Ulibarri et al v. Denver, Colorado, The City and County of et al
RULES OF TRIAL. by Senior Judge Ortrie D. Smith on 10/17/2011. (odslc1, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
DEBBIE ULIBARRI, et al.,
CITY & COUNTY OF DENVER, et al.,
Case No. 07-CV-1814-ODS
RULES OF TRIAL
Normally, court will convene at 8:00 a.m. and recess at 5:00 p.m. The parties
may expect morning, lunch and afternoon breaks at appropriate times.
The Court will conduct voir dire; in so doing, questions will be taken from
those previously proposed by counsel. At the conclusion of the Court's questioning, and
if time permits, counsel will be afforded an opportunity to pose additional questions to the
panel. The jury will be excused when questioning is finished and each side may move to
strike for cause. Each side will then be awarded no more than fifteen (15) minutes for
peremptory challenges. Plaintiff’s strikes will be made first, then defendant’s strikes will be
made. The panel will be recalled and the jury will be seated and sworn. Upon request at
the pretrial conference, the Court will consider enlarging the participation of the attorneys
in voir dire.
Absent good cause shown, opening statements are limited to thirty (30)
minutes for each side.
No visual aid or exhibit shall be used during an opening statement unless
opposing counsel has been shown the visual aid or exhibit and has agreed that the item
may be used during the opening statement.
The interrogation of each witness shall consist of: (1) direct examination;
(2) cross-examination; (3) redirect examination; and (4) recross-examination. No further
questioning will be permitted except by leave of Court in extraordinary circumstances.
Absent good cause shown, the direct examination of each non-party witness
shall be no longer than sixty (60) minutes. Cross-examination of all witnesses shall be no
longer than direct. Redirect of non-party witnesses shall be no longer than twenty (20)
minutes, and recross-examination shall be no longer than redirect. Expert witnesses may
testify about their qualifications and background for no longer than five (5) minutes on direct
examination; cross-examination concerning the expert’s qualifications will be unlimited
except insofar as the general time limitation on cross-examination applies. The Court
reserves the right to impose reasonable time limitations on the direct examination of
Parties will be permitted to publish an expert’s curriculum vitae to the jury.
Only one (1) counsel per party may examine a witness. See Local Rule
83.3(b). Exhibits will rarely be circulated to jurors. If you want the jury to see exhibits
during the trial, they should be displayed in a fashion that all jurors may view them at the
same time (i.e., by overhead projection, ELMO, computer projection or the like).
Counsel may approach the witness for any legitimate purpose without
requesting permission to do so. If a podium is provided, counsel may use it but are not
required to do so.
Counsel may question a witness from any reasonable place in the
courtroom except from a place that would intrude into the jury's space. No paper or object
shall be placed on the railing in front of the jury box.
Except in unusual circumstances, counsel should stand when addressing the
Court or when examining the witness.
Except in unusual circumstances, a witness should be allowed to complete
an answer. If the question calls for a "yes" or "no" answer, you may anticipate that the
witness will be allowed an opportunity to explain that answer.
When making an objection, counsel should say only "objection" plus the legal
reason for the objection, e.g., leading, hearsay, etc. If objecting counsel desires to give
reasons for the objection or if an opposing counsel desires to oppose the objection, counsel
shall request leave to approach the bench. Objections to evidence should be made only
by counsel handling the witness.
Objections during opening statements or closing
arguments should be made only by counsel making opening statements or closing
Unless permission is granted before the trial begins, a maximum of two (2)
expert witnesses shall be allowed to testify for any party on any one (1) subject. After
counsel questions an expert about his/her qualifications, do not ask the Court to declare
the witness an expert.
Visible reactions to the testimony of witnesses, counsels' presentations or to
the Court's rulings (such as facial or body gestures) are inappropriate.
Conversation with clients and/or co-counsel must be in tones inaudible to the
Court and the jury.
Each party shall mark each of their exhibits prior to trial with an exhibit sticker
indicating whether the exhibit is being offered by the plaintiff or the defendant, along with
the exhibit number. The designation for each exhibit shall match the numeric designation
for that exhibit on the exhibit list furnished to the clerk prior to trial.
The length of closing arguments will be established during the instruction
Instructions will be read to the jury before closing arguments. Each juror will
be given a copy of the instructions after closing arguments for use during deliberations.
After the jury retires, each side shall assemble their exhibits and keep them
available in the courtroom. Counsel and their clients should remain in the courthouse and
advise the Court's staff where they will be located while the jury is deliberating.
As a general rule, exhibits requested by the jury will be sent to the jury room.
It may be that the Court will elect to simply send all of the exhibits to the jury room if any
are requested. In either case, only exhibits that have been discussed in the jury’s presence
(e.g., during testimony, as part of a stipulation, or during closing argument) will be sent to
the jury room. Exhibits admitted pursuant to the parties’ stipulation outside of the jury’s
hearing will not be made available to the jury unless they are later referenced in the jury’s
After the jury returns its verdict, be prepared to tell the Court if you want the
After the jury is dismissed, each counsel must take possession of his/her
exhibits from the courtroom deputy and sign the receipt at the bottom of the exhibit list.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
/s/ Ortrie D. Smith
ORTRIE D. SMITH, SENIOR JUDGE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DATE: October 17, 2011
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