The Florida Bar

Judicial Practice Survey

Lurana S Snow

Magistrate 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.


Name of Court:

Southern District of Florida

Location of Chambers:

U.S. District Court 299 E. Broward Blvd., Room 204 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

Assigned Courtroom:



(954) 769-5460

Chambers Staff

Judicial Assistant/Secretary:

Judy Zanotti

Courtroom Deputy:

Debbie Donovan


(954) 769-5407

Docket Clerk:

Assigned to district judges.

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?


Pretrial Detention/Pretrial Procedure (Criminal)

At bond hearings, do you permit the government to proceed by proffer or do you require a government agent to be present to testify?


If a proffer is permitted, can the defendant’s counsel call the government case agent and cross-examine him/her?


If a proffer is permitted, do you prefer that defense counsel present the family of the defendant as witnesses by proffer instead of calling individual witnesses?


What is your policy concerning nolo contendere or Alford pleas?

I will accept them if the Government does not object.

What is your policy as to plea agreements that involve sentencing recommendations?

Both are acceptable.

Pretrial Procedure (Civil)

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


Do you have any requirements, beyond those found in the Federal Rules and the Local Rules, as to ex parte temporary restraining orders?

As provided in the federal rules.

Should copies of published 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?


Will you entertain motions in limine prior to trial?


If YES, how far in advance should they be filed?

According to scheduling order.


Do you receive referrals on discovery matters from a District 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?



What is your preference regarding the use of alternative dispute resolution methods such as arbitration or mediation?

The Local Rules require mediation; I do not use non-binding methods unless the parties request them.


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


If YES, under what circumstances will you grant trial dates certain?


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?

Permitted as allowed by the Federal Rules.

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?

Counsel should focus on eliciting information on bias/prejudice, not try the case. No references to penalty.

If NO, can counsel submit proposed voir dire questions?


If YES, when should such questions be submitted?

One day prior to trial.

What are your peremptory challenge procedures?

Entire panel questioned on voir dire. Challenges exercised at the bench.

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


If YES, what are the time limits?

No, but time decided before opening based on counsel's request.

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, but sidebars also are discouraged.

When do you require counsel to file proposed jury instructions?

Always, and at least one day before case goes to the jury.

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?

At the conclusion of the trial.

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


General Advice

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"?

Arguing after the Court has ruled, lack of preparation, discourtesy to lawyers and/or witnesses.

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

Always refer to the Local Rules for practice in the Southern District of Florida, and do not file pleadings if not a member of the federal bar in this District.

Revised: 07-25-2019