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Judge Lee: 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.

Side bars during trial are strongly discouraged. Matters in dispute should be taken up with the Court on a break so that time is not taken away from the jury.

Counsel do need to ask permission to approach the witness. When speaking in open court counsel must utilize the podium. When giving opening statements and closing arguments, counsel should refrain from invading the space of the jurors; counsel should not "break the plane" of the podium.

Judge Lee's courtroom is fully equipped with state of the art technology. To make the trial run more efficiently and to enhance the presentation of the case to the jury, use of the courtroom technology is strongly encouraged by the Court. For example, it is unnecessary to approach a witness to show him a document. The courtroom's Elmo system should be used instead. Training for use of the technology is available by contacting the courtroom deputy at (260) 423-3000.

All exhibits are to be marked and numbered (or lettered) before trial and copies are to be furnished to opposing counsel and the Court with an exhibit list. Plaintiff's should use numbers; defendants should use letters. If it is anticipated that more than 26 defendant exhibits are required, the number sequence should be A through B, AA through AZ, BA through BZ and so on, so as to avoid a more than 2 digit identification.

Counsel are to meet before trial for the purpose of designating agreed jury instructions. The onus is on the Plaintiff (or the government in a criminal case) to submit to the Court those instructions that the parties have agreed to. Each party will then file with the Court those instructions that the other side would not agree to. In civil cases, the parties should limit their submissions of jury instructions to substantive instructions regarding the claims and defenses in the case. The Court has a standard set of general instructions for all other matters such as the burden of proof, credibility of witnesses, etc. Please consult the link to the jury instructions on this website for the general instructions in civil cases.

If a civil case has been settled, the courtroom deputy must be notified promptly. Jury costs will be assessed for failure to inform the courtroom deputy until the day of trial of a settlement.

A Guide for Trial Counsel conducting trials before Judge William C. Lee