James I Cohn
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.
Name of Court:
Southern District of Florida
Location of Chambers:
299 East Broward Blvd. Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301
Contact Courtroom Deputy for all scheduling in criminal matters. Contact the appropriate Law Clerks for civil matters.
Communication with Chambers
Do you permit contact with chambers regarding questions of procedure?
Do you permit contact with chambers regarding the status of pending matters?
May counsel contact chambers to speak with your law clerks(s) on procedural matters?
May counsel contact chambers to speak with your law clerks(s) on the status of pending matters?
Use of Cell Phones, Laptops, and Other Electronics in Court
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?
Cell phones must be powered off while Court is in session.
Is there a designated court staff person to contact relating to the use of electronic media or other audiovisual needs?
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)?
Yes, file a motion to strike the document from the record and, if appropriate, refile a redacted version of the document.
Do you have a preferred method governing the filing of sealed documents?
No, follow the procedures set forth in Local Rule 5.4.
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?
Do you prefer that (non-trial) exhibits and depositions be filed conventionally as well as on CM/ECF?
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?
Attach proposed orders to documents filed in CM/ECF and e-mail the orders to [email protected]
Should proposed orders be submitted in a format which can be edited, or is a PDF version acceptable?
A word processing format is preferred, especially for longer orders. But for shorter, routine orders, a PDF version is acceptable.
Pretrial Procedure (Criminal)
Do you conduct preliminary pretrial conferences in criminal cases?
If YES, what matters do you typically discuss during a preliminary pretrial conference?
Conduct of the trial, scheduling, outstanding pretrial motions.
Do you conduct hearings on pretrial motions to dismiss or to sever?
What is your policy concerning nolo contendere or Alford pleas?
What is your policy as to plea agreements that involve sentencing recommendations?
Pretrial Procedure (Civil)
Do you conduct preliminary pretrial hearings, e.g., pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 16?
If YES, what matters do you typically discuss during preliminary pretrial hearings?
Motions in limine, use of deposition, scheduling witnesses.
Do you have any requirements, beyond those found in the Federal Rules and the Local Rules, as to ex parte temporary restraining orders?
Notice is preferred if possible. Rule 65(b) will govern.
Do you hear preliminary injunction motions?
Should copies of published cases cited in motions and memoranda be forwarded to chambers?
Should copies of unpublished cases cited in motions and memoranda be forwarded to chambers?
If copies of cases are submitted, do you accept copies that have portions highlighted by counsel?
Do you regularly set aside time during a given week/month for hearings on motions?
Under what circumstances do you allow telephonic hearings?
What is your practice concerning oral arguments on referred dispositive motions?
Granted when additional input needed due to complexity and/or novelty.
Will you entertain motions in limine prior to trial?
If YES, how far in advance should they be filed?
Two weeks prior to calendar call.
Do you routinely refer discovery matters to a Magistrate Judge?
When a dispute arises during a deposition, is it appropriate to call your chambers (if the case has been referred for discovery) to seek an immediate ruling?
Do you grant specially set trial dates (dates certain)?
If YES, under what circumstances will you grant trial dates certain?
If the case has particular logistical problems, lengthy or involves many attorneys.
Do you conduct Daubert hearings prior to trial?
What, if any, procedural requirements do you have regarding the use of videotapes, trial graphics, depositions, and demonstrations?
Videotapes and depositions should be edited. If not agreed upon, objections should be filed prior to calendar call.
Do you require trial briefs in jury trials?
Do you require trial briefs in bench trials?
Do you permit counsel to perform voir dire?
If YES, what guidelines or restrictions must counsel follow when conducting voir dire?
Generally, ten (10) minutes per side. Could be longer depending on the nature of the case.
If NO, can counsel submit proposed voir dire questions?
If YES, when should such questions be submitted?
What are your peremptory challenge procedures?
Voir dire entire venire; alternating strikes.
In multiple party cases, do you grant each party three peremptory challenges?
If NO, do you limit each side (i.e., plaintiff/defense) to a total of three peremptory challenges to be shared?
Do you allow back striking during jury selection?
Do you impose any standard time limits on counsel's opening statements?
Can exhibits be used in opening statements?
Do you permit jurors to take notes?
Do you permit jurors to ask questions?
What, if any, procedures do you have concerning objections at trial?
No speaking objections; side-bar conferences should be minimized.
When do you require counsel to file proposed jury instructions?
One week prior to trial.
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?
If YES, when do you require the proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to be filed?
One week prior to trial.
Do you require sentencing memos from the parties?
If NO, may parties file a sentencing memo?
If counsel anticipates a contested or extensive sentencing hearing, should counsel notify the court?
Yes, no later than 2 weeks prior to sentencing.
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?
I personally conduct hearing.
Parties may file a sentencing memo, but no later than 3 days prior to sentencing.
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"?
Don't ask court stenographer to read back; instead, ask the Judge.