T. Kent Wetherell II
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:
Northern District of Florida
Location of Chambers:
Email address (only for proposed orders or jury instructions):
Law Clerk phone number(s), only if you permit law clerk(s) to receive calls:
See "Comments" below for info
Communication with Chambers
Case Nos. 0-2 (Patrick Hagen, 850-470-8104); Case Nos. 3-6 (Alan LaCerra, 850-470-8106); Case Nos. 7-9 (Shannon Morris, 850-470-8105) (Patrick Hagan, Case #0-2);
In addition to Local Rules or CM/ECF procedures applicable in the District:
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?
Email, but only when a proposed order is requested.
Should proposed orders be submitted in a format which can be edited, or is a PDF version acceptable?
Pretrial Procedure (Criminal)
Do you conduct suppression hearings or do you refer them to a Magistrate Judge?
I conduct supression hearings
Do you take the plea or do you regularly refer plea hearings to a Magistrate Judge?
Refer to 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?
Scheduling conflict with magistrate judge
If YES, when is that deadline?
5 business days before trial date
What is your policy concerning nolo contendere or Alford pleas?
Not permitted in NDFL.
Do you have any special procedures regarding plea agreements for individuals who are cooperating with the government, e.g., sealed plea agreements, etc.?
Sealed supplement to plea agreement is filed in every case indicating whether Defendant is cooperating.
What is your policy as to plea agreements that involve sentencing recommendations?
Not permitted in NDFL
Pretrial Procedure (Civil)
Under what circumstances do you allow telephonic hearings?
Out of town counsel; non-evidentiary; relatively short (30 min or less); non-complex issues.
What is your practice concerning oral arguments on referred dispositive motions?
Typically rule on the papers unless I feel that OA would be helpful.
If YES, how far in advance should they be filed?
14 days before pre-trial conference; responses 7 days later.
Rarely will this be necessary, however.
What is your preference regarding the use of alternative dispute resolution methods such as arbitration or mediation?
Mediation required in all cases, typically at or near end of discovery. Settlement conference often with magistrate judge (or additional mediation) may also be required after dispositive motions ruled on a case is set for trial.
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?
Trial typically set after dispostive motions ruled on. Date-certain provided at that point.
What, if any, procedural requirements do you have regarding the use of videotapes, trial graphics, depositions, and demonstrations?
Coordinate with courtroom deputy clerk.
If you require trial briefs, when are they due?
Pretrial conference, typically 2 weeks before trial date.
If NO, can counsel submit proposed voir dire questions?
If YES, when should such questions be submitted?
Deadline established a pre-trial conference.
If YES, what are the time limits?
Varies by case, but typically less than 30 min.
What, if any, procedures do you have concerning objections at trial?
No speaking objections.
When do you require counsel to file proposed jury instructions?
With pretrial stipulation.
If NO, may parties file a sentencing memo?
If counsel anticipates a contested or extensive sentencing hearing, should counsel notify the court?
Notify courtroom deputy clerk.
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 conduct VOSR hearings