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Judge Turk Civil and Criminal Practices and Procedures

  1. Commencement of Action and General Procedures
    1. Initial Status Conference
      The judge holds an initial status conference at the convenience of the attorneys. At this conference, he discusses the basis of the complaint, discovery, and pretrial motions. The judge sometimes conducts this conference over the telephone.
    2. Initial Scheduling Order - Civil Cases
      Following the conference, Judge Turk issues his initial scheduling order. Sometimes, he asks the attorneys to prepare the scheduling order for his signature. This order varies from case to case. The judge has no standard discovery time limits.
    3. Policy Concerning Contacts with Judge and Clerks
      If counsel should need to contact the Court regarding civil cases pending, they should call the judge's judicial assistant. For questions regarding pending criminal cases, attorneys should call the Clerk's Office.
  2. Pretrial Procedures - Civil
    1. Motion Practice
      The judge does not have designated days and times for motion practice. He handles emergency and uncontested motions on a case by case basis. The judge hears oral argument of motions at counsel's request. He has no limitation or form requirements for memoranda of law.
    2. Settlement
      Judge Turk encourages settlement. He sometimes requires clients to appear at settlement conferences. He does not require the parties to certify their settlement efforts. He sometimes refers settlement matters to a magistrate judge.
    3. Discovery Motions
      Judge Turk does not place limits on the numbers of interrogatories or depositions that may be taken. He does not require parties to hold pre-motion conferences in order to resolve disputes. He may refer such disputes to a magistrate judge.
    4. Pretrial Conference/Pretrial Orders
      Judge Turk has no standard pretrial order form, nor does he have standard requirements in such orders.
  3. Pretrial Procedures - Criminal
    1. Bail Procedures
      A magistrate judge determines bail. Either party may appeal the magistrate judge's determination to Judge Turk.
    2. Discovery Procedures
      Judge Turk usually requires that Jencks Act material be disclosed 10 days prior to trial.
    3. Pleas
      Pleas should be both written and oral. Judge Turk considers nolo contendere and Alford pleas on an individual case basis. He usually accepts plea agreements that involve sentencing recommendations.
  4. Trial
    1. Trial date - Criminal Cases
      Typically, the judge provides notice of trial when arraignments are held. Judge Turk grants continuances for good reason. The daily trial schedule is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    2. Trial Briefs
      Judge Turk does not require counsel to submit trial briefs.
    3. Voir Dire
      Judge Turk conducts voir dire. He allows attorneys to ask additional questions. In jury selection, the judge usually seats the entire jury panel and then allows each side a certain number of strikes.
    4. Decorum
      He does not require counsel to conduct examinations at the lectern. Counsel should ask the judge's permission to approach a witness.
    5. Opening Statement
      The judge does not place time limits on opening statements. He allows counsel to use exhibits in opening statements.
    6. Marking Exhibits
      Exhibits must be marked by the deputy clerk.
    7. Depositions
      The judge does not allow counsel to use actors to read depositions in court. He usually allows the attorneys to read the questions and his law clerks to read the answers.
    8. Closing Arguments
      He does not require a conference prior to summation. He does not place time limits on closing statements.
    9. Jury Procedures
      Judge Turk permits jurors to take notes during trial. He allows jurors to inspect exhibits both during trial and in the jury room. He accepts limited questions from jurors. Judge Turk orally instructs the jury.
    10. Sentencing Practices
      Sentencing recommendations of the probation officer are rarely divulged.