Protocol and Practice of Persons Appearing in the Court of Judge John Blanchard
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Specific Comments or Advice for LitigantsSpecific Requirements or Preferences Motions and Orders
• It is the party’s responsibility to make sure that a copy of each document filed is submitted to the division. The Clerk of Court does not make copies for the divisions.
• 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 must submit copies of the form of order with self-addressed stamped envelopes so that the Court may return a conformed copy to each party. The alternative is for the party to print a copy of the filed order from the party’s case through the Electronic Court Record.
• Attorney requests to withdraw filed within two weeks of a hearing must include a statement that the moving attorney notified the opposing counsel or opposing party of his/her 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.
• Discovery motions. Do not file Motions to Compel. Please meet and confer regarding the issue and then call the Court’s Judicial Assistant at 602-506-3005 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. Likewise, the Court may award attorney’s fees for 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.
• The Court understands that when a party is appearing in propia persona (representing him/herself without an attorney), the process can be scary and confusing. The Court will do its 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. Please note that all parties, whether represented by an attorney or unrepresented, are bound by the Rules equally.
• To that end, 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.
• 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 602-372-3608.
• 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.
Evidentiary Hearings and Trials
• 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 is 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. Furthermore, the parties are already in enough conflict without having family and friends increasing a fight in the hallway or on social media.
• 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.
• 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 parties’ position or indicate that a reasonable attempt was made to contact the other party, and a form of order.
• 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, and that copies will 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.
o Do not interrupt the other party (except for proper objections) when the other party is speaking.
o 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.
o 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.
o Ask to approach the witness or the bench the first time you approach. After that you may approach the witness as necessary.
o Question witnesses from either the podium or from your respective table. Do not stand next to the witness box while questioning witnesses.
o Please do not argue with the other party. Your comments are 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.
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.