Local Court Rules
TWENTIETH JUDICIAL DISTRICT
STATE OF OKLAHOMA
STATE OF OKLAHOMA
(Carter, Johnston, Love, Marshall and Murray Counties)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER I - GENERAL
1.1 Attorneys-Behavior, Attire
1.2 Duty to Instruct Client
1.3 Courtroom Activities
1.4 Court Files
1.5 Withdrawal of Counsel
1.6 Notice of Hearings or Trial
1.7 Notice of Settlement
1.8 Journal Entry Approval
1.9 Dismissal of Inactive Cases
1.10 Filing Transcripts of Hearings
CHAPTER II - DOMESTIC RELATIONS
2.1 Temporary Hearings
2.2 Pre-Trial Disclosures
2.3 Uniform visitation schedules
CHAPTER III - PROBATE AND GUARDIANSHIP
3.1 Temporary Attorney Fees
3.2 Guardianship/Conservator Reports
CHAPTER IV - CIVIL
4.1 Scheduling Orders
4.2 Pre-Trial Conferences
4.3 Filing Pleadings Out of Time
CHAPTER V - CRIMINAL
5.1 Filing Discovery Instruments
5.2 Duty to Disclose
5.3 Issuance of Summons
5.4 Bail Upon Arrest for Non-payment of Costs
5.5 Payment of fines, costs and fees upon plea or sentencing
CHAPTER VI - TRIAL
6.1 Argument by a Party
6.2 Conduct Toward Jurors After Verdict
CHAPTER VII - SANCTIONS
1. Uniform visitation schedules
2. Financial disclosure
CHAPTER I - GENERAL
RULE 1.1 - ATTORNEYS - BEHAVIOR, ATTIRE
Attorneys are officers of the court. As such, their behavior towards the court and while in court sets the example for the public. Their responsibility is - at a minimum - to be courteous and civil. Attorneys must use the appropriate courtroom decorum at all times. Attorneys must wear business attire for all courtroom appearances - men a dress coat and tie, and women a business dress, dress trousers and coat, or business skirt and blouse.
RULE 1.2 - DUTY TO INSTRUCT CLIENT
An attorney must instruct his client and the witnesses he plans to call about the priority of their court appearance. A lawyer should explain that at no time should a client or witness approach or communicate with a judge or juror.
RULE 1.3 - COURTROOM ACTIVITIES
Eating, drinking, chewing gum, use of tobacco in any form, and use of a cellular telephone, pager, or voice recording device is forbidden in the courtroom, whether court is in session or not.
Any activity or noise in or near the courtroom which disrupts or disturbs the proceedings is prohibited. A courtroom may not be used for any other purpose other than a judicial function without the permission of the judge assigned to such courtroom.
RULE 1.4 - COURT FILES
Original records on file in the Court Clerk's office may be removed by non-court personnel only under the following circumstances:
1. they are to be removed by a licensed attorney or bonded abstractor or a designated member of his/her staff; and
2. a hearing or trial is not scheduled in the case within the next twenty-four (24) hour period; and
3. the attorney or abstractor provides the necessary information to the Court Clerk to identify the records to be removed and signs a receipt evidencing the date and time of removal; and
4. the records are returned to the Court Clerk's office within 24 hours.
Confidential and sealed records may not be removed from the Court Clerk's office without prior written permission from a judge authorizing such removal, and containing specific directions as to the return of the records.
RULE 1.5 - WITHDRAWAL OF COUNSEL
No counsel may withdraw from a pending case without leave of the court. A motion to withdraw may be filed at any time. Counsel seeking to withdraw shall advise the court of the date and nature of the next scheduled hearing. A motion filed within 30 days of a trial on the merits will be granted only under compelling circumstances.
The counsel filing the motion shall serve a copy of the motion on the client and all attorneys of record. Motions to withdraw in civil cases are governed by the Code of Civil Procedure and rules promulgated by the Supreme Court in furtherance thereof. Motions to withdraw in other than civil cases shall be signed by the party on whose behalf counsel has previously appeared or contain a certificate by counsel the client has knowledge of counsel’s intent to withdraw and consents.
In criminal cases counsel will inform the defendant and the order permitting withdrawal will reflect that if no entry of appearance is filed within twenty (20) days from the date of the order permitting withdrawal, then the defendant is deemed to be representing himself or herself and acting pro se.
Substitution of counsel may be effected by filing a notice of withdrawal by one and a concurrent entry of appearance by the other, or by a notice of substitution signed by both attorneys.
RULE 1.6 - NOTICE OF HEARINGS OR TRIAL
All parties and/or their counsel are entitled to notice of hearings and/or trial in every case. Notice may be given by the judge in open court or in writing by a judge, court personnel or attorney. Parties and/or their counsel are entitled to be informed of the subject of that which is to be heard or tried and the date and time of the hearing or trial. Any written notice of a hearing or trial shall contain a certification by the judge, court personnel or attorney identifying those parties and/or their counsel to whom the notice has been served and in what manner.
Except in those instances in which the law requires a notice to be signed by a judge or the Clerk, a Bailiff may sign a notice of a hearing. A notice signed by a Bailiff, if properly served shall be a sufficient basis for a finding and decision by default. The notice shall contain a statement of that which is to be heard, the date and time of hearing, and any other information necessary to give adequate notice of the hearing. The notice shall substantially conform to the following example:
NOTICE OF HEARING
You are hereby notified that on [insert date and time of hearing] the court will conduct a hearing on [insert nature of hearing] .
DISTRICT COURT BAILIFF
RULE 1.7 - NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT
Unless a different deadline is established by the judge assigned to the case, the court must be notified at least two (2) working days in advance of any scheduled jury trial that a matter has been settled. Failure to comply with this rule in civil matters will result in each party being required to pay his proportionate share of the costs of the jury panel for the day the trial is scheduled to begin. Failure to comply with this requirement in criminal cases will result in a plea bargain agreement being treated as a non-negotiated plea.
RULE 1.8 - JOURNAL ENTRY APPROVAL
In all contested matters, the Journal Entry presented for signature of the assigned judge must contain the signature of approval of all counsel of record. The Journal Entry must be submitted to the assigned Judge and filed within thirty (30) days of the court's ruling, unless waived by the assigned judge. If counsel do not agree as to the form of the Journal Entry, a motion to settle Journal Entry must be filed and a proposed Journal Entry attached to said motion. The court will then approve or disprove the proposed Journal Entry or set the matter for hearing.
RULE 1.9 - DISMISSAL OF INACTIVE CASES
The court shall dismiss, without prejudice, any action on its docket in which no pleading has been filed or no action taken for a year. The court shall give notice to the parties and/or their counsel of record before any such dismissal. This rule should be read in conjunction with 12 O.S. § 1083.
If an action be commenced but no summons issued within six months, or if issued, not served within six months, the court may dismiss such action on it own motion and without notice.
All inactive civil, divorce, adoption, and criminal cases will be, by the Court Clerk, placed on a disposition docket in August on each calendar year. In the discretion of the Chief Judge, probate cases may be included on a disposition docket and, if needed, additional dockets may be called. The court may, for good cause shown, allow the action to remain open by issuing an order setting forth the specific action required by the party requesting the case remain open and the date by which the action is taken. The Chief Judge may set the docket or assign that responsibility.
All cases on the small claims docket, not in judgment, in which no action has been taken or pleading filed in six months will be dismissed without further action by the court. The Clerk will show such dismissal on the appearance docket with the notation, "Pursuant to Court Rule, case dismissed for want of prosecution."
The Court Clerk shall transfer to the Court Fund or to the State Tax Commission, as appropriate, all unclaimed fees or costs, in compliance with 28 O.S. § 106 or 60 § 657, if the case in which the funds are held is dismissed.
RULE 1.10 - FILING TRANSCRIPTS OF HEARINGS
Regardless of the nature of the case, if a transcript of a hearing, or a portion of a hearing, is prepared by a Court Reporter the original must be filed with the Clerk.
If a transcript of any part of a proceeding has been furnished or paid for by the Court Fund, the original and all copies are the property of the Court Fund. Counsel may use the same to prepare for a trial or appeal subject to Rule 1.4. Failure of counsel to return the copy of the transcript to the Clerk may result in counsel being required to pay for an additional copy from his/her own funds.
CHAPTER II - DOMESTIC RELATIONS
RULE 2.1 - TEMPORARY HEARINGS
A party to a divorce proceeding may request a temporary hearing. Except when injustice will result, the court will not issue an ex parte order granting affirmative relief. Counsel should advise their clients in advance as to the nature of a temporary hearing. The court will conduct an abbreviated hearing, and will not permit counsel to engage in discovery or present evidence on the merits of the divorce except as may be necessary to grant interlocutory relief. It is duty of counsel to advise the parties the nature of the hearing and to not attempt to address the merits of the divorce.
RULE 2.2 - PRE-TRIAL DISCLOSURES
In all contested divorce cases, unless waived by the Court, each attorney shall file and serve on opposing counsel a pre-trial disclosure at least ten (10) working days in advance of the scheduled trial on the merits. The disclosure must containing the following information:
1. each asset of significant value, together with the following:
a. fair market value;
b. encumbrances, if any;
c. status of acquisition (jointly or separately acquired);
2. outstanding liabilities, together with the following as to each:
a. balance owed;
b. amount of periodic payments;
3. source and amount of all income;
4. a list of witnesses expected to be called at trial, along with a synopsis of the testimony of each, unless furnished at the pretrial conference.
Failure to timely comply with the pretrial disclosure requirement will be considered as cause for continuance of the trial, with the taxing of expenses as costs, exclusion of witnesses or testimony, or in fixing of attorney fees as is appropriate.
RULE 2.3 - UNIFORM VISITATION SCHEDULES
There shall be two uniform visitation schedules adopted by the courts of the district, District Standard Visitation and District Expanded Visitation. In lieu of announcing a detailed visitation schedule, the court may announce either of the uniform schedules will apply. The uniform visitation schedules are as set out in Appendix 1.
CHAPTER III - PROBATE AND GUARDIANSHIP
RULE 3.1 - TEMPORARY ATTORNEY FEES
Requests for the approval of attorney fees prior to completion of probate matters will be granted only in the following circumstances:
1. the request is personally signed by the personal representative; and
2. the request is only for services rendered to date; and
3. the payment of an attorney fee prior to the closing of the estate will not hinder or delay the timely closing, nor prejudice the solvency of the estate; and
4. court approval is necessary for the orderly administration of the estate.
RULE 3.2 - GUARDIAN/CONSERVATOR REPORTS
The annual report required by the Oklahoma Guardianship Act will be filed during the first week of each year, regardless of the date of appointment. The clerk will not accept said report for filing at any other time without court approval. Lack of knowledge of this rule is not a sufficient reason for filing a report other than during the prescribed time.
Concurrently with the filing of the report, the guardian/conservator will mail, by first-class mail, a copy to each person entitled to notice as required by said Act, and file a certificate of mailing of the same.
If no objection to the request is filed and court does not set a hearing on its own motion at the expiration of 30 days from the filing of the report, the guardian/conservator shall submit for signature an order accepting the annual report and granting the relief requested.
Under either of the following circumstances, a guardian/conservator will be deemed to have waived any claim for compensation for a period covered by an annual report:
1. an annual report is not timely filed;
2. an order accepting the report is not presented within 45 days of the filing of the report when no objection is filed and the court does not schedule a hearing on its own motion.
CHAPTER IV - CIVIL
RULE 4.1 - SCHEDULING ORDERS
When a civil case is at issue, the Court Clerk shall notify the District Judge or Associate District Judge of the county that the case is at issue and ready for assignment. In compliance with Rule 5 of the Rules for District Courts, the judge may then enter a Scheduling Order or schedule a hearing to enter a Scheduling Order. If the same is not accomplished within ten (10) days, counsel may file a notice with the Court Clerk advising that the case is at issue and requesting the Court Clerk to advise the judge of the same. The Scheduling Order shall, inter alia, set a deadline for motions to be filed in the case. However, motions in limine may be filed and presented to the Court at any time in the interest of justice.
RULE 4.2 - PRE-TRIAL CONFERENCES
In all cases where a pre-trial conference is required, counsel shall jointly submit to the court a proposed pre-trial conference order at the time of the pre-trial conference, unless waived by the assigned judge or unless and earlier date is required by the assigned judge.
Pre-trial conferences shall be conducted in accordance with Rule 5 of Rules for District Courts and, unless permission to the contrary is first obtained, shall be attended by the lead trial attorney for each party. If the lead trial attorney for each party is not present for the pre-trial conference without court approval, the court may exclude that attorney from participation in the trial or take other appropriate action under the circumstances.
RULE 4.3 - FILING PLEADINGS OUT OF TIME
A request to file a pleading out of time must be accompanied by a statement that counsel for the opposing party has been consulted and has no objection. This statement may be endorsed on the pleading itself or by a separate document. Any request to file a pleading out of time which does not contain such statement will be scheduled for hearing. The expense of the hearing, including attorney fees, may be assessed in the discretion of the court.
RULE 4.4 - MEDIATION
The court may refer any civil case, or any portion thereof, to mediation on its own initiative, the motion of any party or by agreement of the parties. A referral for mediation may be made at any time. More than one (1) referral may be made in any case. The order of referral for mediation shall be made by the assigned judge and may contain an order as to the payment of costs associated with the mediation. Any mediation shall be held before a person certified pursuant to the provisions of the Rules and Procedures for the Dispute Resolution Act to serve as a mediator or any other person appointed by the court who is qualified to serve as a mediator in the court's discretion. Mediation in no way affects the court's authority to order a settlement conference under Rule 5 of the Rules for District Courts.
RULE 4.5 - DISCOVERY
The parties will not tender to the clerk for filing the following discovery instruments:
1. written interrogatories or responses thereto
2. demands for production of documents or other things
3. requests for permission to enter upon land of a party
4. requests for admissions or responses thereto
5. requests for physical or mental examinations of a party or person in custody or under legal control of a party (other than those not falling within section 3212 A. of the code)
The Court Clerk will not accept for filing any of the above discovery instruments, but will return them to the party tendering them. Should a party desire to preserve a record of the time such discovery procedures were initiated, he/she may file a notice of submission of the same. Such notice will contain a brief description of the type of discovery initiated, the date it was initiated and the method by which it was transmitted to the opposing party.
Motions for an order compelling discovery must contain a statement by counsel for the movant that after personal consultation with opposing counsel and reasonable efforts to do so counsel for movant has been unable to make discovery of the matter in question by agreement with opposing counsel.
CHAPTER V - CRIMINAL
RULE 5.1 - FILING DISCOVERY INSTRUMENTS
The parties will not tender discovery instruments to the clerk for filing. Unless authorized by the judge assigned to the case, the Court Clerk will not accept for filing any discovery instrument, but will return them to the party tendering them. Should a party desire to preserve a record of the time such discovery procedures were initiated, counsel for the state or the defendant may file a notice of submission of the same. Such notice will contain a brief description of the type of discovery initiated, the date it was initiated and the method by which it was transmitted to the opposing party.
Motions for an order compelling discovery must contain a statement by counsel for the movant that after personal consultation with opposing counsel and reasonable efforts to do so counsel for movant has been unable to make discovery of the matter in question by agreement with opposing counsel. Failure to include such statement of reasonable efforts may result in the motion being summarily overruled. Should the court find as a fact that counsel filed a motion to compel discovery without first making a reasonable effort to effect discovery without the necessity of a motion, a sanction may be imposed.
RULE 5.2 - DUTY TO DISCLOSE
When a matter is presented to the court pursuant to a plea bargain agreement, both counsel for the defense and for the State are bound to reveal to the court any previous denial by a judge of any plea bargain agreement in that particular criminal case and all surrounding circumstances.
RULE 5.3 - ISSUANCE OF SUMMONS
Upon the initiation of any criminal prosecution, whether by Information, Indictment or Complaint, the District Attorney may issue a summons to the defendant to appear and answer the Information, Indictment, or Complaint. The summons shall be in such form as may be prescribed by the court. Issuance of a summons shall not preclude the issuance of an arrest warrant. The summons may be served in the same manner as that prescribed for civil matters or by regular mail. No penalty or sanction shall be imposed for the failure to respond to a summons. However, should the court be convinced the defendant was served personally and failed to appear, it may consider such failure as a factor in setting bail.
RULE 5.4 - BAIL UPON ARREST FOR NON-PAYMENT OF COSTS
A condition of posting a cash bond to guarantee the appearance any person arrested for the non-payment of a fine, costs or fees is that the amount posted will be used to pay any amount found to be due and owing. The clerk is not authorized to accept a cash bond nor to issue an order of release upon the posting of a cash bond unless said condition is made a part thereof.
RULE 5.5 - PAYMENT OF FINES, COSTS AND FEES UPON PLEA OR SENTENCING
At a minimum, the following costs, if not previously paid, are due the day a defendant enters a plea or is sentenced, if convicted at trial and is at liberty on bail:
1. docketing fee
2. court reporter fee
3. jury demand fee
4. appearance bond posting fee
5. court appointed counsel application fee.
At the time of any plea of guilty or nolo contendere, or upon sentencing, the defendant must submit a financial disclosure statement from which a determination can be made of his ability to pay the balance of any fine, costs, or fees. The burden shall be upon the defendant, based entirely on the financial disclosure, to convince the court of his inability to pay the balance of the fine, costs and fees on that day.
At the time of any sentencing, if the defendant is employed, he must submit a wage assignment, completed other than the periodic amount. If a defendant is not employed at the time of sentencing, but later becomes employed, he must, within 10 days, submit to the clerk a wage assignment. Failure to do so shall constitute grounds for declaring the entire amount of outstanding fine, costs and fees due instanter.
RULE 5.6 - MOTIONS
Motions in felony matters, other than for discovery, must be filed no later than arraignment. The arraigning judge or trial judge may extend the time within which to file motions for good cause shown.
Every motion shall be accompanied by a concise brief or a list of authorities upon which movant relies. Unless the court directs otherwise, neither a brief nor a list of authorities shall be required with respect to any of the following motions:
1. motions for extensions of time, if the request is made before expiration of the time period originally prescribed, or as extended by previous orders,
2. motions to continue a hearing or trial,
3. motions to amend pleadings or file supplemental pleadings,
4. motions for physical or mental examinations,
5. motions to shorten a prescribed time period, and
6. motions for scheduling conferences and other settings.
If the motion does not comply with the above requirements may be denied without a hearing.
CHAPTER VI - TRIAL
RULE 6.1 - ARGUMENT BY A PARTY
Except as may be permitted pursuant to a criminal defendant’s right of elocution, only after notice to the judge and opposing counsel will a party to an action shall be permitted to argue the case to a jury if the party is represented by counsel.
RULE 6.2 - CONDUCT TOWARD JURORS AFTER VERDICT
Parties and/or their counsel may communicate with jurors after a verdict has been returned so long as the entire jury has been finally discharged from service. Parties and/or counsel shall cease attempts to communicate with a juror if that particular juror has expressed a desire not to communicate about the case.
CHAPTER VII - SANCTIONS
RULE 7.1 - PENALTIES
Any violation of a Court Rule may subject the party and/or attorney involved to a sanction, contempt proceedings, censure, or other appropriate remedial action. Sanctions may include, but not be limited to, any or all of the following:
1. dismissal of the action;
2. imposition of court costs;
3. taxing attorney fees incurred by the opposing party;
4. assessing other expenses or costs, including mileage expense, of any party financially harmed by such acts;
5. a fine representing the jury fees and/or other direct costs to the court for any aborted or delayed trial; and/or
RULE 7.2 - WAIVER
On a finding by the Court that any rule herein will work an injustice, the same may be waived for that particular instance by the assigned judge.
APPENDIX 1 - UNIFORM VISITATION SCHEDULES
District Standard Visitation means
Weekends: Every other weekend from 6:00 p.m. Friday until 6:00 p.m. Sunday.
Holidays: Odd numbered years
Easter 8:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.
July 4th 8:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.
Thanksgiving 8:00 a.m. Thanksgiving morning until 6:00 p.m. Sunday
Christmas eve 8:00 a.m. December 23rd until 10:00 p.m. December 24th
Even number years
New Year’s Day 8:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.
Memorial Day 8:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.
Labor Day 8:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.
Christmas Day 10:00 p.m. December 24th until 10:00 p.m. December 26th
Mother’s/Father’s Day: If the father is the non-custodial parent, he shall have visitation Father’s Day from 8:00 a.m. until 8:30 p.m.. If Mother’s Day falls within a weekend of the father’s visitation, he shall return the child(ren) to the mother for that day. If the mother is the non-custodial parent, the reverse shall apply.
Summer: 8:00 a.m. June 15th until 8:00 p.m. June 30th and 8:00 a.m. August 1st until 8:00 p.m. August 15th
District Expanded Visitation means the same as standard visitation, with the following additions:
Every Wednesday from 6:00 p.m. until the following morning, at which time the child(ren) will be delivered to school, day care or the custodial parent, as appropriate.
6:00 p.m. Sunday until 7:00 p.m. Friday the second full week of January, the first full week of April and the first full week of October.
APPENDIX 2 - FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE
IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE TWENTIETH JUDICIAL DISTRICT
XXX COUNTY, STATE OF OKLAHOMA
State of Oklahoma
REQUEST TO PAY FINE, COSTS AND FEES IN PERIODIC PAYMENTS
INSTRUCTIONS: This document must be submitted at the time of sentencing. The information it contains will be used by the judge to determine if you will be permitted to pay certain fines, costs and fees at a later date or in installments. It is your responsibility to convince the judge you cannot afford to pay the entire amount of fine, costs and fees on the day of sentencing. This application is your only chance to do that. If you are employed this disclosure must be accompanied by a wage assignment, with the periodic amount left blank.
I hereby request permission to pay the unpaid balance of fine, costs, and/or fees in periodic installments. I understand if my request is granted and I fail to comply with the court’s order, the entire balance will become due and I may be confined in the county jail for one day for each $5.00 which is unpaid.
Telephone______________________________ Social security number_____________________
Single__ Married__ Separated__ Spouse’s name___________________________________
How many people live in your household?____ Names and ages_________________________
Name, address and telephone number of two acquaintances who are not related:
Your monthly take-home pay__________ Weekly take-home pay___________
Who is your employer or source in income (including government agency)? ________________________________________________________________
If not working, when and where did you last work? ________________________________________________________________
How long did you work there?__________________________
Why did you quit?_______________________________________________________________
Where is your spouse employed?___________________________________________________
Spouse’s monthly take-home pay__________ Spouse’s weekly take-home pay__________
Is any other member of your household employed? ______ If yes, what is that person’s income per month?______________
What is the total household income for the month?_____________
If you are not working, list the date and place of your last three job applications:
If you are not working and have not applied for a job in the last month, why not? _____________
What is the total amount of money you or anyone in your household has in a checking account? __________ in a savings account?__________ held at the jail?__________
What is the value of any of the following owned by any member of your household?
House__________ Land__________Mobile home__________Automobile__________ Motorcycle__________ Boat__________ Jewelry__________Tools/equipment__________ Tax refund__________ Does anyone owe any money to you or a member of your household? ______ If so, how much is owed? _________ Who owes the money? ____________________________ Is this person related to you? ______ Does he/she make payments on the debt?________ When and how much are the payments on this debt? __________________________________________________________________
Are you represented by a lawyer in an effort to get money in any other court case, including probate of an estate and workers compensation? _______ Name of lawyer_________________
Debts and Expenses
House payment/rent___________ Food__________ Clothing__________ Utilities__________
Car payment__________Medical expenses__________Other________________________________________________________
If you smoke, how many packs per day? __________ If you drink alcohol, how much do you spend each week? _____________
Financial Assistance/Contribution to Cost of A Lawyer
Which of these family members are living? Father______ Mother______ Brother______ Sister______ Son______ Daughter______ Grandmother______ Grandfather______
Which of them have you asked for help?______________________________________________
If you have not asked any of them for help, why not?__________________________________________________________________________
Did you post an appearance bond?___________ If so, who paid the bondsman?______________
_____________________________________________ How much was paid?_______________