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Bench Book

Judge Glen R. Dawson

Second District Court, Bountiful Division

Discovery

Q:What is your practice with respect to setting an initial case schedule? Modifying it once set?

A:Under the new discovery rules, I expect counsel to follow the guidelines depending on the tier of case involved. If either party requests a scheduling conference I will gladly set up a conference, which can usually be handled telephonically. I am always open to setting scheduling or status conferences at the request of the parties.

Q:Has your district adopted any local rules with respect to resolving discovery disputes?

A:Yes, but our local rule is now superseded by the statewide rule on expedited resolution of discovery issues. Rule 4-502 of the Rules of Judicial Administration.

Q:What is your practice regarding discovery disputes? How do you handle status and scheduling matters for discovery issues? 

A:I will follow the approach set out at Rule 4-502 of the Rules of Judicial Administration.

Q:What is your approach to granting extraordinary discovery?

A:I will follow the rules regarding requests for extraordinary discovery. These should be reserved for extraordinary situations and should not become routine.

Q:What is your practice regarding sanctions for discovery abuses?

A:I will handle each matter on a case by case basis.

Q:Are you generally available to hear disputes that arise during depositions?

A:Yes. Please call Bridget at (801) 397-7028. Of course, if I am in court Bridget is also in court.

Q:What insights do you have for litigants with respect to discovery matters in general, especially in light of the November 1, 2011 amendments to the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure?

A:Please comply in a timely manner and work together in good faith to provide full disclosure.

2. Motions

Q:Do you prefer that counsel provide copies of the cited authorities prior to a hearing? What about unpublished cases?

A:Please fully brief a matter before it is submitted for decision or oral argument. It is inefficient to have counsel cite a case for the first time at oral argument and this should only happen if the case was decided just prior to the argument. I generally will grant a continuance of a hearing if counsel requests time to analyze a case introduced for the first time at oral argument. I also appreciate receiving photocopies of the most important decisions referenced in your memoranda, especially decisions not found in the Utah Reporter. You are welcome to highlight the language in the decision that is pertinent.

Q:Do you appreciate courtesy copies of briefs being delivered to your chambers prior to a motion hearing? If so, how far in advance do you want them?

A:I will have read counsel’s memoranda prior to the hearing if submitted in a timely fashion. Oral argument is only meaningful to me if I have had a chance to read all briefs and cases prior to the oral argument. Submission of a supplemental brief the day before the hearing will cause me to want to reschedule oral argument. I appreciate counsel who provide courtesy copies of memoranda (both sides) prior to motion hearings. I generally attempt to begin my final review of briefs 10 business days prior to scheduled hearings.

Q:What is your policy on allowing overlength memoranda? Extensions of the briefing schedule?

A:Overlength memoranda are permitted when absolutely necessary. Extensions of time are also allowed when necessary. I ask counsel to accommodate each other’s reasonable requests.

Q:Do you schedule motion hearings automatically upon receipt of notices to submit, or do you prefer or require that counsel call to schedule hearings?

A:I set hearings only after I have had an opportunity to review the matter. Counsel do not need to call to schedule hearings since I will ask my clerk to coordinate a hearing date and time.

Q:Under what circumstances do you decline to grant a request for oral argument?

A:I generally grant requests for oral argument. However, if the motion is not dispositive and if I determine that oral argument will not be helpful, I may deny the request.

Q:Do you have any recommendations or preferences regarding written advocacy that you would like counsel to be aware of?

A:Please follow the requirements of Rule 7. Do not attack opposing counsel.

Q:Do you have any particular guidelines or preferences that you expect counsel to follow at oral argument?

A:I will always allow counsel to converse outside my presence if they wish to do so. During court proceedings please address arguments to the court and not to opposing counsel.

Q:Do you have any guidelines or preferences that you expect counsel to follow regarding temporary restraining orders or preliminary injunctions?

A:Follow Rule 65A carefully, particularly as to the type of notice given or certification as to why notice cannot or should not be given. Don’t use a TRO as a substitute for a motion for temporary orders in a divorce case. 

3. Final Pretrial Conference

Q:In your view, what is the purpose of the final pretrial conference?

A:To review the issues, witness and exhibits to avoid any surprises. I like to address any issues with regard to the admissibility of exhibits at the time of the final pretrial.

Q:What topics or issues should counsel come prepared to discuss at the final pretrial conference?

A:Be prepared to discuss the legal issues in depth. Be prepared to discuss any issues with regard to witnesses or any issues regarding the admissibility of exhibits.

Q:What steps do you take, if any, at a final pretrial conference to encourage settlement of the case?

A:I generally inquire as to efforts made by the parties to resolve the dispute and encourage the parties to continue to work together to resolve the matter. I will ask another judge to mediate the matter if that will be helpful.

Q:Do you require clients to be present at final pretrial conferences?

A:Yes.

Q:Do you typically hear motions in limine and other trial-related motions at the final pretrial conference, or at another time?

A:Yes, I will try to decide any motions in limine at the final pretrial conference if they have not been decided earlier. I ask counsel to bring such motions to the Court’s attention well in advance of the trial if possible.

Q:Do you appreciate or require pre-trial briefs from counsel?

A:I do appreciate pre-trial briefs that analyze complicated legal issues and set out the elements of disputed claims.

4. Jury Trials

Jury Selection:

Q:How is voir dire conducted in your courtroom? Do you allow counsel to participate in voir dire? If so, to what extent?

A:I conduct all voir dire in criminal cases with input from counsel. I do allow counsel to conduct voir dire in civil cases.

Q: When do you require requested voir dire questions to be submitted? 

A:In criminal cases they are due at the final pretrial conference. In civil cases I routinely set a date in advance of the trial for submission of voir dire.

Q:Do you allow or encourage the use of jury questionnaires? If so, by when must jury questionnaires be filed?

A:I have used jury questionnaires in certain cases when the form of questionnaire has been agreed or addressed well in advance of trial.

Jury Instructions:

Q:When do you require instructions to be submitted? 

A:In criminal cases they are to be filed one week in advance of the trial. In civil cases the Court will set the date for submission with encouragement to counsel to resolve, to the extent possible, any conflicts.

Q:Do you have a set of standard jury instructions that you use? If so, how can counsel obtain a copy?

A:Yes. Please contact the court clerk at (801) 397-7028.

Q:What form do you prefer requested instructions to take (e.g., do you prefer instructions accompanied by supporting cases, etc.)? Is a citation to MUJI 1st or 2nd sufficient legal authority? 

A:As to disputed instructions, it would be best to support your position with legal authority. Citations to MUJI are certainly among the citations that would be appropriate if the MUJI instructions are up to date on the issue.

Q:Do you prefer to receive an electronic copy of requested instructions?

A:Yes, in word format.

Q:When do you prefer to hear disputes over jury instructions:

A:I will set an instruction conference in advance of the trial.

Trial Procedure:

Q:What is your preferred trial schedule (e.g., 9 to 5 with an hour for lunch, 8 to 2
with no lunch, etc.)? Are there any set days/times when you schedule other
matters and not trial?

A:My trial days are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Our trials are scheduled to go from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. We generally take a short break in the morning and the afternoon along with a lunch break.

Q:Do you prefer to hear disputes over trial exhibits before trial or during:

A:I try to resolve all disputes with regard to the admissibility of exhibits at the final pretrial conference.

Q:What is your practice regarding the use of trial exhibits or demonstratives during
opening statements?

A:I would ask counsel to address these matters with the Court prior to the trial.

Q:What are your preferences with respect to trial exhibits? What are the
preferences of your clerks with respect to trial exhibits?

A:The original exhibits should be marked in advance of the trial and provided to the court clerk with an exhibit list. Counsel should provide enough copies for the witness, all counsel, and the court.

Q:Do you have any guidelines or preferences regarding the use of technology at
trial?

A:Be prepared. Counsel is responsible for ensuring the proper
equipment is in the courtroom.

Q:What are your preferences and/or procedures related to witness scheduling? 

A:I expect the lawyers to cooperate with each other and agree to reasonable accommodations regarding any need to take witnesses out of order, or other special arrangements regarding witness scheduling. On the other hand, I expect we will use trial time wisely and not waste it with unnecessary delays or dead time.

Q:Do you allow counsel to move freely around the courtroom during trial?

A:Yes as long as they can be heard on the record.

5. Bench Trials

Q:Do you have any particular guidelines or preferences that counsel should be aware of regarding bench trials as opposed to jury trials?

A:I appreciate counsel who provide the court with courtesy copies of all exhibits at bench trials. In this regard, please bear in mind that I will not look at a proposed exhibit until it has been introduced into evidence. Once an exhibit is introduced, it is always helpful to be able to follow along with the witness in reviewing the exhibit.

I generally will not set a trial date until the final pretrial conference.
Opening statements are helpful to focus the court on the position of each party. Please be as specific as possible.
Please be prepared. I generally rule from the bench following a bench trial. My job is made much easier if each party’s case is presented in an organized manner.

6. Post-trial Issues

Q:Do you appreciate or require proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law from counsel?

A:Only on a case by case basis as requested by the Court.

Q:Do you appreciate or require post-trial briefs from counsel?

A:Only when requested by the Court.

7. Technology in the Courtoom 

Q:To what extent do you allow the use of technology in your courtroom?

A:To the extent it will be helpful I will try to accommodate counsels’ request.

Q:Do you find the use of any particular type of computer-assisted presentations effective and/or useful?

A:No.

Q:Do you find the use of any particular type of computer-assisted presentations unhelpful?

A:No.

8. Criminal Matters

Q:How do you handle requests for continuance on pretrials, arraignments or roll calls?

A:We make reasonable accommodations. I expect communication between counsel and as much notice to my staff as possible so we can adjust our calendar. Stipulations should include a form of order that is approved as to form with a new date included in the order.

Q:When may the issue of bail best be addressed in your courtroom?

A:Upon reasonable notice to the other side.

Q:What is your policy, if any, on pleas in abeyance?

A:I will generally approve pleas in abeyance when the parties have agreed.

Q:What information do you want from counsel at the time of sentencing?

A:Any information that would be helpful including any corrections to the presentence report.

Q:Are private pre-sentence evaluations useful or encouraged?

A:I don’t see them very often. When I do see them, they can be useful if appropriately objective and well-reasoned. I do not encourage them, but I am not offended by them.

Q:Do you have any standard sentences the bar should be advised about, i.e., DUI sentencings, acceptance of alcohol-related recklessness?

A:No.

Q:How should counsel on busy law and motion calendar handle calling a case?

A:Counsel are directed to let the bailiff know when their case is ready to be called.

Q:What advice do you have for prosecutors to be most effective in your courtroom?

A:Be prepared.

Q:What advice do you have for defense counsel to be most effective in your courtroom? 

A:Be prepared.

9. Special Issues for Domestic Cases

Q:Are there any special issues that arise in your courtroom in domestic cases of which you would like the bar to be aware?

A:Preparation is vital in presenting domestic cases.

Q:What documents do you want filed before appearing on a motion for temporary orders?

A:In the Second District, motions for temporary orders are presented to the Commissioners in the first instance. Please check with your assigned Commissioner.

Q:What documents do you want filed before appearing on a motion for a custody evaluator?

A:Please check with your assigned Commissioner.

Q:What are the special procedures for failing a Motion for an Order to Show Cause?

A:Please check with your assigned Commissioner.

Q:Do you have any preferences for compelling and filing financial declarations? Any practice pointers for counsel as to how you would like these completed or filed?

A:Follow the rules; submit them in a timely fashion; update them before trial.

Q:Do you want any type of motion binder delivered? Is this helpful, or does e-filing render these obsolete?

A:I do not need a motion binder on domestic cases.

Q:Do you appreciate courtesy copies of briefs being delivered to your chambers prior to a motion hearing? If so, how far in advance do you want them, and how do you want them assembled (folder, binders, with or without exhibit tabs, etc.)

A:I generally do not need them on domestic case thanks to e-filing.

Q:Is there a special way that you would like proposed orders to be filed?

A:Follow the rules regarding circulation to opposing counsel. Whenever possible, have them approved as to form; it will significantly speed up the review process. If you are not the counsel preparing the proposed order, be proactive in the review process and be willing to take the time to approve as to form when you can (which should be most of the time).

Q:How should discovery deadlines be handled on petitions to modify, where a schedule is not automatically issued by the court?

A:By agreement of counsel and, if necessary, a scheduling conference with the Commissioner.

Q:Do you have a policy on child interviews with respect to custody?

A:I generally allow child interviews when there is a stipulation by counsel. 

10. Courtroom Protocol

Q:Is lack of civility ever a problem in your courtroom? If so, what steps do you take to address it? 

A:Yes, but not often. I will generally let counsel know when I believe behavior is inappropriate.

Q:What are your opinions regarding courtroom dress?

A:Appropriate business attire.

Q:Do you allow children in your courtroom?

A:Yes.

Q:What is your courtroom practice with respect to attorney cell phones? Clients? Those in the gallery?

A:Please turn them off upon entering the courtroom to avoid distractions.

Q:What, if anything, do you do to enforce promptness in your courtroom?

A:Please be prompt for all hearings. I will always endeavor to start hearings on time. If you are going to be delayed for some reason please call my clerk so that we can be informed.

11. Comments from Case Managers and Judicial Assistants

Q:The name and phone number of my case manager(s) is:

A:Lana Swanson – 801-397-7037

Q:My case manager wants you to please do these things:

A:Be courteous and respectful; follow the rules regarding timeliness and format of pleadings; don’t let cases languish; be proactive in seeking scheduling or status conferences.

Q:The name and phone number of my judicial assistant(s) is:

A:Bridget Goodman – (801) 397-7028

Q:My judicial assistant wants you to please do these things:

A:The judicial assistant that I work with (the clerk responsible to return phone calls related to the court’s schedule) is also the clerk that is with me in court during most hearings and all trials. This clerk works very hard to return phone calls promptly but is unable to call during the time we are in session. Please be patient and we will attempt to return all calls as promptly as possible. Please treat all clerks with respect. Please be prepared to mark exhibits in advance.

12: Other items

Q:Do you have a judicial biography that you would like hyperlinked to your bench book? If so, please advise us of the link to this information or provide us with a copy of the same so we may link it to your bench book. 

A:http://www.utcourts.gov/judgesbios/showGallery.asp?dist=2&ct_type=D

Q:Do you have any stock jury instructions, verdict forms, or other information you would like hyperlinked to your bench book? If so please advise us to the link to this information or provide us with copies of the same so we may link it to your bench book.

A:No.

Biographies of 2nd District Judges