Protocol and Practice of Persons Appearing in the Court of Judge Scott Blaney
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Specific Comments or Advice for LitigantsSpecific Requirements or Preferences - These Protocols are a combination of my general philosophy and specific guidelines for practice before this division. They are formed from what I have witnessed in the courtroom and from my experiences as a civil litigator in both state and federal courts. Prior to my appointment, the majority of my law practice was in the areas of employment law and commercial litigation. I am also a 25-year veteran of the military; having had the honor of serving with the U.S. Army as a soldier in combat zones in both Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as with the Defense Attaché Office in Mexico City, Mexico.
- Throughout my legal career I have had the pleasure of working alongside and against some great attorneys; professionals for whom I have a lot of respect. I have always noticed that the best attorneys find the right balance between being passionate about representing their clients’ interests and also showing respect and professional courtesy to opposing counsel and opposing parties. I expect the same level of mutual respect and courtesy between the parties in my courtroom, regardless of whether the parties are represented by an attorney or self-representing.
- Please be courteous to court staff. Remember that they can be helpful to you. But please do not ask them legal questions or for legal advice. They are not lawyers and they cannot answer those questions.
- I understand that when a party is appearing in propia persona (representing him/herself without an attorney), the process can be scary and confusing. I will do my best to explain the process to unrepresented parties during the hearing or answer questions about process. If you have questions, it is best to ask. But the Court cannot give legal advice. And please note that all parties, whether represented by an attorney or unrepresented, are bound by the Rules equally.
- If you are a self-represented or pro per party, there is a Self Service Center located on the first floor of the East Court Building where parties can obtain information and assistance with the process. Parties unrepresented by an attorney are encouraged to utilize this free service.
Pre-Trial Practice and Management IssuesDiscovery or Disclosure Disputes and/or Sanctions - Do not file Motions to Compel. Please meet and confer regarding the issue and then call the Court’s Judicial Assistant at 602-372-1095 to request a 15-minute hearing (which can be telephonic). Most discovery disputes can be worked out in a 15-minute phone call with the Court. If the issues are too complex for a 15-minute conference or a Motion to Compel is appropriate for the issue, the Court will allow the filing of a Motion to Compel.
- The Court will likely award attorney’s fees and other types of sanctions to the moving party when granting a Motion to Compel. The Court may also award attorney’s fees to the responding party if the Motion to Compel is denied.
- When filing a Motion to Compel attach a copy of the discovery request(s) for which the moving party did not receive a proper response. Also attach whatever response was received.
- Please remember that the Clerk of Court does not make copies of documents that you file for the divisions. It is the party’s responsibility to make sure that a copy of each document filed is submitted to the division.
- Forms of Order. All motions submitted to the Court must include a form of order with copies and self-addressed stamped envelopes so that the Court may return a conformed copy to each party. eFiled motions must also include a form of order. However, if the party desires a conformed copy of an eFiled order, the moving party can submit copies of the form of order with self-addressed stamped envelopes so that the Court may return a conformed copy to each party.
- Attorneys: If filing a request to withdraw within two weeks of a hearing please include a statement that you notified the opposing counsel or opposing party of your intent to withdraw. This is just a notification to the other side; not a requirement to obtain the opposing party’s position on the issue. If the opposing party will be materially prejudiced by the attorney’s withdrawal just before trial, it is on the opposing party to make that argument to the Court. Other Pre-trial Practice Guidelines or Comments - When the Court sends you a document, such as a Minute Entry, you must read the entire document. Minute Entries typically tell you what you need to do in order to prepare for the next hearing, when you must disclose exhibits to the other side, and what you must file before the next hearing.
- A party's disclosure obligations (information and documents that you must provide to the other party) are governed by Rule 49 of the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure. Regardless of whether or not you are represented by an attorney you must read the Rule. The Court will hold litigants to their disclosure obligations pursuant to the Rule.
- The Rule generally governing "Discovery" (the process for obtaining information and documents from the other party) is Rule 51. Again, although the Court will provide some explanation regarding procedure to a self-represented party, the Court will hold all litigants to their discovery obligations.
- When a Minute Entry or other Order directs the parties to file a document, such as pretrial statements, resolution management statements, affidavits of financial information, etc., the Court expects that the document will be filed by the required date. Copies must be provided to this division and the other party. Failure to timely file the document(s) will likely result in some type of sanction absent a showing of good cause. More than likely, the offending party will not be permitted to introduce the evidence or arguments contained in the document.
- This division does not conduct business by email. Documents may be submitted by fax only after having been properly filed, and must include the Clerk of Court’s document stamp or the eFiling receipt in the fax. The division’s fax number is 602-372-4664.
Trial Practice and ProtocolTrial Practice and Procedure - Do not interrupt the other party (except for proper objections) when the other party is speaking.
- Do not make comments at/to the other party or opposing counsel. It does not help your case and will more than likely make you appear unreasonable to the Court.
- Stand to announce yourself and your client at the beginning of the hearing. After that you may, at your option, conduct business while seated at your table.
- Ask to approach the witness or the bench the first time you approach. After that you may approach the witness as necessary.
- Question witnesses from either the podium or from your respective table. Do not stand next to the witness box while questioning witnesses.
- Do not argue directly with the other party. Your comments should be directed to the Court. Please remind those people who come with you to court that they are also expected to be courteous and abide by Courtroom procedures.
- For evidentiary hearings and Trials, this division typically allots one-third of the available time to the Petitioner, one-third to the Respondent, and one-third to the Court.
- Requests to vacate or continue a hearing must include the other party's position or indicate that a reasonable attempt was made to contact the other party, and a form of order. Courtroom Etiquette
- Each hearing is recorded through the Court’s recording system. Outside or personal recording of a hearing by any means (cell phone, tape recorder, laptop, etc.) is prohibited without prior approval from the Court.
- Court is open to the public but this does not mean the public has a right to be heard as they choose. Both verbal and non-verbal communication are unacceptable. The Court will excuse a person from the courtroom if it is believed they failed to show the judicial institution the respect it deserves. The parties are already in enough conflict without having family and friends adding fuel to the fire. Other Courtroom Policies and Recommendations - Please do not bring children to Court. They will not be allowed to sit in the courtroom during the proceedings, and the Court does not have any resources for child care available.