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Judge Leichty: Trial Timing

Judge Leichty ordinarily does not place time limits on opening statements, though he has the authority to do so and will often address this subject at the final pretrial conference. Judge Leichty may place time limits on final arguments. At the instruction conference, he will inquire of counsel how much time is needed for final arguments. Counsel’s request will be approved if reasonable.

Trial days ordinarily run from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with an hour for lunch, though Judge Leichty will adjust these times to accommodate counsel, jurors, witnesses, and other circumstances that might reasonably arise and to ensure a just and efficient completion of trial. A morning and afternoon break will occur as trial permits.

When a jury is deliberating, though, Judge Leichty turns timing over to the jury, and generally will allow the jury to deliberate for as long, or to break for the day as early, as the jury wishes. The court views the jury as an important participant and customer of the court, and counsel should be mindful and respectful of the jury’s time.

Judge Leichty expects the parties to have enough witnesses on hand to fill the trial day. The court views the jury’s time as valuable and will strive to avoid unexpected short trial days that might make the trial last an extra day. The court will encourage questioning and presentation that will efficiently complete the trial.

Judge Leichty strives to cooperate with the schedules of experts and other non-party professionals and will allow them to testify out of sequence under proper circumstances. Anticipate any such possibility and discuss it with opposing counsel before raising it with the court.