The Florida Bar

Judicial Practice Survey

Thomas G Wilson

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:

Middle District of Florida

Location of Chambers:

12th Floor, Sam Gibbons Federal Courthouse

Assigned Courtroom:



(813) 301-5588

Chambers Staff

Judicial Assistant/Secretary:

Carrie Williams


(813) 301-5588

Courtroom Deputy:

Carrie Williams


(813) 301-5594

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?

By proffer

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 accept nolo contendere, but not Alford pleas in felony cases.

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?

Those matters raised in the case management report.

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?


Do you hear preliminary injunction motions?


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?


Under what circumstances do you allow telephonic hearings?

Only in exceptional circumstances.

What is your practice concerning oral arguments on referred dispositive motions?

It is my practice to have oral argument on dispositive motions.

Will you entertain motions in limine prior to trial?


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

Reasonably before the typical Friday afternoon filing.


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?

I tend to be guided by the lawyers.


Do you automatically set consent cases for trial or do you wait for counsel to propose a time period in which a case should be scheduled for trial?

We contact counsel and the parties agree on a mutually convenient date that is available on my calendar.

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


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

I grant a date certain in all consent cases.

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?

The main restriction is that the presentation may not get closer to the jury box than the mid-point of the courtroom.

Do you require trial briefs in jury trials?


If you require trial briefs, when are they due?

Typically, I require briefs or proposed findings either before, or after, trial depending on the circumstances.

Do you permit counsel to perform voir dire?


If YES, what guidelines or restrictions must counsel follow when conducting voir dire?

For a limited period.; Counsel may not instruct on the law and may not ask questions which are intended simply to condition, or influence, the jury.

If NO, can counsel submit proposed voir dire questions?


If YES, when should such questions be submitted?

Thursday before trial.

What are your peremptory challenge procedures?

Typically, four challenges per side and backstriking permitted.

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?

See 4(c).

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


If YES, what are the time limits?

It depends on the circumstances of each case.

Do you permit jurors to take notes?


What, if any, procedures do you have concerning objections at trial?

Set out in the local rules.

When do you require counsel to file proposed jury instructions?

No later than the morning of trial.

When standard jury instructions are available, do you prefer that attorneys submit condensed versions of the standard instructions?


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"?

Being asked about "pet peeves."

Revised: 07-12-2019