Thursday, September 12, 2013

Pretrial Guide Abridged

When the judge begins pretrial, one representative from each side should stand, remaining at counsel table. The plaintiff/prosecution should go first and address the following matters with the judge, roughly in this order:
1. Making appearances
2. Tendering informational materials
3. Entering evidence
4. Constructively excluding witnesses
5. Determining the judge’s preferences for movement about the well
6. Any other matters, including the judge’s preferences for swearing in witnesses and ensuring objection arguments will be constructively held outside the presence of the jury.
The defense should cover any matters and materials not covered by the prosecution/plaintiff. Appropriate language for each part is described below.

The Beginning
[Judges arrive and prepare their ballots].
Presiding judge: Are both parties present and ready to proceed?
Pretrialers for both sides, standing: Yes, Your Honor.
Presiding judge: Are there any pretrial matters?
Both pretrialers: Yes, Your Honor.
Making Appearances
Pretrialer: Your Honor, may I make appearances?
Presiding judge nods
Pretrialer: Good morning/afternoon/evening, Your Honors. My name is [name], and together with [name of co-counsel] and [name of co-counsel], we represent the plaintiff/prosecution/state/people/defense in today’s case. (If there is a party representative for the plaintiff/prosecution, add: “represented here by [name of the character of the party representative].” ). (Each person mentioned should stand as their name is said and sit at the end of the introduction.)
Tendering Informational Material
Pretrialer: We have a few documents we’d like to tender to the bench for your use during trial: the complaint/indictment [from the Plaintiff/Prosecution]/answer to the complaint [from the Defense], relevant case law, relevant statutes, orders on motions in limine, a copy of the stipulations, and a copy of the Rules of Evidence. May I approach and tender?
Presiding Judge, to other Pretrialer: Have you seen these documents?
Other Pretrialer: Yes, Your Honor; we have no objections.
Presiding Judge: You may approach.

Entering Evidence
Pretrialer: Your Honor, at this time we’d like to enter what has been marked for identification as Plaintiff/Prosecution/Defense Exhibit [number/letter] into evidence. All objections to this exhibit have been waived in stipulation [stipulation number].
Judge, to opposing counsel: Is that accurate? Do you have objections to the entering of this document?
Other pretrialer: No, Your Honor; all objections have been waived.

Constructive Exclusion
Pretrialer: At this time we’d like to invoke Rule 615, the constructive exclusion of witnesses with the exception of a party representative from each side. Our party representative will be [name of character]. (The pretrialer should gesture to the student playing the character as their name is mentioned).
Judge, to opposing counsel: Do you have any objections?
Other pretrialer: No, Your Honor. Our party representative will be [name of character]. (Again with appropriate gesture).

Movement about the Well
Pretrialer: We’d like to inquire about Your Honor’s preferences for movement about the well. Should we ask to approach opposing counsel, the witness, or the bench?

Swearing in of Witnesses
Pretrialer: We’d also like to ask Your Honor’s preference for the swearing in of witnesses. Will they be assumed sworn or sworn individually?

Constructive Hearing of Objection Arguments

Pretrialer: May we assume that objection arguments will be constructively heard outside the presence of the jury?

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