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Customary and Traditional Conduct and Decorum in the Circuit Court

(A)  The purpose of this addendum is to state for the guidance of those heretofore unfamiliar with the tradition of the Second Judicial Circuit Court certain basic principles concerning courtroom conduct and decorum. These standards are minimal and not all-inclusive. They are intended to emphasize and supplement, not supplant or limit, the ethical obligations of counsel under the Code of Professional Responsibility or the time honored customs of experienced trial counsel.

(B)  When appearing in this court, all counsel and all persons at counsel table should conduct themselves in the following customary and traditional manner:

  1. Stand as court is opened, recessed or adjourned.
  2. Stand when the jury enters or retires from the courtroom.
  3. Stand when addressing, or being addressed by, the court.
  4. Address all remarks to the court, not to opposing counsel.
  5. Avoid disparaging personal remarks or acrimony toward opposing counsel and remain wholly detached from any ill feeling between the litigants or witnesses.
  6. Refer to all persons, including witnesses, other counsel and the parties, by their surnames and not by their first names.
  7. Counsel should request permission before approaching the bench.
  8. Unless opposing counsel has previously been shown exhibits, any exhibit offered in evidence should, at the time of such offer, be handed to opposing counsel.
  9. In making objections, counsel should state only the legal grounds for the objection and should withhold all further comment or argument unless elaboration is requested by the court. If counsel believes further explanation is imperative, counsel should ask to go "side bar."
  10. In examining a witness, counsel shall not repeat or echo the answer given by the witness.
  11. Offers of, or requests for, a stipulation should be made privately, not within the hearing of the jury.
  12. In opening statements and in arguments to the jury, counsel shall not express personal knowledge or opinions concerning any matter in issue, shall not read or purport to read from deposition or trial transcripts, and shall not suggest to the jury, directly or indirectly, that it may or should request transcripts or the reading of any testimony by the reporter.
  13. Counsel shall admonish and discourage all persons at counsel table from making gestures, facial expressions, audible comments, or the like, as manifestations of approval or disapproval during the testimony of witnesses, or at any other time.
  14. Smoking, eating, and food are prohibited in the courtroom at any time. Water may be allowed at counsel table with permission of the court.