Roy Bale Dalton Jr.
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:
Middle District of Florida
Location of Chambers:
George C. Young United States Courthouse, 401 West Central Blvd., Orlando, Fl 32801
Email address (only for proposed orders or jury instructions):
Law Clerk phone number(s), only if you permit law clerk(s) to receive calls:
Communication with Chambers
All phone contact with Chambers should be directed to the Courtroom Deputy
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 are not allowed in the courtroom at any time. Permission to bring in other electronic equipment should be requested by filing a motion.
Is there a designated court staff person to contact relating to the use of electronic media or other audiovisual needs?
Landon Countryman (407) 835-4211
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)?
Do you have a preferred method governing the filing of sealed documents?
Follow Local Rule 1.09
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?
I do not require proposed orders. If I want one, I will request it.
Should proposed orders be submitted in a format which can be edited, or is a PDF version acceptable?
Pretrial Procedure (Criminal)
If YES, what matters do you typically discuss during a preliminary pretrial conference?
Plea vs trial, evidentiary issues that may require separate trials, severance etc., length of case, logistical problems, voir dire procedure,
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 in most cases
Do you take the plea or do you regularly refer plea hearings to a Magistrate Judge?
While I prefer to take my own pleas, the current caseload requires referral 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?
On request, schedule permitting
If YES, when is that deadline?
7 days after the status conference. Criminal Status conferences are held the third Thursday of each month
What is your policy concerning nolo contendere or Alford pleas?
They are disfavored
Do you have any special procedures regarding plea agreements for individuals who are cooperating with the government, e.g., sealed plea agreements, etc.?
I permit portions of plea agreements to be sealed. I also seal portions of the plea colloquy or sentencing hearing detailing a defendant's cooperation
What is your policy as to plea agreements that involve sentencing recommendations?
Sentencing is the responsibility of the District Judge. Agreements between the parties are not binding on me and I will reject a plea agreement reached under Fed. R. Crim. P, 11(c)(1)(C) and permit withdrawal of the plea unless it is consistent with my view of an appropriate sentence
Pretrial Procedure (Civil)
If YES, what matters do you typically discuss during preliminary pretrial hearings?
I hold a PPTC only if the parties are not able to agree on the items covered in the Case Management Report or if the dates supplied are not realistic
If YES, what do you require?
Counsel should read the Case Management Scheduling Order. Dates may not be adjusted by agreement of counsel, only upon a showing of good cause by motion to the Court. Failure to undertake discovery in a timely way is not good cause for an extension.
Do you have any requirements, beyond those found in the Federal Rules and the Local Rules, as to ex parte temporary restraining orders?
Follow Fed. R. Civ. P. 65 and Local Rule 4.05. I will generally converet to preliminary injunction and order expedited briefing if TRO is not granted.
If YES, when is your normal hearing date/time?
Under what circumstances do you allow telephonic hearings?
What is your practice concerning oral arguments on referred dispositive motions?
If I feel input from counsel would be helpful, I schedule a hearing
If YES, how far in advance should they be filed?
As specified in the Case Management Scheduling Order
Reading the Case Management Scheduling Order with care will be very helpful to practitioners
If YES, what types of cases and what are the deadlines or procedures?
FLSA, ADA and ERISA cases have special scheduling orders
Calls should be directed to the assigned Magistrate Judge based on his/her preferences
What is your preference regarding the use of alternative dispute resolution methods such as arbitration or mediation?
Mediation is required. If useful, the Magistrate Judges are available to mediate later if private mediation fails
Do you have a procedure for counsel to request referral to a Magistrate Judge for settlement conferences?
If YES, under what circumstances will you grant trial dates certain?
Schedule permitting and the status of criminal cases set during the trial term
If NO, what is your policy regarding notice for trial during a trial docket (e.g., will you give at least 48 hours' notice)?
Yes, 48 hours
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?
They are automatically rolled to the next docket
What, if any, procedural requirements do you have regarding the use of videotapes, trial graphics, depositions, and demonstrations?
Come in prior to the hearing to meet wth the CRD to be sure it's compatible and will be able to play.
If you require trial briefs, when are they due?
As ordered in the Case Management Scheduling Order
Do you have any requirements for trial briefs?
If YES, what guidelines or restrictions must counsel follow when conducting voir dire?
As a rule, the Court conducts voir dire. I occasionally make exceptions
If NO, can counsel submit proposed voir dire questions?
If YES, when should such questions be submitted?
As ordered in the Case Management Scheduling Order or the Trial Order
What are your peremptory challenge procedures?
See my webpage
If NO, do you limit each side (i.e., plaintiff/defense) to a total of three peremptory challenges to be shared?
If YES, what are the time limits?
What, if any, procedures do you have concerning objections at trial?
See Local Rule 5.03, no speaking objections
When do you require counsel to file proposed jury instructions?
per the trial order and Case Mnagement Scheduling Order
When standard jury instructions are available, do you prefer that attorneys submit condensed versions of the standard instructions?
If YES, when do you require the proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to be filed?
If YES, what is the deadline for filing a sentencing memo?
7 days prior
If counsel anticipates a contested or extensive sentencing hearing, should counsel notify the court?
Yes. If the hearing is expected to exceed 45 minutes my CRD must be notified well in advance
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?
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"?
Have a grasp of basic trial practice. Know how to ask a direct question - especially- don't lead on re-direct, know how to conduct proper impeachment, be familiar with the rules of evidence
Do you have any other practice pointers, advice, observations, or suggestions for members of the Bar appearing before you?
Remember that the rules and court orders are not suggestions. Order and formality are what make Federal District Court a great place to be a trial lawyer.
Links to your court's webpage with information about your practices or other links you recommend for practitioners: