Policies and Procedures

The Criminal District Court No. 2



Court Settings:


Each case is set for three announcements and up to one plea settings. Jail cases are passed for one week. Bond cases are passed for two weeks. The defendant is required at all settings unless waived by judge in advance on a special needs basis. Jailed defendants are brought down when their case is set for a disposition or to determine need for appointed counsel. Attorneys representing both the defense and state are required to sign pass slips regardless of the setting. Bond forfeitures are set aside only with approval of the judge. Cases are called once in the morning and in the afternoon if no response, then the bond is forfeited.

Pleas and Motions to Revoke:


Defense counsel is responsible for completing plea agreement, sex offender admonitions addendum (when applicable), fingerprint card, and judicial confession/stipulation of evidence. Forms are located outside the clerks' office. Forms must be completed before the clerks will file stamp them. PSIs required on all open pleas or agreed pleas where punishment is community supervision (as required by statute). Court routinely approves agreements between the parties, but reserves the right to reject agreements on a case-by-case basis.
During open pleas, cases are heard at the bench unless parties intend to call witnesses. Open pleas are completely open that is, the court will consider the complete range of punishment without regard to agreed floors or ceilings. The defendant must enter the first half of an open plea before PSI will be completed and matter set for sentencing (usually one week for jail cases and 30 days for bond cases).
In probation cases, all standard probation conditions are assessed in addition to GED (where applicable) and a curfew from 11 p.m. until 5 a.m. in all cases. Special requests for venue heard on a case-by-case basis. Drug treatment (Wilmer, SAFTF) strongly considered and encouraged in applicable cases. Work release is the only element the court will consider in an otherwise open plea. District attorneys make recommendations in motions to revoke or adjudicate, but it is advisable to consult with the court community supervision officer first.

Mag. Court and Visiting Judges:


Agreed pleas may be referred to mag. court when Judge Stricklin is not available. First half only of open pleas may be referred to mag. court. The court rarely utilizes the services of a visiting judge.

Court appointments:


Court uses three public defenders who handle all types of cases. Appointments will be made in accordance with Dallas County's District Courts SB 7 plan by use of the county's master wheel. Pleas where extra work was preformed and all special cases should be noted on an itemized attachment to pay sheet to ensure equitable compensation. No lawyers are permitted in the holdover during jury trials. However, discreet holdover visits are permitted during other hearings and TBCs. Back time credit for fines and court costs on a case-by-case basis.

Pretrial matters:


Court will enter a pretrial discovery order once case is set for trial. All pretrial motions filed by the parties must comply with the court's order. Cases set for trial will typically have a pretrial hearing on the Thursday or Friday before trial. No fax or e-mail filings. Substantive motions to suppress may be set in advance of trial. Briefs or cases addressing areas of law relied upon by parties are encouraged. Parties seeking a decrease or increase in bond must first consult with opposing counsel. If an agreement cannot be reached, the court will set the matter for a contested bond hearing. Court hears both occupational license requests and expunction requests.

Court Dockets:


Trial settings are set with concurrence of the district attorney. Jury trials are set on Mondays. TBCs and motions to revoke or adjudicate are set on Thursdays and Fridays or any time during a non-jury week.

Trials:


Attorneys are required to announce ready on day of trial informally with the court by
9 a.m. Case order is set in advance by court after consultation with the parties with priority being given to jail cases. Motions for continuance must be made in writting and be presented in advance of the trial setting. Witnesses required to be present at the beginning of evidence. Voir dire begins as soon as jury arrives usually by 10 a.m. Pleas on day of trial determined on a case-by-case basis. Motions in limine may be presented on the morning of trial or at any time during trial.

Voir Dire:


The court inquires of parties's time needs in voir dire. Most parties agree to 45 minutes to 1 hour per side. Court covers statutory qualifications of jurors, elements of the offense, punishment, reasonable doubt, presumption of innocence, right not to testify, introduction of parties and sitting in judgment. Parties should disqualify objectionable jurors during their voir dire. Bringing panel members individually before the court is infrequent. Challenges for cause are made at the bench at the conclusion of voir dire by both parties by going down list of panel members without argument.

Opening and closing statements:


Brief opening statements are standard. Closing statements have time limits as agreed to by the parties.

Trial decorum:


The court does not permit speaking objections. Witnesses and parties must be addressed by proper title and last names except for children. Bench conferences should be kept to a minimum. Permission should be obtained before approaching a witness or bench. Any argument in open court should be addressed to the court and not to opposing counsel. Water is permitted in the courtroom.

Scheduling:


Trial day is typically from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with an hour break for lunch. Court determines timing of morning and afternoon breaks if needed.

General Courtroom Decorum:


Court's standard for attorneys and staff is courtesy and professionalism. No food or beverages (other than water) are permitted in the courtroom. No cursing is permitted in the courtroom. Pagers and cell phones must be silenced and may not be used in the courtroom (with penalty being temporary confiscation).

Court has standing court order regarding media access to courtroom that typically permits a pool camera in the vestibule and a microphone on the witness stand.

Other:


Service and availability to the parties in a professional atmosphere are the court's highest priorities. If you have a matter ready to be heard, please notify the court reporter or the court directly and we will quickly respond. Parties should first consult with opposing counsel on any requests involving contested matters before approaching the court.