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Judge Van Bokkelen: Jury Trial Procedures

Trial dates are firm and motions to reset trial dates are discouraged. If it is necessary to file such a motion, it should be made at the earliest possible date. If a civil case is resolved by the parties, counsel in the case should immediately file an electronic notice of resolution. Jury costs will be assessed if the Court is not notified of resolution before the first day of trial.

During trial, counsel should avoid side bars when possible. Matters in dispute should be taken up outside the jury's presence during breaks or recesses.

Counsel do not need to ask permission to approach the witness, and they need not use the podium. At all times, counsel should refrain from invading the space of the jurors or touching the rail of the jury box. Counsel should stand when questioning witnesses and when addressing the Court. Judge Van Bokkelen’s courtroom is equipped with state of the art technology. To make the trial more efficient and to enhance the presentation of the case, use of the courtroom technology is encouraged. For example, it is unnecessary to approach a witness to show him a document; the courtroom's ELMO system may be used instead. Counsel may ask for training in using the technology by contacting the Courtroom Deputy, Irma Rivera, at (219) 852-6744.

Counsel are to meet before trial for the purpose of designating agreed exhibits. Counsel will file a list of agreed exhibits by the first day of trial. All exhibits are to be marked before trial and copies are to be furnished to opposing counsel and the Court with an exhibit list. Plaintiffs should use numbers; defendants should use letters. If it is anticipated that more than 26 defendant exhibits are required, the marking sequence could be D-1, D-2, etc., to avoid the AAAA through DDDD method.

The Courtroom Deputy is the custodian of all exhibits admitted into evidence during trial. Offering counsel may retain any offered but not admitted exhibits. Exhibits are kept at the corner of the Courtroom Deputy’s table and are available for your use during the trial. At the conclusion of a witness's testimony, counsel should retrieve any exhibits used and place them on the Courtroom Deputy’s table. All admitted exhibits must be in the Courtroom Deputy’s possession during each recess or adjournment of the Court.

At the conclusion of trial, exhibits admitted into evidence will be housed by the Court until final disposition of the case (including any appeals).