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Judge Miller: Timing and Time Limits - Criminal

Judge Miller ordinarily does not place time limits on opening statements.

Judge Miller always places time limits on final arguments. At the instruction conference, he will inquire of counsel how much time is needed; unless the request is quite unreasonable, counsel will be given the time requested. Judge Miller also will offer to inform counsel of the time remaining at requested points in the final argument (e.g., five minutes to go) so that counsel needn't focus on the clock throughout.

Judge Miller has imposed time limits on the presentation of evidence in unusual cases. Such an order is not common.

Trial days ordinarily run from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with sixty to seventy-five minutes for lunch break, though sentencings occasionally require a later start or a longer lunch break. Jurors will not be required to go more than two hours without a break. Because some jurors in the South Bend Division may have more than two and a half hours of travel, Judge Miller ordinarily will not keep a jury more than fifteen minutes past 5:00.

When a jury is deliberating, on the other hand, Judge Miller turns timing over to the jury, and generally will allow the jury to deliberate as long, or to break for the day as early, as the jury wishes.

Judge Miller expects the parties to have enough witnesses on hand to fill the trial day. He views the jurors' time as valuable and will strive to avoid unexpectedly short trial days that might make the trial last an extra day.

If the trial is expected to last more than two weeks, Judge Miller will not schedule trial days for Fridays.

Judge Miller strives to cooperate with the schedules of doctors and other non-party professionals and will allow them to testify out of sequence in the absence of persuasive objection. Anticipate any such possibility and discuss it will opposing counsel before raising it with the court.