for you, and their contact information.  
• If counsel is stepping outside of the courtroom to take a call, or for any other reason, the Bailiff must know where you are going, and how long you will be gone. If your matter is called in the first come-first serve format, and you are absent from the courtroom, your lack of communication delays everyone.

Pre-Trial Practice and Management Issues

Motion Practice

• When you file a pleading electronically, please call my Judicial Assistant to confirm the filing. This effort provides my Division with notice of the filing, which might otherwise take days to reach the Office, given internal processing delays. Alternatively, if you e-file a document within twenty-four (24) hours of a proceeding, please deliver a courtesy copy to the courtroom. Chances are the Court is not aware of your filing, therefore has not reviewed the material.  
• If e-filing anything under seal, or information requiring in-camera inspection, a copy should be delivered to my Division or it may not be accessible.  
• When filing a notice of filing letters at the time of sentencing. It is common for my Division to receive the notice, but not the attached letters. Alternatively, if you e-file a notice of filing letters close to sentencing, please deliver a courtesy copy to the courtroom.

Other Pre-trial Practice Guidelines or Comments

• Parties should provide the Court with a statement of the facts, outlining party positions, in advance of a settlement conference.  
• Settlement conferences are as informal as due process allows; for example, I generally sit at the counsel table, and not on the Bench, during these discussions.

Trial Practice and Protocol

Trial Schedule

• It is my goal to complete jury selection within one afternoon, to prevent calling the jury pool back to the courthouse the next day. As a result, I may work past 4:30pm, to accomplish this goal. However, during trial days, I will stop the proceeding at 4:30pm. Juror time is valuable, thus the panel should be permitted to resume their busy lives by 5pm.

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

• • Joint Pretrial Statement must be provided no later than the Pretrial Management Conference, and include a summary of facts to be read to the jury.  
• Exhibits must be delivered to the courtroom clerk at the start of jury selection for marking purposes.  
• Please stand when making objections before the Court; speaking objections will not be recognized.  
• As the neutral party, I prefer to read stipulations agreed to by the parties to the jury. Counsel should provide the Court with written stipulations as a result.  
• As the neutral party, I prefer to read stipulations agreed to by the parties to the jury. Counsel should provide the Court with written stipulations as a result.

Jury Selection

• A jury is selected via the struck process, not via the strike and replace method. Counsel is permitted to conduct voir dire once the Court is done.  
• Please notify the Court in advance if you intend to utilize jury questionnaires. Because questionnaires tend to take longer than voir dire, this tool is permitted on a limited basis. A copy should be provided for the Court, and for the potential jurors.  
• Counsel should provide the Court with proposed jury instructions prior to trial. The Court will provide counsel with a draft version of instruction before the jury is selected.  
• Defense counsel must give the court reporter a copy of the jury biographies after jury selection, while the prosecuting counsel must give the same to the court clerk.

Trial Practice and Procedure

• When a juror raises a question during trial, a side bar discussion will be held with counsel to discuss the question, and vet objections. Counsel will be permitted to ask narrowly tailored follow up questions thereafter; this is not an opportunity for counsel to reopen their case.

Courtroom Etiquette

• Counsel is expected to be courteous to all parties, court staff, and the Court at all times. This is especially true when other matters are taking place in the courtroom, which warrant the Court’s full attention.  
• Cell phones must be turned off, or set to silence in the courtroom. A ringing, or vibrating phone is a distraction to everyone.  
• Parties must speak slowly and clearly to the Court, enabling the court reporter to make a proper record. This is especially true if you are appearing for someone else. Please state their name, and your name, so both names pay be captured on record.  
• Counsel may move about the courtroom when presenting, including accessing the courtroom’s new podium, so long as care is given to court reporter in creating the record.  
• Attorney/client interactions are best kept to the attorney/client room.  
• A record will be made of all Bench conferences during trial. Counsel should inform the Court if they want to make a record, or not, during other conferences with the Bench.