Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday in the Courts

By John DiMotto

What does a judge do on Friday? Does he/she start a jury trial? Does he/she begin any case that will be protracted? Does he/she spend a lot of time on the bench or spend it in chambers catching up on reading briefs, signing orders, prepping future cases?

In the Civil/Probate Division, where I currently serve, we try to keep the court calendar light. We try to use Fridays as the day when we "wrap up" cases with "loose ends." There are many cases that need attention to just one issue and those can be done on a Friday. It is also very important that a judge be on top of his/her cases and we can do some of that on a Friday. Being a judge is somewhat like being a student. Students prepare for class. Judges prepare for court. Of course, using a Friday for these purposes is dependent upon whether a jury that we started earlier in the week is done. We always want to finish up a jury before the weekend so that jurors do not have to come back another week. By keeping Friday light, we will have a big block of court time available to do so.

In terms of juries, we never start a jury trial on a Friday because rarely can a jury be started and finished in one day and, as I mentioned above, we do not want to inconvenience jurors by making them come back the next week. We ask a lot from our citizens when we call them to jury service so we give great deference to their schedules and their lives.

In some respects, Friday is the busiest day of the week because we are looking backward to finish up what we started that week and we are looking forward to what we will face the next week.

On a lighter note, yesterday I received a call from Bruce Vielmetti from Milwaukee JS. He does the "Proof and Hearsay" blog for Milwaukee JS. He learned about my blog and wanted to talk about it. He wrote a blog about this blog.

1 comment:

  1. In the Felony Division where I serve, I use Fridays to clean up the stuff that I had to adjourn when handling jury trials the rest of the week. I try to schedule evidentiary motiona on Friday afternoons. In the Juvenile Division, where I served, the morings are like the rest of the week. The afternoons were used for delinguency trials to the court. Juveniles accused of crimes in Wisconsin do not have the right to a jury trial.