HONORABLE JAMES PIERCE

 

Judicial Practice Preferences

Criminal

 

PRETRIAL

 

Plea Negotiation:

 

I prefer active involvement in the plea negotiation process.

 

I may become involved in designating additional conditions or making a separate plea offer.

 

Continuances:

 

If cleared with opposing counsel, my Judicial Assistant will remove and reset hearings.Trial continuances must be the subject of a motion and scheduled hearing.

 

Discovery Issues:

 

When discovery disputes occur, counsel must confer and make a good faith attempt to resolve them without a hearing.If a hearing must be held, it should be timely scheduled in order to avoid potential trial delay.

 

Deposition Disputes:

 

In every instance, certify the question and schedule a hearing.

 

Miscellaneous Problem Resolution:

 

I will not discuss any aspect of the case unless both counsels are present.

 

TRIAL

 

Motions in Limine:To be scheduled at a separate hearing, NOT at pretrial and NOT on the morning of trial.

 

Trials set for more than one day will be held on consecutive days, if possible.

 

Voir Dire Procedure Preference:

 

I prefer attorneys inquire of the entire panel.Seating chart with jurors names will be provided.


 

Miscellaneous:

 

NO speaking objections.Counsel should only state legal basis for any objection.

 

Defendants must be present at pretrials, unless previously excused by the court.Phone call to judges office for waiver is acceptable.

 

Defendant MUST be present at all motions to set aside capias or Bench Warrants for Failure to Appear.

 

Copies of all substantive motions should be provided to the judge at least one week prior to the hearing in order that the court may be familiar with the issues.

 

Evidence Procedures

 

I prefer that all evidence be marked with the clerk in advance of its intended use.

 

If I request to see the evidence, counsel may hand it directly to me.

 

After showing it to opposing counsel, the attorney may then show the exhibit to the witness without showing it to me first.

 

Courtroom Etiquette:

 

Attorneys should address their arguments and comments to the Court, not to each other.

 

Donít interrupt!

 

Look Professional and act professional.

 

Counsel should request permission to approach the bench or the witness.

 

When the jury enter or exits the courtroom, counsel and the defendant should stand.

 

Emergency Hearing:

 

Send a copy to court and to the other side with a cover or Fax letter.Court will advise as to whether it is an emergency.

 

Emergency matters involve only matters where the moving party will suffer irreparable harm if relief is not granted immediately.

 

Emergency matters do not involve matters where the party just wants relief immediately and has set the hearing solely for that reason.

 

Proposed Orders:

 

Send to court and a copy to opposing counsel.The Proposed order must be accompanied by a cover letter reflecting that opposing counsel was copied.The court will hold the order for (5) business days unless the cover letter reflects the parties are in agreement.

 

Other Practice and Procedure Comments:

 

In the event that a defendant is convicted after trial and I remand to custody, I routinely deny any contact visits at that time.

 

I prefer that counsel request permission to approach the bench, witness and clerk.