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Judicial Practice Survey

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James Shelton Moody Jr.

District Judge

The following information was provided in response to a survey prepared by the Federal Court Practice Committee of The Florida Bar. This information is not binding on any judge or court official and may not be relied upon for precedential purposes. Further information may be found in the attachments (sample orders, etc.) referenced at the end of this Guide entry or on the court's website noted below.


Court: Middle District of Florida

Location of chambers: 801 North Florida Avenue

Assigned courtroom: #13A

Phone: 813-301-5680

Email address (only for proposed orders or jury instructions): [email protected]



Judicial Assistant/Secretary: Leslie Norberg

Phone: 813-301-5680

Email address: [email protected]

Courtroom Deputy: Sara Boswell

Phone: 813-301-5697

Email address: [email protected]

Court Reporter: Sherrill Jackson

Phone: 813-301-5041

Email address: [email protected]

Docket Clerk: Docket clerks are assigned according to case number.

Phone: Varies

Email address:

Law Clerk phone number(s), only if you permit law clerk(s) to receive calls:

Communication with chambers:

Do you permit contact with chambers

      regarding questions of procedure? Yes

      regarding the status of pending matters? Yes

May counsel contact chambers to speak with your law clerks(s)

      on procedural matters? Yes

      on the status of pending matters? Yes



Other than procedures adopted by the U.S. Marshal's Service relating to access to a federal courthouse, do you have any additional procedures to be followed for the use of cell phones, laptops, or other electronics? Motion needs to cite with specificity the names and models of electronics.

Is there a designated court staff person to contact relating to the use of electronic media or other audiovisual needs? Contact Sara Boswell, Courtroom Deputy Clerk, for courtroom technology information.

*Always verify with the Clerk of Court or the U.S. Marshal's Service as to any procedures relating to the use of cell phones or other electronic devices at the courthouse.


(in addition to Local Rules or CM/ECF procedures applicable in the District)

Do you have a preferred method for counsel to correct an electronically filed document that inadvertently contains personal information (as prohibited by Fed.R.Civ.P. 5.2)? Contact docket clerk in Clerk's office for assistance.

Do you have a preferred method governing the filing of sealed documents? Follow Clerk's Office procedure.

Do you prefer that (non-trial) exhibits be filed as separate docket entries (instead of filing them as attachments to the document they support)?

When filing documents with multiple attachments, do you prefer that the document be filed such that it is displayed with bookmarks within the PDF image? (This question only applies if such filing is available as a format for filing attachments in your District.)

Do you prefer that (non-trial) exhibits and depositions be filed conventionally as well as on CM/ECF?

      If YES, do you require more than one copy to be filed?

Do you prefer to have proposed orders (other than those required to be filed in the case) submitted as an attachment to documents filed in CM/ECF, or do you prefer to receive them by email or another method? E-mail proposed Orders, in Word Perfect format, to Chambers e-mail account: [email protected]

Should proposed orders be submitted in a format which can be edited, or is a PDF version acceptable? Please submit in Word Perfect format.



Do you conduct preliminary pretrial conferences in criminal cases? Yes

      If YES, what matters do you typically discuss during a preliminary pretrial conference? What problems exist in getting the case ready for trial, length of trial and scheduling problems.

Do you require the defendant to be present at status conferences? No

      If YES, do you have the same policy for defendants in custody and for defendants on bond?

Do you conduct suppression hearings or do you refer them to a Magistrate Judge? I conduct suppression hearings.

Do you conduct hearings on pretrial motions to dismiss or to sever? Yes

Do you take the plea or do you regularly refer plea hearings to a Magistrate Judge? I refer plea hearings to the Magistrate Judge.

If you regularly refer plea hearings to a Magistrate Judge, what circumstances would permit the parties to have a plea hearing before you? None.

Do you have a regular plea deadline? Yes

      If YES, when is that deadline? Written plea agreements must be filed by 4:00 p.m. on the Wednesday before the start of trial. All guilty pleas must be ACCEPTED by the Magistrate Judge before 12:00 p.m. the Friday before the start of trial.

      If NO, is a plea deadline set at pretrial conferences?

What is your policy concerning nolo contendere or Alford pleas? Generally not accepted.

Do you have any special procedures regarding plea agreements for individuals who are cooperating with the government, e.g., sealed plea agreements, etc.?

What is your policy as to plea agreements that involve sentencing recommendations? I consider them a joint recommendation, but will not be bound by them.



Do you issue a standard pretrial order? (Please attach a copy at the end of this survey.) No

Do you conduct preliminary pretrial hearings, e.g., pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 16? Yes

      If YES, what matters do you typically discuss during preliminary pretrial hearings? All matters which may affect the trial, including length of trial, settlement possibilities and calendar conflicts.

Do you have any requirements, beyond those found in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Rules, as to motions for extension of time or motions for continuance? No

      If YES, what do you require?

Other than as required by Local Rules, do you prefer that the moving parties submit proposed orders along with non-dispositive motions? No

Do you have any requirements, beyond those found in the Federal Rules and the Local Rules, as to ex parte temporary restraining orders? Notify my office that it is pending.

Do you generally hear preliminary injunction motions? Yes

      If YES, do you permit evidence to be introduced? Yes

      If NO, do you routinely refer preliminary injunctions for report and recommendation by a Magistrate Judge? No

Should copies of cases cited in motions and memoranda be forwarded to chambers?

      copies of published cases? No

      copies of unpublished opinions? Yes

If copies of cases are submitted, do you accept copies that have portions highlighted by counsel? Yes

Do you regularly set aside time during a given week/month for hearings on motions? Yes

      If YES, when is your normal hearing date/time? If required, motion hearings are held Mondays through Thursdays, at times that are available on the Judge's calendar.

Under what circumstances do you allow telephonic hearings? Telephonic hearings are allowed if it is a brief hearing and/or the counsel's office is more than 50 miles from the courthouse. Only one party will be allowed to appear telephonically. Note: Due to on-going equipment problems, hearing quality is often poor.

What is your practice concerning oral arguments on dispositive motions? They are allowed. If parties request to be heard, the Court will generally schedule hearing time for no more than 30 minutes.

Will you entertain motions in limine prior to trial? Yes

      If YES, how far in advance should they be filed? At least 3 weeks.



Other than those discovery schedules contained in Local Rules, do you have special discovery deadlines or procedures for certain types of cases (ERISA, FLSA, etc.)? Yes

      If YES, what types of cases and what are the deadlines or procedures? See attached FLSA and ADA Scheduling Orders.

Do you routinely refer discovery matters to a Magistrate Judge? Yes

When a dispute arises during a deposition, is it appropriate to call your chambers or the Magistrate Judge's chambers (depending on whether the case has been referred for discovery) to seek an immediate ruling?



What is your preference regarding the use of alternative dispute resolution methods such as arbitration or mediation? Almost all civil cases are referred to mediation prior to trial.

Do you require counsel to submit a proposed order referring the case to mediation? No

Do you have a procedure for counsel to request referral to a Magistrate Judge for settlement conferences? No, but an appropriate motion can be submitted for consideration.

Do you have any special procedures for the settlement of FLSA cases?



Do you automatically set civil cases for trial or do you wait for counsel to propose a time period in which a case should be scheduled for trial? Counsel proposes

Do you grant specially set trial dates (dates certain)? Yes

      If YES, under what circumstances will you grant trial dates certain? Yes, on a limited basis, if both parties are out-of-state or many witnesses are out-of-state.

      IF NO, what is your policy regarding notice for trial during a trial docket (e.g., will you give at least 48 hours' notice)? A minimum of 24 hours. We attempt to give as much notice as possible.

What is your practice or procedure regarding rescheduling trials that are not reached on a trial docket, e.g., will the trial date be automatically rescheduled on your next trial docket? Trial will automatically be rescheduled for the next trial term. Almost all cases are reached during the specified trial term.

Do you conduct pretrial conferences? Yes

      If YES, and you have a standing order regarding pretrial conferences, please attach a copy at the end of this survey.

Do you conduct Daubert hearings prior to trial? Yes

What, if any, procedural requirements do you have regarding the use of videotapes, trial graphics, depositions, and demonstrations? Encourage use of DEPS system. Contact Sara Boswell, Courtroom Deputy Clerk, prior to hearings or trials.

Do you require trial briefs

      in jury trials? No

      in bench trials? Yes

If you require trial briefs, when are they due? Three (3) days prior to trial.

Do you have any requirements for trial briefs? That it be brief.

Do you permit counsel to perform voir dire? Yes

      If YES, what guidelines or restrictions must counsel follow when conducting voir dire? Time limit is discussed with attorneys.

      If NO, can counsel submit proposed voir dire questions? Yes

            If YES, when should such questions be submitted? Prior to jury selection.

What are your peremptory challenge procedures? Exercise challenges against number of jurors and alternates needed (example: a civil jury usually 6 jurors plus 2 alternate jurors) with backstriking allowed prior to acceptance.

In multiple party cases, do you grant each party three peremptory challenges? No

      If NO, do you limit each side (i.e., plaintiff/defense) to a total of three peremptory challenges to be shared? Generally

Do you allow back striking during jury selection? Yes

Do you impose any standard time limits on counsel's opening statements? Yes

      If YES, what are the time limits? I establish time limits after discussion with counsel.

Can exhibits be used in opening statements? Yes

Do you allow plaintiffs to make a rebuttal during opening statements? No

Do you permit jurors to

      take notes? Yes

      ask questions? Yes

      If YES, under what constraints and restrictions? Questions in writing and submitted to judge.

What, if any, procedures do you have concerning objections at trial? Stand, state objection and legal grounds only. Do not argue your objection from counsel table.

When do you require counsel to file proposed jury instructions? Five (5) days before trial, in Word Perfect format.

Should jury instructions also be submitted to chambers electronically? Yes

When standard jury instructions are available, do you prefer that attorneys submit condensed versions of the standard instructions?

Do you require proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to be filed in bench trials? No

      If YES, when do you require the proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to be filed? Five (5) days prior to trial.

      Should the proposed findings and conclusions also be submitted to chambers electronically? Yes

Comments: They should be submitted in Word Perfect format to Chambers at: [email protected]


Do you require sentencing memos from the parties? No

      If YES, what is the deadline for filing a sentencing memo?

      If NO, may parties file a sentencing memo? Yes

If counsel anticipates a contested or extensive sentencing hearing, should counsel notify the court? Yes, counsel should promptly contact Chambers if a sentencing is anticipated to take more than 30 minutes.

If you are considering an upward departure under the United States Sentencing Guidelines, do you provide notice orally or in writing?

In a proceeding for a violation of supervised release conditions, do you personally conduct the admissions/findings of fact hearing or do you refer this to a Magistrate Judge? Referred to Magistrate Judge.



What should lawyers avoid at all costs when appearing before you (other than the obvious: don't be late, do be courteous, etc.), i.e., do you have any “pet peeves”? No speaking objections. One or two word legal objections only.

Do you have any other practice pointers, advice, observations, or suggestions for members of the Bar appearing before you?

Keep arguments brief.


Links to your court's webpage with information about your practices or other links you recommend for practitioners:


Sample orders (please include a sample of any scheduling orders), biography, etc.

FLSA Scheduling Order.pdf
Marking Exhibits.pdf
Monthly Trial Calendar.pdf
ADA Scheduling Order.pdf
Case Management Scheduling Order.pdf

[Revised: 06-30-2010]