Protocol and Practice of Persons Appearing in the Court of Judge Kevin Wein
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Specific Comments or Advice for LitigantsSpecific Requirements or Preferences As a Family Court Judge, I consider it my job to resolve disputes fairly, quickly and completely. Lawyers and self-represented litigants would be well-served to keep this in mind whenever filing something or appearing in my Courtroom.
Other than what is outlined here, I have very few specific preferences. I do not put form over substance and strive to pursue a "common-sense" path towards dispute resolution.
The division Judicial Assistant can be reached at Alyssa.Rodriguez@JBAZMC.Maricopa.Gov. The division phone number is 602-506-7618
Pre-Trial Practice and Management IssuesMotion Practice Motions or petitions filed with my division should deal with one issue and one issue only. Same for responses. Combining either multiple subjects into a single petition or, even worse, combining a response to a petition with a counter-petition, is strongly disfavored. It makes it very difficult for me to keep track of all pending petitions especially where there are multiple discrete issues being briefed by each side at the same time.
If the Rules do not require a response, I typically set a hearing (usually either a RMC or evidentiary hearing) without waiting for a response.
When filing a motion, please provide a proposed order whenever possible. Even if I don't use the order, it is the best expression of exactly what you want me to do.
After filing a motion at the clerk's counter, always deliver or email a stamped copy of the filing to this division. If you e-file something, I may not see it for a few days and so if you want me to review a document quickly please deliver a copy to my division either by hand or by email to my judicial assistant (email@example.com).
When filing a non-substantive motion (i.e. motion for telephonic appearance, etc.) you should make every effort to get the other side's position and reflect that in the motion. If your motion is silent on this, I will assume it is opposed and will allow the other side the full response time before ruling. Relatedly, it is extremely helpful when filing other motions that may be quasi-substantive (i.e. not case dispositive) to reflect the other side's position. Things like a request for appointment of a CAA or request for a child interview will happen much more quickly if I know they are unopposed.
In my experience, oral argument (as opposed to an evidentiary hearing) is not especially common in Family Court but if you feel you need oral argument please indicate that in your motion. I try to make oral arguments a meaningful exercise and let both parties know my inclinations and analysis at the start of the hearing. To that end, I fully prepare for every oral argument and expect the parties to do the same. I should not be the most prepared person in the Courtroom. During oral argument I am very interactive and typically ask many questions.
When filing a motion to withdraw as counsel of record, counsel must comply with Rule 5.3, Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure. Pursuant to those rules, if a matter is pending and counsel has not obtained the client’s written consent to counsel’s withdrawal, I will not rule on the motion to withdraw until the time for the filing of a response has passed (unless the body of the motion reflects that the other side has no objection). In addition, if the motion does not bear the client’s written consent, counsel must be sure to serve a copy of the motion upon the client and reflect such service in the certificate of service.
Motions to reconsider or for a new trial should be rare requests, highlighting legal defects or significant changes in circumstance. If you simply disagree with my ruling, an appeal should be filed. Discovery or Disclosure Disputes and/or Sanctions The parties or their counsel must speak directly, either in-person or on the phone, with one another BEFORE getting the Court involved in a discovery dispute. If your efforts to resolve the dispute fail, do not file anything. Both parties or counsel shall jointly call this division and set up a telephonic discovery conference. We will make every effort to get you in within a couple of days. Other Pre-trial Practice Guidelines or Comments I believe, especially where children are involved, that a resolution reached by the parties is often superior to a resolution that I impose. I will never meet the children involved in these cases and will only spend a few hours, at most, with their parents. While I will make every effort to reach a resolution that is in the best interests of the children, the parents typically know far more than I do about what is in the best interests of their children. For that reason I strongly encourage the parties to make every effort to resolve issues themselves. Even if you can't agree on everything, a partial resolution is often better than no resolution at all.
If a notice of settlement is filed within two weeks of trial, the party filing the notice SHALL email or hand-deliver a copy of the notice to the division.
When parties are represented and they settle, either in Court or on their own, I will set a deadline for submission of a signed settlement agreement or consent decree after which I will dismiss the matter. Please pay attention to that deadline. While my division may try and contact counsel before dismissing the action I cannot promise we will do this in every case. If you need more time to complete the settlement, just ask. It would be very unusual for me to deny such a request. If your case is dismissed, the case will be reinstated only when a motion to reinstate is filed and accompanied by a fully executed and complete decree or settlement agreement. If one party is at fault for the failure to file a signed order, an award of attorneys’ fees and costs against the other party may be considered.
Attorney fees will be granted in cases when a party has been significantly unreasonable or has a considerable financial advantage. Such fees are not awarded often.
I always allow telephonic appearances in non-substantive matters (i.e., scheduling, status, etc.). It saves time and money. In the same regard, for non-substantive matters, lawyers may always waive their clients' presence.
Trial Practice and ProtocolTrial Schedule I keep track of time and will try to provide periodic updates. I allocate time equitably, not necessarily equally, to ensure both sides a fair opportunity to be heard.
The Court is flexible on matters counsel agree to (for example order of witnesses) in an effort to be accommodating.
Joint Pre-Trial Memo and/or Conference; Exhibits and Objections As reflected in the minute entry setting evidentiary hearings, JOINT Pretrial Statements are REQUIRED. This is particularly true for cases involving two represented parties. The Court recognizes that sometimes a joint statement is not feasible but all efforts should be made to submit a joint, rather than separate, pretrial statement.
Stipulated admission of exhibits is encouraged, but not as a substitute for presenting the evidence to the witnesses and asking them to explain how it relates to the ultimate facts the Court is being asked to find. I will not allow parties to simply stipulate to all of the exhibits being admitted unless there are only a few.
A bench copy of the exhibits is much appreciated and will assist in your presentation of the evidence. It is also appreciated if the exhibit numbers in the bench copy match those to be introduced at trial. Please feel free to call my division in advance of trial for a completed exhibit worksheet to facilitate this. UNTIL IN-PERSON HEARINGS RESUME THERE IS NO NEED TO SUBMIT A BENCH BOOK.
If exhibits are not provided in the time required in the minute entry setting trial, the exhibits may be marked at trial and the time needed to do this will count against the untimely party.
If your presentation or exhibits will involve voluminous records, please make sure you point me to the relevant portions. Additionally, summaries of exhibits are useful tools to educate the court, provided in addition to the voluminous records. Trial Practice and Procedure If you have a multimedia exhibit (i.e. a voicemail or video) you must 1) provide the means to play the exhibit and 2) provide a copy of the exhibit on either a flash drive (preferred) or a CD/DVD that can be received into evidence. Videos, voicemails, texts, emails etc. on a party's phone cannot be introduced into evidence.
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.
Courtroom Etiquette You may stand or sit at counsel table or use the podium, as you prefer. You do not have to ask permission to approach the witness, but you may not question the witness while standing next to the witness or directly in front of the witness stand without permission.
Please do not argue with the other party. Your comments should be directed to the Court and the Court only. This applies equally to lawyers and self-represented litigants.
While my style from the bench tends to be less formal, the one thing I expect above all else is respect. I expect the parties and their lawyers to treat everyone with the same respect and courtesy you provide to me, the judge. The same goes for audience members. I will remove people from the gallery who cannot conduct themselves appropriately.
Please do not bring children under eighteen into the courtroom.
Other Courtroom Policies and Recommendations My staff will often communicate with attorneys, their staff and self-represented litigants by email for scheduling purposes, to expedite review of certain documents, or in other urgent situations. If one of my staff members contacts you by email, please respond promptly, even if it is just to acknowledge the email and estimate when you will be able to respond substantively. While I understand email etiquette frowns on a reply to all, in the case of emails from my staff it is essential to avoid ex parte communications. My staff will never contact just one side and the parties must make sure that everyone is copied on all communications to the Court.
On a related point, the parties or their lawyers should not copy the court on their email spats. The court will not consider them and it just makes everyone look less professional.
I try to make myself as accessible to the parties as possible. Attorneys may contact my judicial assistant if a problem arises that I would likely be able to address through a brief status conference.
Coronavirus Updates (updated 2.3): I plan to use this profile to communicate information about our response to the current situation. Please check it regularly.
This division has been scheduling both evidentiary and non-evdidentiary hearings for remote appearances. We anticipate that remote appearances for most hearings will continue through June 2021 and remote appearances for non-evidentiary hearings will continue indefinitely. I have begun transitioning to Court Connect. Please download the Microsoft Teams app rather than connecting through a web browser.
For the rare in-person hearings, masks are required for all participants. For remote evidentiary hearings, there is no need to deliver a bench book to the division.
You should be notified by minute entry regarding your specific hearings. These minute entries will also contain instructions on submitting exhibits as follows: For electronic and in-person exhibit submission, please visit, https://www.clerkofcourt.maricopa.gov/services/exhibits-submission. The webpage will provide instructions and guidance for electronic submission as well as locations for in-person submission of exhibits. Questions about exhibits may be emailed to COCCRSExhibits-DT@Maricopa.Gov.
In remote hearings, I typically do not take audio/visual exhibits. The best way to get those into the record is to "present" them at trial through the remote platform. Alternatively, I will allow parties to play the video or audio exhibit into the record using a separate device.
You may also contact this division if you have any questions about your specific hearing or the submission of exhibits. Please understand, however, that the staff's presence in the office may still be limited and so it may take some time to get calls returned. E-mail to my JA or CA is probably the best way to get a more timely response. The JA's email address is Alyssa.Rodriguez@JBAZMC.Maricopa.Gov. CA is Jesus.Gonzalez@JBAZMC.Maricopa.Gov