Protocol and Practice of Persons Appearing in the Court of Judge John Hannah
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Specific Comments or Advice for LitigantsSpecific Requirements or Preferences My Judicial Assistant is Gail Cody. She generally handles scheduling, but in her absence my bailiff Tomi Polvorosa may be able to help you. Our telephone is 602 372-0759, and our fax is 602 372-8707. Our hours are 8:30a.m. to 5:00 p.m. We are closed from 12:00 to 1:30
All hearings are conducted in person unless the minute entry setting the hearing specifies that the hearing will be telephonic. Counsel and (unless appearance is waived) the parties usually will be required to appear in person at a hearing at which witnesses will testify. For in-court non-witness hearings permission to appear by telephone at an in-court hearing must be requested in advance except in an emergency.
All telephone appearances must be made from a quiet location, preferably on a landline using a handset as opposed to a speakerphone. If a cell phone is used it is the caller's responsibility to make or receive the call from a location with reliable service. Calls from moving vehicles are not appropriate.
Pro per litigants are strongly encouraged to read the applicable Rules of Procedure before filing papers or coming to court. The Superior Court Self-Help Center is an excellent resource. http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/SuperiorCourt/Self-ServiceCenter/
Pre-Trial Practice and Management IssuesMotion Practice
Oral argument: I decide whether to hear oral argument on a case by case basis. I generally do not set oral argument unless it is specifically requested, except that contested discovery motions are often set for a brief telephone hearing.
Forms of Order: Please submit all forms of order in WORD format.
Delivery of Motions with Exhibits: If you file a motion that contains exhibits and the totality of the exhibits exceeds 25 pages, please mail or hand-deliver a hard copy of the motion with an index of the tabbed exhibits to my Judicial Assistant.
Citations: Include all case citations in the body of the brief and not in footnotes.
Supplemental Briefing: Sur-responses, sur-replies and supplemental briefing will not be permitted without leave of court.
Filings made shortly before a hearing: It can take more than 24 hours for a document that is efiled to make it to my Judicial Assistant's efile inbox. If you file a document less than 3 days before a hearing that you want me to address at that hearing, please email it to my Judicial Assistant. The same goes for filings before or during a trial.
Dispositive motion deadline: The filing of a summary judgment motion fewer than 90 days before trial requires the express permission of the court granted in advance for good cause shown. Stipulations to that effect are not permitted.
Pretrial motions for rulings on legal issues (e.g. partial motions for summary judgment directed to a particular legal theory or defense): These motions are encouraged, but they must be labeled accurately and filed timely. The Court may decline to consider such motions when they are filed shortly before trial in the guise of motions in limine ("Evidence concerning X is not relevant because that evidence bears only on theory A and the plaintiff is not entitled to relief on that theory because it is not legally cognizable/because he cannot prove causation/etc."). Discovery or Disclosure Disputes and/or Sanctions
Written discovery and Rule 26.1: I disfavor boilerplate objections when it is clear that some do not apply. With respect to requests for production, if a party objects to a request as overly broad, I expect the party to produce any documents that the party would have produced had the request been more narrowly constructed.
Personal Consultation: I take very seriously the obligation imposed on counsel by the Rules of Civil Procedure to personally consult in an attempt to resolve a dispute before raising it with the Court. Personal consultation means either an in-person conference or a telephone conversation.
Telephonic Discovery Dispute Resolution: I am willing to resolve discovery disputes at a telephone conference arranged through my Judicial ASssistant. The prerequisites are: (1) all affected parties agree, in advance of the conference, to proceed in that fashion;(2) counsel for all affected parties are on the phone, and counsel for any other parties have been contacted and affirmatively waived their right to participate; and (3) the parties have complied with the meet-and-confer requirement and identified the specific issue or issues to be raised during the call. Issues other than those the parties have identified among themselves in advance will not be addressed. Other Pre-trial Practice Guidelines or Comments GENERAL
Telephonic scheduling: If my staff contacts you to ask about a continuance or other scheduling issue, please do not argue your position on the phone or send argument in the form of email. If more needs to be said, you must file something and send it to the other side.
Requests for expedited consideration: Requests for expedited consideration or action should be stated conspicuously in the caption of the motion or presented by separate motion. The requesting party will be expected to have taken reasonable steps to expedite the matter, both before filing (e.g. personal consultation with opposing counsel) and in connection with the filing (e.g. hand delivery or electronic service of papers on the opposing party). The requesting party should state specifically the expedited process that is requested, including, if appropriate, a proposed a form of order that provides a response date or deadline or some other provision for the other side's right to be heard. It is not the responsibility of court staff to coordinate an expedited response with the other side. Telephone hearings are encouraged for expedited matters.
Joint Report and Proposed Scheduling Order: In cases to which Rule 16(b)applies, the parties are required to meet and confer about scheduling within 60 days after any party has filed an answer or 180 days after the filing of the complaint, whichever is sooner, and to file a Joint Report and Proposed Scheduling Order two weeks after that. I do not interpret the "150 Day Notice" as extending the deadline for this filing. I anticipate that the Joint Report will be filed timely even if some parties have not been served or answered or motions to dismiss are pending.
Temporary custody petitions: Temporary custody orders usually will not be granted without notice to the opposing party. I usually require that the other party be served with the papers and given a chance to present his or her side at a hearing, before I take action. Sometime I will shorten the time between the filing and the hearing, but only If I am certain that the other party will receive fair notice of the hearing. Emergencies that cannot wait for a response from the other party are usually best addressed by law enforcement or the Department of Child Safety.
Temporary custody hearings: We try to set temporary orders for evidentiary hearing within 30 days. If you will not be ready that quickly or if think you will need more than an hour for the hearing, please say so in your motion so we can set the hearing accordingly.
Petitions to modify custody: Petitions to modify custody, 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 under Rule 91(D). A petition to modify usually will not be considered, and no court appearance will be set, until a response has been filed or the time for response has run out.
If what the child wants is disputed, the parties should request a parenting conference, or a child interview if the child is mature enough. I do not give much weight to a parent's testimony about what the child wants.
Notice of Settlement: If we receive a notice of settlement, the parties and counsel likely will be required to appear telephonically to put the full agreement on the record, especially if the trial date is approaching. In most cases we will set a date for the parties to submit a fully executed and complete consent decree. If the consent decree is not received by that date and no request is made to extend, the case is subject to dismissal without further notice.
Trial Practice and ProtocolTrial Schedule
Our first hearing is usually at 8:30. Trials run 9 to noon and 1:30 to
4:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
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. The Court does not have the time or the resources to take cases under advisement and then pore over the records to figure out what they show. Joint Pre-Trial Memo and/or Conference; Exhibits and Objections Joint pretrial statements: I generally don't review these until the day before trial except in complex cases, so don't sweat a day or two past the formal deadline. I do, however, expect that the parties will work together to create a single joint pretrial statement (not two separate pretrial statements under the same caption), and to narrow issues and streamline the admission of evidence to the extent possible.
Marking exhibits: The deadline in the pretrial order for providing copies of exhibits to this division's Deputy Clerk is firm. Please note that we are closed from 12 to 1:30, so no one will be here to take your exhibits during those hours.
Bench copies: I no longer require a complete set of bench copies of the exhibits, but please be prepared to provide me with copies of key exhibits (if I am the fact finder) or exhibits as to which I will be asked to make evidentiary rulings. If you choose to provide a set of bench copies, please make sure that the numbering of the bench copies corresponds to the exhibit numbers.
Use of exhibits in opening statement: If you intend to show an exhibit to the jury in opening statement, you should seek a stipulation from the opposing party or ask for a ruling on admissibility in advance. Jury Selection
Number of jurors: Any deviation from the Civil Rules with respect to the number of jurors who deliberate or how many are needed for a verdict requires agreement of all parties.
Voir dire: Struck method is used. Copies of my standard voir dire script will be distributed at the final pretrial conference. Please let me know any additional topics that you will want me to cover. I generally allow each attorney 15-20 minutes of voir dire, which can be used either to address additional questions to the jurors generally or follow up with specific jurors. Questions that are argumentative or meant to "commit" the jurors will not be permitted. I try to seat the jury before lunch on the first day of trial, which means that we may not break for lunch until about 1 p.m., and that the plaintiff generally should have a witness standing by as early as 3 or 3:30.
Preliminary jury instructions: Copies of my standard preliminary jury instructions will be distributed at the final pretrial conference. They differ in wording from the RAJIs but they are not meant to vary in substance. The parties will be asked to draft a "claims made and issues to be proved" instruction or instructions, laying out the elements of each claim and any key defenses. Trial Practice and Procedure Time: During Family Court trials I try to keep rough track of time, but the parties are responsible for tracking time and will need to confer prior to trial the following day to reach an agreement on the remaining time for each party. In Civil trials I generally do not keep track of time unless one of the parties indicates that the allocation of time may be an issue. I allocate time equitably, not necessarily equally, to ensure both sides a fair opportunity to be heard.
Witness appearances: Permission for witness to appear by telephone or Skype must be requested in writing in advance. The motion must explain the reason for having the witness appear telephonically. All telephone appearances must be made from a quiet location, preferably on a landline using a handset as opposed to a speakerphone. Telephonic appearance is at the party's own risk if the signal is bad or the courtroom equipment malfunctions.
Depositions: If deposition testimony will be presented to the jury other than for impeachment purposes, and there are objections to the designated testimony, please provide me with a copy of the deposition on which both sides' designated testimony and their objections to the opposing parties' testimony are clearly marked. Ideally the designations and objections should be submitted at the final pretrial conference. At a minimum I need two business days to make the rulings; and, if the rulings will be used to edit video to be shown to the jury, you need to allow enough additional lead time for the editing process. Courtroom Etiquette
General courtesy: Be courteous to one another, the parties, witnesses and court staff. Please address all comments to me and not the opposing parties and attorneys.
Speaking objections: Please do not make arguments on the admissibility of evidence in front of the jury. State the basis for your objection (e.g., "relevance," "hearsay) and stop. If I need an explanation I will ask. When objecting to admission of an exhibit, do not argue the merits of the evidence. I will entertain requests for a bench conference provided the number of requests is limited.
Moving around the courtroom: 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. When arguing, stay a respectful distance back from the jury box.