Courtroom Instructions

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA

NOTE TO ATTORNEYS:This Court has learned that the following violations of rules of decorum delay trials and create undue controversy. For that reason, the Court directs:

1. DON'T LEAD ON DIRECT.

2. DON'T ASK COMPOUND LEADING QUESTIONS ON CROSS OR TO ADVERSE WITNESSES. DO NOT "LOAD" THE QUESTIONS. IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS, ASK THE COURT.

3. DON'T REPEAT EVIDENCE OR ANSWERS OF WITNESSES.

4. DON'T TRY TO MISLEAD WITNESSES OR THE JURY. (SEE OATH OF ADMISSION.)

5. DON'T MAKE COMMENTS OR MAKE REMARKS TO LAWYERS OR WITNESSES. DON'T ARGUE WITH WITNESSES. JUST ASK QUESTIONS.

6. DO NOT ARGUE AT TIME OF MAKING OBJECTIONS UNLESS THE COURT CALLS FOR. JUST STATE GENERAL GROUND(S).

7. DON'T RAISE VOICE AND ACT INDIGNANT. DON'T ASK QUESTIONS IN AN ARGUMENTATIVE TONE OF VOICE. BOTH ARE FORMS OF ARGUMENT.

8. DON'T STARE AT JURORS WHILE ASKING QUESTIONS. DON'T GRIN AT THE JURY.

9. WAIT UNTIL ANSWER IS COMPLETED BEFORE ASKING A QUESTION. THE COURT REPORTER CAN TAKE ONLY ONE PERSON AT A TIME.

10. DON'T MAKE REFERENCES TO THE JURY BY SAYING, "TELL THE JURY," "ARE YOU TELLING THIS JURY," "I WANT THE JURY TO UNDERSTAND," ETC. OR OTHERWISE ACTING SOLICITOUS TO THE JURY. DON'T COURT THE JURY.

11. DON'T CONDUCT YOURSELF IN ANY OTHER FASHION THAT VIOLATES OBVIOUS RULES OF DECORUM.

12. DO NOT, WHILE ANOTHER LAWYER IS QUESTIONING A WITNESS, MAKE OPEN COURT OFFERS TO STIPULATE AS TO TESTIMONY, EXHIBITS OR OTHERWISE. IF YOU WISH TO STIPULATE, ASK TO APPROACH THE BENCH. SUCH OPEN COURT OFFERS ARE GENERALLY NOT MADE TO HELP SAVE TIME. THEY ARE A FORM OF ARGUMENT.

13. WHEN ARGUING, DON'T SHOUT AND DON'T LOWER YOUR VOICE TO A MUMBLE.

14. DO NOT THANK WITNESSES FOR THEIR TESTIMONY IN WHOLE OR IN PART.

Attorneys who willfully or continually violate the foregoing invite reprimands, perhaps in open court.

A copy of this order will be filed.

ROBERT B. PROPST

SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE