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Protocol and Practice of Persons Appearing in the Court of Judge Ronee Korbin Steiner << return to previous page
Specific Comments or Advice for Litigants Specific Requirements or Preferences Provide the court with a pretrial statement. Even if you are not a lawyer, and you feel concerned about providing something formal, please give me something. In my courtroom I have some of the statutes (laws) setting forth what I need to hear on topics such as decision making, parenting time and spousal maintenance. You are free to take those. This gives you the guideline to provide me with the information I need to make the best decision I can make.  
If there is a discovery dispute (disagreement over items requested of the other party), please call my staff and I will do my best to set a telephonic status conference as soon as I can. If it's too complicated, I will likely require you to put something in writing.  
Attorneys and self-represented parties need to understand that if you file something whether through the clerk or through the E-file system, I may not get it for days. If it is something you want me to see quickly, such as for a pending trial, please deliver a copy to my division or place it in my mail box.  
Pre-Trial Practice and Management Issues Motion Practice Please double space your motions and avoid handwriting them if possible. Often times, it is simply impossible for the court to understand them. Please start or end your motion telling me exactly what you are requesting. Often times, the Court receives motions and while the Court wants to assist, the Court does not know what is being requested. In those cases, the Court is likely to deny the motions. This causes you unnecessary delay.  
If expedited treatment is requested the request should state what has already been done to attempt to expedite the matter (personal consultation with opposing counsel, email service on opposing party, etc.). It should also include a proposed form of order that provides a response date or deadline or some other provision for the other sides right to be heard. It is not the responsibility of court staff to coordinate an expedited response with the other side.  
As to DISCOVERY DISPUTES ONLY: If you want to be heard on a disputed discovery issue, please call the division. If it is simple, I can schedule a phone call to address the issue. If it is too complicated, I may require you file something in writing explaining the situation to the court. In certain cases, I may have no choice but to require you to follow rule on motions to compel.  
Please make sure you deliver a copy of any motions/pleadings filed through e-file OR if you file them through the clerk, if you want me to see it soon. Sometimes it takes days for the Court to receive the document.  
The Court normally will not set oral argument unless it is requested. If it is requested, the Court will expect any additional information and probably not what has already been presented. This may be a time to explain arguments over which the Court needs clarity.
Other Pre-trial Practice Guidelines or Comments If you have paperwork that backs up what you going to tell me, be sure to bring it to court with you. Telling me the paper is at home does not help. Be sure that you have sent copies of the papers to the other party before the hearing, and bring extra copies to court for me.  
Petitions to modify legal decision making, and petitions to modify parenting time that would make one parent the primary residential parent or switch primary parenting responsibility from one parent to the other, must be served on the other party along with a notice of the right to file a written response pursuant to Rule 91(D). A Notice to Appear will not issue before a response has been filed or the time for response has run, unless a specific request is made and good cause shown.
Trial Practice and Protocol Trial Schedule The Court relies on the time the parties or attorneys estimate for trial. The Court has had experience in family court. Therefore, the Court has a good idea of how much time it takes to address certain issues. The Court will always be sensitive to explanations and needs on time if good cause is provided.  
Parties will be accommodated with special needs.  
Our first hearing is usually at 8:30. Trials run 9 to noon and/or 1:30 to 4:30. Although we occasionally go a few minutes past noon or past 5 p.m., I try hard to avoid that because it is an imposition on court staff.  
If your presentation will involve financial records or other data compilations, please ask for enough court time to walk through the key points during the hearing. If you want me to consider records, I will do so. However, summaries of exhibits are useful tools to educate the court, provided in addition to the voluminous records.
Joint Pre-Trial Memo and/or Conference; Exhibits and Objections 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. Otherwise, I need to ensure you explain the need for each exhibit. Trial Practice and Procedure Please provide me exhibits at the time of trial. When you do, make sure they are tabbed (separated easily). Don't be afraid to call my staff in advance of trial and ask for an exhibit worksheet if the clerk is finished marking the exhibits. This way, you can make sure your exhibits are numbered correctly when you hand them to me.  
On that topic, PLEASE ENSURE YOU GIVE THE CLERK EXHIBITS in the time frame stated in the trial setting minute entry. If you do not, they will be marked at the time of trial and this means you will have to use your time to have them marked.  
I keep track of time. I allocate time equitably, not necessarily equally, to ensure both sides a fair opportunity to be heard.  
If the parties have not invoked the strict rules of evidence, I will allow reliable hearsay but I give it the weight it merits. I seldom give much weight to testimony about what the child wants, if I allow it at all. If the parties want me to hear from the children, they should request a parenting conference or a child interview if the children are old enough and mature enough to provide such information.
Courtroom Etiquette Please be courteous to my staff. Remember that they can be helpful to you. But, please do not ask them legal advice. They are not lawyers and they cannot answer those questions.  
Please do not argue with the other party. Your comments are directed to the Court.  
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 remind those people who come with you to court that they are also expected to be courteous and abide by Courtroom procedures.
Other Courtroom Policies and Recommendations It is OK to call and ask about something that is pending, if you have waited for a reasonable amount of time but have not heard from us. Keep in mind, however, that we often have to allow time to pass before we act, to give the opposing party a chance to respond or for a variety of other reasons. Please also be aware that we are handling 800-1000 cases at any given time. My staff works very hard. Please be courteous to them.  
I sometimes proceed by avowal, but if the parties will present conflicting testimony I prefer to hear it directly from the witnesses. In order to proceed by avowal, I need the agreement of both parties.
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