James Shelton Moody 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:
801 North Florida Avenue
Email address (only for proposed orders or jury instructions):
Docket clerks are assigned according to case number.
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?
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 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.
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?
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?
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?
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?
Do you have a regular plea deadline?
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.
What is your policy concerning nolo contendere or Alford pleas?
Generally not accepted.
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.
Pretrial Procedure (Civil)
Do you issue a standard pretrial order?
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?
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?
Other than as required by Local Rules, do you prefer that the moving parties submit proposed orders along with non-dispositive motions?
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 hear preliminary injunction motions?
If YES, do you permit evidence to be introduced?
If NO, do you routinely refer preliminary injunctions for report and recommendation by a Magistrate Judge?
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?
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 referred 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?
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.)?
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?
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?
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 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?
Do you grant specially set trial dates (dates certain)?
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?
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?
Encourage use of DEPS system. Contact Sara Boswell, Courtroom Deputy Clerk, prior to hearings or trials.
Do you require trial briefs in jury trials?
Do you require trial briefs in bench trials?
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?
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?
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?
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?
If YES, what are the time limits?
I establish time limits after discussion with counsel.
Can exhibits be used in opening statements?
Do you allow plaintiffs to make a rebuttal during opening statements?
Do you permit jurors to take notes?
Do you permit jurors to ask questions?
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?
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?
Five (5) days prior to trial.
Should the proposed findings and conclusions also be submitted to chambers electronically?
They should be submitted in Word Perfect format to Chambers at: [email protected]
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, counsel should promptly contact Chambers if a sentencing is anticipated to take more than 30 minutes.
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.