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Business of Law
Profile: Stephen Rapp
15th Judicial Circuit of Florida
Do your require suppression hearings in advance of trial or may they be heard at beginning of trial? I like to do it in advance. Do you accept a plea at docket call or require specially set hearings? I accept pleas aytime, anywhere Which motions can be heard at 8:45 a.m. hearings? Bond Hearings? Yes Sworn Motion to Dismiss? Yes Other? Any as long as it's quick. What is your policy on work release and house arrest?Hearing required. Do you require judgment and sentence forms to be filled out by the attorney in advance of pleas conference? Yes Special requests or docket call. Will you give more than one-hour notice for trial on special request? Yes If a case is settled, what procedure should be followed to advise your office? Call us Do you require Defendant to be personally present at calendar call or may the attorney appear alone? We like the defendant to be present unless there's good reason. (Circuit Court) What is the policy for allowing felonies to be pled to misdemeanor? Okay with me, if it's okay with all parties.
What is the procedure for emergency hearings on custody/support? File motion. Judge decides on written submission whether to grant emergency hearing or not. 3. What is the procedure for emergency hearings on restraining orders? File motion. Judge decides on written submission whether to grant emergency hearing or not.
What suggenstions/advice do you have for litigants, counsel and or witnesses? What practices and habits of attorneys irritate you the most? When they don't listen to other lawyers, the witness and the judge. Other Comments? Be nice to everyone and remember the judge is not too smart, but it's the best he can do.
Do you allow hearings by conference call? Yes If so, what is the procedure? Local rule Do you allow specially set hearings to be canceled by agreement of counsel? No What is the maximum amount of time you allow for a specially set hearing without requiring the hearing to be placed on a non-jury docket? One hour What is the procedure for allowing matters to be set? Call for appointment Do you prefer to receive memoranda in support/opposition to motions in advance of a hearing or at the hearing? How far in advance? One or two days in advance With a courtesy copy of the Notice/Order Setting Hearing? Yes Do you have any preference regarding the presentation of proposed orders for specially set hearings? Bring one to the hearing. Local Rule What is the procedure for scheduling emergency motions?Local rule What is the procedure for scheduling hearings on motions for rehearing or new trials? Local rule
Trial Arguments -- Opening/Closing
1. What time constraints do you impose on: Opening Arguments Jury Trial Usually none. Non-Jury Trial Usually none. Closing Arguments Jury Trial Usually none. Non-Jury Trial Usually none. 2. Do you exercise your discretion to give final instructions to the jury before closing arguments? No
Continuance of trials Which of the following factors are important to determining whether to continue a trial? a. Parties Stipulate? Yes b. Counsel's conflict with other trials Yes c. Unavailability of a party? Yes d. Unavailability of key expert witness? Yes e. Unavailability of key fact witness? Yes f. Incomplete discovery? Sometimes. g. Discovery violation by party opposing continuance? Sometimes h. Vacations of counsel? Yes i. Others? When a case on the calendar is not reached: What is the procedure to get back on calendar? It is automatically on the next calendar. If the case automatically carried over? Yes If so, is it to the next calendar or the next available calendar? Next calendar. Are pretrial deadlines automatically extended? No Does the case need to be renoticed? No How much notice do you give to counsel to begin trial after docket has commenced? One day. Do you specially set cases for trial and if so, under what circumstances? Yes, if requested and if it's a murder case. Do you generally try the oldest case first? No Do you use the uniform? Order Setting Trial? and pretrial instructions? Yes Do you have any special rules and procedures for marking evidence prior to trial? In Civil Do you utilize a written trial conflict form for docket call? No Under what circumstances do you transfer cases over to the Trial Division? Simple cases that are ready to go.
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