Quiroz v. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, et al
Courtroom Decorum. (Gaumnitz, R)
The purpose of these guidelines is to state, for the
guidance of counsel, applicable basic rules concerning courtroom
The requirements stated are minimal, not all-inclusive,
and are intended to supplement, not supplant or limit, the
ethical obligations of counsel under the Code of Professional
Responsibility or the time honored customs of experienced trial
When appearing in this Court, all counsel (including where
the context applies, all persons at counsel table) shall abide by
Stand at the lectern while examining any witness;
except that counsel may approach the Courtroom Deputy Clerk’s
(CRD) desk or the witness for the purposes of handing or
tendering exhibits, if permission is granted by the Court.
Stand at or in the vicinity of the lectern while making
opening statements or closing arguments, except to refer to
Do not crowd the jury.
Address all remarks to the Court, not to opposing
Avoid disparaging personal remarks or acrimony toward
opposing counsel and/or parties.
Remain detached from any ill-
feeling between the litigants or witnesses.
Do not address jurors by name.
Do not approach the jury box.
Anything the jury needs
will be handled by the CRD.
Refer to all persons, including witnesses, other
counsel, and the parties by their surnames and not by their first
or given names or nicknames.
Only one attorney for each party shall examine each
witness on direct or cross-examination.
Only the attorney who
examines a witness shall state objections to questions by other
counsel to that witness.
Only one attorney for each party shall present oral
argument on motions, an opening statement, or closing argument.
Different motions, the opening statement, or closing
argument may be divided among counsel if a party has more than
one trial counsel, if different subjects are addressed by
counsel, and permission is first obtained.
Counsel should request permission before approaching
the bench or a witness.
Any documents or exhibits counsel wish to have the
Court examine should be handed to the Courtroom Deputy Clerk.
Any paper exhibit not previously marked for
identification should first be handed to the CRD to be marked
before it is tendered to a witness for examination or placed on a
Any exhibit offered in evidence should, at the time of
such offer, be handed to opposing counsel, unless pre-marked and
a copy is in the possession of opposing counsel.
Exhibits should be moved into evidence after the
foundation is laid at the time the exhibit is first used with a
Do not wait until the close of the evidence to move for
the admission of exhibits.
No speaking objections.
In making objections, counsel
should state only the legal grounds for the objection and should
withhold further comment or argument, unless elaboration is
requested by the Court at sidebar.
In examining a witness, counsel shall not repeat,
comment on, or exhibit approval or disapproval of the answer
given by the witness.
Offers of, or requests for, a stipulation should be
made to opposing counsel, out of the hearing of the jury.
In opening statements and closing arguments to the
jury, counsel shall not express counsel’s own personal knowledge
or personal opinion concerning any matter in dispute.
Counsel shall not, in the presence of the jury, refer
to any matter not in evidence.
Counsel shall admonish all persons at counsel table and
parties and persons under direction and/or control of counsel,
such as witnesses and any party present in the courtroom, that
gestures, facial expressions, laughing, snickering, audible
comments, or other manifestations of approval, disapproval or
disrespect during the testimony of witnesses are prohibited.
Counsel shall not, in the jury’s presence, refer to any
matter, witness, exhibit, or testimony that has been excluded by
an order granting a motion in limine, or to which an objection
was sustained, and/or motion to strike has been granted.
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