Protocol and Practice of Persons Appearing in the Court of Judge Sara Agne

Specific Comments or Advice for Litigants

Specific Requirements or Preferences

My Judicial Assistant is reachable via (602) 506-8288; my Courtroom Assistant is available at (602) 506-0379 when not in the courtroom.  
The Court expects lawyers and all parties to treat each other, opposing parties, court staff, and everyone with respect and professionalism.  
Harassment, bias, or prejudice on the basis of race, sex, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, marital status, socioeconomic status, or affiliation is strictly prohibited.  
Division 56 (Judge Agne) is a Division holding virtual proceedings on Court Connect at times. The links you receive from my staff, from the automated court calendar notification, from scheduling orders, or from minute entries in tax, civil, or Commercial Court cases may look different, but they all lead to my virtual courtroom. Once you click a link to join, please assume you are in the courtroom and on-the-record, so please conduct yourself as if in court and advise others that you may have asked to attend to do the same.  
If you intend to request to appear in-person for what is a presumptively remote proceeding, please make such request via email to Division staff, copying all counsel and any self-represented parties, at least seven days in advance of the proceeding. Requests to appear in-person for remote proceedings submitted untimely are subject to summary denial.  
Judge Agne's Division is also one of those using CaseCenter, a state-wide electronic exhibit portal. All exhibits must be submitted through CaseCenter. When the case has been initiated by the Clerk of Court, the attorney of record will receive an email invitation to the case created in CaseCenter. Please access self-guided training and register for an account here:  
Proposed orders of any kind should be lodged in eFile as separate Word documents related to the filing they accompany; there is no need to include the word "Proposed" on the Word-format order. (Local Rule 2.17)  
Please know and follow all required exhibit and witness procedures in the civil rules, the rules of practice for the Tax Court, the local rules, Court orders, and presently in-effect administrative orders.  
Judge Agne does not require courtesy hard copies of any item, unless you are submitting deposition designations per the procedure noted in the Trial Setting minute entry. Only then are paper copies of designated deposition transcripts with objection and response charts/annotations helpful.  
Counsel preparing witnesses for remote hearings should provide them with the Notice to Witness re: Testimony in Remote Hearing. Please request a PDF copy of the Notice to Witness from Division 56 staff should you need it.  

Pre-Trial Practice and Management Issues

Motion Practice

Division 56 handles most motions via eFile; please lodge a Word format electronic form of order. There is no need to include the word "Proposed" or "[Proposed]" on Word format forms of order; omitting it makes e-filing more efficient for the Division.  
The Division adheres to ARCAP 13(f) regarding citation to case law and encourages counsel to save space by omitting parallel citations--citation to the volume and page number(s) of the official Arizona reporter, only, is sufficient. Citation of non-Arizona case law must be to the volume and page number of applicable regional or federal reporters.  
If a case is not available in an official Arizona reporter or in an applicable regional or federal reporter, a party may provide a citation to an electronic database or another source, but should also provide a copy of, or working link to, the case. The Division also requires strict compliance with Arizona Supreme Court Rule 111(c) and 111(d) regarding citation to unpublished authorities. Please do not cite unpublished cases from any jurisdiction without complying with those rules.  
If agreement on a brief extension of a response or reply deadline is reached, please email, copying all counsel and self-represented parties, Division 56 staff ( and to advise of that. The Division does not require a filing for those brief Rule 7.1(g) extensions, but the parties may wish to file one anyway to make them formally effective under Rule 7.1(g)(2). For lengthy extensions, or those affecting Court-ordered deadlines or hearings, please e-file a motion or stipulation, lodging with it a Word-format electronic form of order.

Discovery or Disclosure Disputes and/or Sanctions

This Division requires strict compliance with Ariz. R. Civ. P. 26(d), the Expedited Procedure for Resolving Discovery and Disclosure Disputes. All disputes between parties that could be addressed in motions for protective order under Rule 26(c) or motions to compel discovery or disclosure under Rule 37(a) must first proceed pursuant to Rule 26(d). The Court may decide to later permit full briefing under Ariz. R. Civ. P. 26(d)(1), but the parties may not engage in full briefing without the advance permission of the Court. Attempted full briefing without advance permission of the Court subjects any such motion by a party to summary denial.

Trial Practice and Protocol

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

Illustrative Aids versus Demonstrative Evidence: Illustrative aids like poster boards, enlarged medical models, planned easel illustrations, and PowerPoint slides that are used to assist the factfinder’s understanding of evidence or argument are not admitted as evidence but must be exchanged at least three (3) judicial days prior to trial. This required exchange avoids us having to address numerous objections during opening statements and closing arguments, during which bench conferences are particularly interruptive and do irritate jurors. Copies of illustrative aids, or photos of them, should also be e-filed into the record of the case by the proponent of the aid, for purposes of the full record on appeal.  
Demonstrative items of evidence, then, are physical exhibits used to prove a fact. Those items should be handled just like other trial exhibits, with the distinction being that an 8.5 x 11 photograph of the item should be uploaded to CaseCenter instead of the item itself. Questions about making physical demonstrative exhibits part of the record not answered here may be addressed to the Court and, if the Court then directs, the Courtroom Clerk, outside of the jury’s presence at trial.

Trial Practice and Procedure

When calling a witness to testify virtually during a trial or hearing, please ensure you or your co-counsel are in communication with the witness so they are aware of when to connect to the virtual proceeding. Trial time is limited and precious.  
When the Rule of Exclusion, Ariz. R. Evid. 615, has been invoked, all counsel should inform their party’s witnesses of its invocation and meaning, and all counsel and parties should be vigilant to assist the Court in ensuring that no witnesses enter the courtroom, or dial-in or link-in to the courtroom telephonically or otherwise, while other witnesses are testifying, which would be in violation of the rule. When the rule has been invoked, witnesses are prohibited from receiving the testimony of other witnesses via any means, unless they meet an exemption of the Rule or the Court has otherwise exempted them on the record.

Other Courtroom Policies and Recommendations

Please do not email Judge Agne directly about a case, even if you copy all counsel on the email. Please also do not use Court Connect, GoToMeeting, or any other electronic platform to 'chat' Judge Agne, whether we are on the record or off the record at the time.  
If you need to communicate with the Division, please contact staff at the email addresses listed above. Exigencies during an on-the-record proceeding might also be handled by 'chatting' staff only if they are available in Court Connect for that function. Please ensure that your chat message only goes to the Division staff member you intended and not to all in a proceeding.  
In any event, DO NOT use Court Connect, GoToMeeting, or any other text or electronic platform to chat or message a witness while they are testifying or to side-chat any party in a virtual proceeding. Chat-logs are public and permanent, and virtual court proceedings operate with the same formality and prohibitions as in-person proceedings. Please advise clients and witnesses of the same. Thank you.