Rules of Conduct for Counsel While in Trial
Different judges have different rules and different preferences. It is not really fair to expect counsel to follow the rules if they do not know what the rules are. For this reason, the judge is providing counsel with the following rules before trial. If there are any of these rules to which you object or do not understand, the judge would be glad to discuss them with you in chambers with opposing counsel present.
- Be on time for court.
- Make brief objections on legal grounds.
- Stand to object or to address the Court.
- Do not respond to opposing counsel's objection unless you first ask leave of the Court to do so or the Court asks you to do so.
- Do not talk at the same time that opposing counsel, a witness, or the Court is talking.
- Do not use racist, sexist, obscene or profane language in court unless eliciting or quoting from facts in the case.
- Do not make sidebar comments, facial gestures or other distracting noises or gestures during any phase of a trial.
- If your client is in custody at the time of trial, bring appropriate clothes for him or her to wear in the courtroom, and give them to the bailiff before the trial.
- Make challenges for cause after the completion of voir dire unless a prospective juror makes statements that may possibly taint the whole panel
- Have your witnesses in attendance at the court and ready to testify when needed.
- Have your witnesses dress appropriately for court. No blue jeans, shorts, T-shirts, etc.
- Do not request a bench conference except under extraordinary circumstances.
- Do not point firearms, loaded or unloaded, in the direction of jurors, witnesses, or any other persons in the courtroom.
- Ask permission to approach the witness stand.
- Ask permission to approach the court reporter to use or mark an exhibit.