Protocol and Practice of Persons Appearing in the Court of Commissioner Christine Mulleneaux

Pre-Trial Practice and Management Issues

Motion Practice

• No party should include more than one motion in a single filing or combine a response and a motion or a reply and a motion in one filing (with the exception of a true cross-motion for summary judgment). This applies to request for attorneys' fees or sanctions. Such requests should be made by separate motion.  
• No party should file supplemental briefing without leave of Court.  
• Page limits should not be exceeded without leave of court.  
• Motions in Limine should not be filed in bench trials without leave of Court. Absent leave of Court for good cause shown each party may file no more than five Motions in Limine. Motions in Limine should address only matters that are extremely prejudicial and could result in a mistrial. Motions in Limine should not be filed on routine evidentiary matters. Motions in Limine asking the Court to enforce a particular rule of evidence should not be filed. Motions in Limine are to be no more than four pages in length and responses are no more than four pages in length. There are no replies.  
• Oral argument should not be a regurgitation of matters in the briefs. The Court will likely have questions at oral argument.  

Discovery or Disclosure Disputes and/or Sanctions

• The Court generally follows Civil Rule 26(d). The Court's dispute resolution procedures outlined below shall apply to the following circumstances: (1) the parties have a discovery dispute that needs to be addressed; (2) one party seeks to compel another party to take some action; or (3) a party intends to seek sanctions against another party. Under any of these circumstances, counsel must personally speak to each other and engage in good faith attempts to resolve the dispute. If they cannot do so, the parties must file a "joint statement of discovery or disclosure dispute" and provide a copy to the division's judicial assistant.  
• The joint statement must not exceed three pages and must contain a certificate of good faith consultation. No exhibits shall be included with the summaries. If, after reviewing a summary, the Court determines that it needs additional documents, division staff will contact the attorneys.  
• The Court's Judicial Assistant will contact the parties to schedule a telephonic conference. The email address for the Court's Judicial Assistant, Veronica Ledesma, is and the phone number is 602-506-0039.  

Other Pre-trial Practice Guidelines or Comments

• Parties should confer about matters to which the other party would object. If the Court is not notified of party positions, hearings must be set to question the other side on record, causing delays in decision-making.  
• If a defendant accepts a plea, and Defense wishes to then move to review release conditions… that should be part of plea discussions. If the State is not put on notice prior to the plea hearing, Defense runs the risk of the request to raise Modification being denied or postponed to a separate hearing.  
• In the event a plea is entered, regardless of whether a settlement conference occurs, the State has the right to direct that sentencing get set with the assigned Case Management Judge. So if the Sentencing location matters to Defense, it should be part of plea negotiations.  
• Depending upon whether or not a defendant accepts a plea, the case may be routed through a Grand Jury, the Regional Court Center, or Early Disposition Court for preliminary actions.  
• Parties are required to participate in a settlement conference. The goal of Donald hearings is to advise the defendant of the plea offer, what could happen at trial, when the offer expires, and if a wavier is possible.  
• Whenever a plea agreement is made, or sentencing is conducted, the judicial officer will ask counsel about compliance with victim’s rights. Litigants should answer this inquiry honestly.  
• In light of technical difficulties associated with telephonic proceedings, parties should first attempt to file a stipulation, before requesting a telephonic hearing to resolve matters on the record.

Trial Practice and Protocol

Trial Schedule

• The general trial schedule is 9:30 AM to noon and 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM.

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

• See discussion on motion practice for Motions in Limine.  
• Please try to remove all duplicate exhibits.  
• Stipulated exhibits may be admitted at the pre-trial management conference. If there are major issues about an exhibit, please be prepared to address them at the pre-trial management conference. Please have a copy of the exhibit in question for the Court.  
• With large documents, please consider only having the operative language admitted.  
• Counsel should discuss the notebooks and try to agree on what goes in the notebook. If they disagree, this can be discussed at the pre-trial management conference.  
• In advance of the pre-trial management conference, all jury instructions, proposed voir dire, joint statement of the case (to be read to the jury) and deposition designations should be emailed in Word to the Court's judicial assistant,  
• Be prepared to discuss time limits at the pre-trial conference.  

Jury Selection

• This Court follows the struck method.  
• Attorneys may submit questions in writing, which they would like the Court to ask during voir dire, in advance of the selection process. After the Court’s voir dire, attorneys may ask follow up questions that were not initially addressed.  
• Jurors may be challenged for cause.  
• Alternate jurors will be selected as part of the jury panel.  
• A certified set of jury instructions will be relied upon.  
• This Court will have forms of verdict prepared initially at the time of jury selection. Attorneys are invited to review such early so that a record can be made on any issue with such. As well, Attorneys should review the final forms of verdict prior to the Court proceeding to final instructions. While it is this Court’s intention to ask and confirm that such has occurred, it is the Attorneys obligation to ensure that such and a record is made.

Trial Practice and Procedure

• Counsel is generally free to move around the courtroom during trial but should request permission to approach the witness.  
• Please stand when making objections.  
• Objections should be short and succinct. There are no speaking objections allowed. If the Court wants a response or further discussion, the Court will ask for it.  
• We have electronic equipment in the courtroom, which counsel are free to use. Please make an appointment before trial with court staff to talk about how to use the equipment.  
• Bring issues to the Court's attention as soon as possible to avoid the need to keep the jury waiting.  
• Be prepared to track your allocated time during trial.  

Courtroom Etiquette

• The Court expects lawyers to treat each other, opposing parties, court staff and everyone with respect.  
• The Court expects counsel to assist the Clerk in making sure all exhibits are returned and organized at the end of the day.  
• You are free to argue motions while sitting or standing and you are welcome to stay at counsel table or use the lectern.