Rules of Practice and Procedure in the Circuit, Chancery, and Criminal Courts for the Fifteenth Judicial District
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Rules of Court:
Applicability, Purpose and Definitions
RULE 2. Assignment and Disposition of Cases
Appearance and Conduct of Counsel
Court Files and Filings
Jury Demand: Civil Cases
Motions in General
Use of Audio/Visual Recordings
General Sessions Appeals in Circuit Court
Requests for Special Instructions and Special Verdict
Orders and Judgments
Divorce: Special Procedures
Guardian Ad Litem: Special
Time Standards for the Disposition of Cases
Schedule of Trials and Hearings
Trials, Hearings and Attendance
Filing of Pleadings, Motions and Continuances
Preparation and Dissemination of Orders
Negotiations and Settlements
Bail Bonds, Forfeitures and Relief
General Sessions Appeal Docket
RULE 34. Probate
RULES OF COURT: APPLICABILITY, PURPOSE AND DEFINITIONS
§ 1.01 Adoption of
These rules shall replace all previous local rules.
Unless otherwise indicated by a particular rule, Rules 1 through 5 apply to all
types of cases in the Circuit, Chancery, and Criminal Courts of the Fifteenth
Judicial District. When a rule
applies only to a particular type of case (e.g., civil or criminal cases) it
applies to all cases of that type regardless of which court is hearing the case.
The Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure, Rules of Criminal Procedure, the
Rules of the Tennessee Court of Appeals, and of the Court of Criminal Appeals,
and the Rules of the Tennessee Supreme Court are applicable to the Fifteenth
Judicial District although not specifically set out herein.
The aforementioned rules take precedence over any of the local rules
mentioned herein if they are in conflict.
Rules Applicable to Civil Cases Only.
Rules 6 through 23
pertain only to civil cases unless expressly stated otherwise in these rules.
Rules Applicable to Criminal Cases only.
Rules 24 through 33 only
apply to criminal cases unless expressly stated otherwise in these rules.
Purpose of Rules
These rules will be construed to secure simplicity in procedure, fairness in
administration, and elimination of unjustifiable expense and delay.
§ 1.04 Suspension
Whenever the Court determines that justice requires it, the Court may suspend
any of these rules.
§ 1.05 Definitions
The following definitions apply to terms used in these rules:
Clerk means: The Circuit Court Clerk or the Clerk & Master of the Chancery Court.
T.R.C.P. means: Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure.
T.R.Crim.P. means: Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure.
T.R.E. means: Tennessee Rules of Evidence.
Means a Circuit Court Judge, Criminal Court Judge, or Chancellor as the
context so requires.
§ 1.06 Citation
These rules may be cited at “Local Rule § ________ .”
ASSIGNMENT AND DISPOSITION OF CASES
§ 2.01 Interchange
When necessary for the efficient administration of justice, a chancellor or judge may hear and determine any matter by interchange for another chancellor or judge without the necessity of transferring the case from one court to another. A chancellor or judge may hear or determine any matter by interchange for any other chancellor or judge.
RULE 3.RULE 3. COURT SESSIONS
§ 3.01 Regular
Regular sessions of Court will open at 9:00 A.M. or at such other time as the court directs. Attorneys shall be prompt at all sessions. Regular Court terms of each county in this District are as follows: See Appendix 1 for the Chancery Court schedule; see Appendix 2 for Circuit Court, Division I schedule; see Appendix 3 for Circuit Court, Division II schedule; and, Appendix 4 for Criminal Court schedule. The scheduling of cases outside the above regular terms shall be on a first come first serve basis due to the shortage of courtroom space throughout the 15th Judicial District. Prior to the setting of cases outside the regular term, the Trial Judge and the attorneys shall confirm through the clerks that courtroom space is available. The Circuit Court Clerk and Clerk and Master of each county shall coordinate and maintain a master calendar that will show the scheduling of cases outside the regular terms.
The following holidays have been designated by the State of Tennessee as legal holidays. Court will not be heard on these days, to wit:
1. New Year’s Day
2. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
3. Washington Day
4. Good Friday
5. Memorial Day
6. Independence Day
7. Labor Day
8. Columbus Day, unless this date is exchanged with the Friday after Thanksgiving.
9. Veterans Day
10. Thanksgiving Day
11. Christmas Day
If any of these holidays are in conflict with any of the opening days of court or arraignment days, opening day of each court term and arraignment days shall be held on the next Court day for the Court at the same hours herein set out.
§ 3.03 Courtroom
The party with the burden of proof shall sit at the counsel table located nearest to the jury box.
APPEARANCE AND CONDUCT OF COUNSEL
4.01 Professional Conduct.
All attorneys shall comply with the rules of Professional conduct at all times as adopted by the Tennessee Supreme Court.
§ 4.02 Space Within the Bar Reserved
The space within the bar shall, at
all times be reserved for members of the bar, officers attending court, the
clerk, the witness in the witness box, and such other persons as are designated
by the State’s attorney, the plaintiff’s attorney, and the defendant’s attorney
as being necessary aids in the prosecution or the defense of the case, and who
shall be seated at the respective tables of the state, the plaintiff, or the
§ 4.03 Media Guidelines
Rules for media coverage are
controlled by Supreme Court Rule 30.
§ 4.04 Children in Court
Small children shall not be brought
into court that are not parties or witnesses in the case.
Attorneys are directed to apprise their clients and witnesses of this
§ 4.05 Examining Witnesses
Counsel will stand when examining
and cross-examining witnesses and when addressing the court or the jury except
those who are physically handicapped or otherwise incapacitated, and except
attorneys voicing objection when there is insufficient time to rise, or unless
otherwise excused by the court.
§ 4.06 Proper Attire
Counsel, litigants, witnesses, court
reporters, and court officers shall not dress in a manner which distracts from
the proper decorum in the court.
§ 4.07 Forbidden Conduct
Reading, smoking, chewing gum or
tobacco, eating, or drinking beverages in the courtroom is forbidden at all
times except counsel and witnesses may have water provided by the court.
§ 4.08 Approaching the Bench
Attorneys will not approach the
bench without permission of the court.
§ 4.09 Familiarity with Participants
During trial, counsel shall not
exhibit familiarity with witness, jurors, or opposing counsel, and the use of
first names for adults shall be avoided.
No juror shall be addressed individually by name except upon voir dire.
§ 4.10 Jury and Bench
RULE 5. COURT FILES AND FILINGS
§ 5.01 Obtaining Court Files
All papers and records of the court
shall be in the custody of the clerk.
Files may not be withdrawn by any person other than attorneys, or their
employees. Any files withdrawn shall not be retained for more then five
(5) days without leave of court.
The person withdrawing the file shall be responsible for maintaining its
contents and returning it to the clerk.
Copies of files shall be furnished by the clerk at a reasonable cost.
§ 5.02 Filings
and orders filed with the court clerk must be original hard copies.
Facsimiles will not be accepted for filing.
RULE 6. JURY
§ 6.01 Procedure
In any civil case in which a jury is
demanded, the words “JURY DEMAND” shall be typewritten in capital letters on the
first page of the pleadings opposite the style of the case above the space for
the case number.
§ 6.02 Number of Jurors
In all civil cases, the parties may
stipulate that the jury will consist of any number of persons less than twelve
(12). Unless otherwise expressly demanded, a jury demand is a
stipulation for a six (6) person jury.
Failure to demand a twelve (12) person jury in the last T.R.C.P. Rule 7.01
pleading filed is a stipulation for a six (6) person jury.
§ 6.03 Challenges
Any stipulation regarding the number
of jurors shall not affect the number of challenges nor the manner of making
§ 7.01 Interrogatories to Parties
No party shall serve on
any other party more than twenty-five (25) single question interrogatories
including sub-parts. If a party
serves more than the allowed number of interrogatories on another party the
party served with the interrogatories shall answer or respond to only the first
twenty-five (25) questions and sub-parts.
Any party who desires to serve additional interrogatories must seek leave of
The motion shall include the additional interrogatories the party wishes
to serve and an affidavit and memorandum setting out reasons which would
establish the necessity and good cause for the service of additional
§ 7.02 Order and Response to Discovery
Any discovery properly propounded
and served on the opposing party shall be answered by said opposing party before
the party first serving the discovery request is required to answer any
discovery or submit to depositions.
§ 7.03 Motions to Compel Discovery
Motions to compel discovery shall:
Either (1) quote verbatim
the interrogatory, request, or question and any objection or response thereto,
or (2) be accompanied by a copy of the interrogatory, request or excerpt of a
deposition which shows the question and objection or response. This requirement shall not apply where a party has submitted
no response or objection to the entire set of interrogatories or requests; and
State the reason supporting the motion.
§ 7.04 Motions for Protective Orders; To Quash Subpoena
Motions for protective orders filed
pursuant to rule 26.03, T.R.C.P., motions to quash subpoenas for discovery filed
pursuant to rule 45.02, T.R.C.P., or any motion asking that deposition or
discovery be postponed or restricted shall:
Either (1) quote verbatim
the interrogatory, request, question, or subpoena, or (2) be accompanied by a
copy of the interrogatory, request, subpoena, or excerpt of a deposition which
shows the question;
State with particularity the grounds for the motion;
Be accompanied by an affidavit or other evidence showing the need for the order;
The motion and the accompanying document shall be mailed or faxed to the trial
judge along with filing with the clerk; and
Time requirements provided by the T.R.C.P. or these rules for filing and arguing
motions shall be suspended if necessary by the court as justice requires.
§ 7.05 Motion to Compel; Exhibits to Depositions
Agreements to furnish exhibits made
during the taking of depositions may be enforced by motion made pursuant to Rule
37, T.R.C.P., and rule 8.03 of these rules.
RULE 8. TRIAL
§ 8.01 General
Counsel are encouraged to set cases
for trial by agreement and in a timely manner.
Counsel shall bring their trial calendars to docket settings.
In compliance with the applicable statutes workers’ compensation cases
shall be given preference in setting.
§ 8.02 Procedure for Case Settings
All cases shall be set for
Obtaining dates from the
trial Judge’s Secretary and entering an agreed order which sets out the date,
time, place, and duration of the trial;
At docket call with an
order being entered which sets out all information provided in subparagraph (a),
By motion and notice of
hearing to set for trial; or,
By the court with notice
to all parties.
In Chancery Court the
Clerk and Master of each county shall set all trial dates.
The Circuit Judges of Division I & II shall call and set the docket for cases
assigned to that Judge on the first day of each term of court in Jackson, Macon
Smith and Trousdale counties.
Wilson County shall be established by the trial judge in each division.
§ 8.03 Deadline for Trial Preparation
When a party objects to having a
case set because trial preparation is not complete, the court may establish a
deadline for completing trial preparation.
Provided however, the objecting party must show good cause as to why
preparation is not complete and that they have made a good faith effort to
prepare the case for trial in a timely manner.
§ 8.04. Pretrial Conferences
Pretrial conferences may
be had upon Order of the court or upon Motion of either party.
Objections to any or all parts of deposition testimony sought to be introduced
at trial shall be presented and ruled upon at the pretrial conference.
Motions in limine shall be presented at the pretrial conference and ruled upon.
(d) Prospective special jury charges and special verdict forms shall be presented at the pretrial conference.
At the pretrial conference
the parties shall enter into stipulations on all uncontested matters which shall
be filed with the court and admitted into evidence.
§ 8.05 Notice Immediately Upon Settlement
If a case is set for trial and the
parties subsequently reach a settlement, the parties shall give immediate notice
of the settlement to the clerk and Judge and shall promptly file an agreed
order. Strict adherence to this
requirement will allow the court to better plan for the trial of other pending
§ 9.01 Scheduling Motions
All motions shall be
scheduled by obtaining date, place, and time from the Judge’s Secretary or in
the Chancery cases by scheduling through the Clerk and Master.
All motions shall include a notice that sets out the date, place and time
that the motion will be heard.
Motions without proof or other documents for the court to review may be heard by
telephone if all parties agree and it is convenient to the court.
Motions may be stricken or continued by notifying the Judge’s Secretary before
the date of the motion and notifying opposing counsel by letter or notice either
faxed or delivered by the U.S. Mail.
§ 9.02 Writings Supporting or Opposing Motions
All affidavits or other
documents intended to be used to support or oppose motions shall be served on
the opposing party prior to the day of the motion hearing.
All Motions may be supported by briefs or legal authority.
Any briefs containing a cite to an unreported decision shall have a copy
of the case appended.
§ 9.03 Failure to Appear at a Motion Hearing:
If any party does not appear at a
scheduled hearing on a motion or any other matter scheduled to be heard on the
motion docket, the court may strike or adjudicate the motion.
Counsel who will be late for a motion shall notify the Judge’s secretary
in advance of the hearing or have an announcement to that effect made at the
call of the motion docket.
§ 9.04 Motions for New Trial-hearings
(a) Motions for new trial and/or modification of an order/judgment shall be docketed by the movant for hearing within thirty (30) days of the date of filing of the motion.
The failure to docket a
hearing within thirty (30) days shall be considered a waiver of the motion and
an order overruling said motion may be entered by the court, unless enlarged by
the court for good cause shown.
§ 9.05 Summary Judgment Motions
All summary judgment
motions will be heard sixty (60) days before trial.
Three (3) days before the Motion is to be argued the parties shall submit
to Judge/Chancellor’s office a copy of all documents, pleadings, depositions,
briefs and or other writings that the parties intend to rely upon in presenting
or defending the motion so that the court may review same if his or her schedule
permits. All such writings shall
also be filed with the clerk on or before the time it is filed with the Judge.
All summary judgment motions shall be heard on regular session days unless set
otherwise by the court. Sufficient
time shall be set aside for the court to read all writings filed and to hear
argument of the parties.
It shall be the responsibility of the party who is the proponent of the motion
for summary judgment to obtain and bring the court file to the hearing for
summary judgment if the hearing is held in a county other than where the suit is
RULE 10. USE
OF AUDIO/VISUAL RECORDINGS
When a party intends to offer an
audio and/or visual recording as evidence in any jury trial, counsel shall
provide written notice to all adverse counsel at least forty (40) days before
trial. Adverse counsel shall be
permitted to review the recording in the form in which it is intended to be
offered at trial. Additionally, counsel, at his/her expense, shall be allowed
to copy said recording. The
attorneys shall then attempt in good faith to resolve such matters among
themselves. If the attorneys cannot
resolve the objections, then they shall advise the trial court sufficiently
before trial in order that said objections may be ruled upon in time to allow
editing of the recording. By way of
example only, this rule applies to video taped depositions, “Day in the Life”
recordings, surveillance films, interviews and statements.
This rule applies to rebuttal and impeachment evidence.
It is the
responsibility of litigants to arrange for court reporters in civil cases.
Proceedings will not be postponed or delayed because of a court
reporter’s absence or tardiness where counsel have not been diligent in this
RULE 12. GENERAL SESSIONS APPEALS IN CIRCUIT COURT
It shall be the duty of the Appellant and/or their attorneys to notify opposing parties or counsel at the time a General Sessions Court case has been appealed to Circuit Court. The Clerk shall also notify opposing parties or counsel that a case has been appealed and the date same will be on the Circuit Court docket.
§ 13.01 Procedure for Continuance
Cases may not be continued
by agreement unless approved by the court.
In such instances, continuances may be granted.
All other motions for continuances shall be on motion and notice and only
upon a showing of good cause.
§ 13.02 Grounds for Continuance
If a witness has been served with a subpoena and fails to appear in
court, it is a ground for continuance.
Otherwise absence of a witness will not be considered as a ground for a
When a case has been set, failure to have completed discovery, inability
to take a deposition, or failure to have completed any other trial preparation
will normally not be grounds for a continuance.
The Court should be timely notified of problems in scheduling depositions
or other preparation (such as refusal of a deponent to promptly schedule a
deposition) and the court may take such action to ensure that depositions are
given in a timely fashion so as to ensure that parties are ready for trial on
the scheduled trial date. The court
will only consider any of the above as a basis for continuance if the party can
show their prompt diligence in scheduling depositions and such.
§ 13.03 Rescheduling Case after
If a case is continued, a new trial date will be assigned at the time of the continuance if practical.
§ 14.01 Issuance of Subpoenas
All subpoenas for witnesses, except for subpoenas issued in “blank”,
shall be issued and signed by the clerk in triplicate.
One copy shall be designated “service copy” and it is to be left with the
witness. One copy shall be
designated “file copy” and retained in the file.
The original shall be the return copy.
Subpoenas issued in blank shall be signed by the Clerk, shall be
completed by the party requesting it and three (3) copies shall be filed with
the clerk within the time frame set out in Rule 19.03(a)(b).
§ 14.02 Clerk’s Duty upon Issuing
of Subpoena; Removal of File Copies
When a subpoena is issued,
the clerk shall:
Deliver the service copy and original to the Sheriff or other authorized
person for service; and
When the original subpoena is returned to the clerk, the Clerk may remove
the file copy and discard it.
§ 14.03 Time for Issuing Subpoenas
Subpoena for a local witness must be issued and dated by the clerk no later than
five (5) days before the date of trial.
If the witness is out of county, the subpoena must be issued by the Clerk and
mailed or otherwise transmitted to the out of county sheriff or other authorized
person no later than seven (7) days before the date on which the case is set for
Jury Cases: Subpoenas
for a local witness must be issued and dated by the clerk no later than seven
(7) days before the trial and ten (10) for out of county.
§ 14.04 Responsibility of Counsel
Counsel of record shall be responsible for insuring the subpoenas are
issued in accordance with this rule and the applicable rules of Civil Procedure.
Nothing prohibits counsel from preparing subpoenas.
The clerk may not refuse to issue a subpoena requested by counsel at any
RULE 15. PRE-TRIAL PROCEDURE
§15.01 Required Procedure
At least seventy-two (72) hours (excluding weekends and holidays) prior to the trial of a case, opposing counsel shall notify each other, in writing, of:
the name and address of all witnesses, including rebuttal or impeachment
identify and make available for viewing all proposed exhibits including
rebuttal or impeachment exhibits.
§ 15.02 Workers’ Compensation
Cases – Pre-Trial form and Procedure
(a) In addition to the above, a copy of all medical or expert depositions, C-32’s or other expert proof to be relied upon by a party as proof at trial shall be mailed or delivered to the Judge’s office at least five (5) days prior to the trial so that the trial Judge may review the proof submitted before trial if his or her trial calendar and schedule permits. Condensed versions will not be accepted.
All parties shall fully complete the Pre-Trial Stipulation and Memorandum
Form for contested workers’ compensation cases appended to these Rules.
See Appendix 5.
the employee shall complete the form and submit it to opposing counsel seven (7)
days before trial. Defense counsel
shall complete the form and submit a copy to the Judge at his/her office and
file the original with the clerk of the court at least five (5) days before
Failure of the parties to stipulate or admit to facts, which should be
stipulated or otherwise complete the Pre-Trial Memorandum Form shall be subject
to sanctions as the court deems just.
RULE 16. EXHIBITS
§ 16.01 Depositions and Discovery
Depositions and discovery material submitted to the court as evidence which are
not read to the court shall be made trial exhibits to the extent they are
admissible under the T.R.C.P.R. and T.R.E.
§ 16.02 Custody of the Clerk
All trial exhibits shall be accounted for and placed in the custody
of the clerk unless otherwise directed by the court.
RULE 17. REQUESTS FOR SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS AND SPECIAL VERDICT
§ 17.01 Requests for Special
When counsel submits special requests pursuant to Rule 51, T.R.C.P. copies shall
be furnished to adversary counsel.
When a request for an instruction is made and the request is for a Tennessee
Pattern Jury Instructions verbatim, the request shall be made by reference to
TPI (Civil) No: _____”. If the
request is for a modification of an existing instruction, the request shall
identify the instruction to be modified by number and identify the deletion or
addition. When a request for an instruction is made and there is no
instruction on the subject in the Tennessee Pattern Jury Instructions, this fact
must be stated in the request. Any
request which seeks to alter or modify a Tennessee Pattern Jury Instruction
shall cite authority relied on and be accompanied by a complete copy of such
§ 17.02 Special Verdicts
Requests for special verdicts or written interrogatories made pursuant to Rule 49, T.R.C.P. must be made before commencement of the trial and must be accompanied by proposed verdict forms, proposed written interrogatories and proposed instructions which will be given to the jury along with the special verdict forms or interrogatories. The court shall inform counsel of its proposed action on the requests prior to their arguments to the jury.
RULE 18. ORDERS AND JUDGMENTS
§ 18.01 Preparation and Submission
of Orders and Judgments
Unless the Court directs otherwise, in all cases wherein orders or
judgments are granted in contested matters, the attorney for the prevailing
party shall prepare the order for signature by the court.
If said order is signed by all parties or counsel, it shall be submitted
directly to the Judge for signature within ten (10) days of the date of the
Orders in contested matters containing the signatures of less than all
the parties or their attorneys shall be submitted to the Judge within ten (10)
days from the date of the court’s decision and the same shall not be entered
immediately, but will be held by the Judge for three (3) days.
When opposing counsel or party receives a copy of a proposed order, he or
she shall notify the Judge immediately in writing of any objection to the same.
Counsel shall immediately mail their objection or an alternative order to
the Judge. If the Judge receives no objection within the three (3) day
period, the order will be signed by the Court.
Where there is a disagreement as to the terms of the order, the court
1. enter the order which reflects the court’s ruling;
2. enter his or her own order, or;
request a transcript of the findings and direct an order be entered in
compliance with same.
(c) All orders prepared by counsel and not signed by all parties or their counsel shall be accompanied by a certificate of counsel that copies of the order or judgment have been served on all parties or counsel of record.
All orders shall be mailed directly to the Judge for his/her signature
and shall be accompanied by an envelope properly addressed to the clerk of the
county in which the action is filed or to the attorney submitting the Order with
sufficient postage affixed thereto to carry it to its destination.
Alternatively, orders may be lodged with the clerk for the court’s
signature. Orders shall not be
filed by the Clerk until signed by the Judge.
§ 18.02 Costs
final judgments shall provide for the taxing of court costs.
§ 18.03 Payment and Satisfaction
(a) Funds paid to the Clerk by check on local banks will not be disbursed until five (5) days after the clerk receives the check. Funds paid to the clerk by checks drawn on out of town banks will not be disbursed until ten (10) days after the clerk receives the check. Alimony and child support checks may be disbursed sooner at the discretion of the Clerk.
Orders for disbursing funds, other than agreed orders, must be final
before the clerk will disburse the funds.
RULE 19. DIVORCE: SPECIAL
§ 19.01 Uncontested Divorce Cases
When a party in default desires to be heard on any matter other than the
basic cause of action, he or she shall notify the court at least seven (7) days
prior to the hearing of the matters upon which he or she desires to be heard and
shall file a brief statement setting forth the nature of the matter.
If a property settlement agreement in a divorce action based on
irreconcilable differences is delivered through personal service, as allowed by
T.C.A. 36-4-103, the statutory requirements regarding service will be strictly
§ 19.02 Time for Hearing
No divorce case where the parties have children under 18 years of age not
otherwise emancipated, shall be heard until the same shall have been filed at
least sixty (60) days unless the court finds some compelling reason why the same
should be so heard.
No divorce shall be heard in any case until thirty (30) days have expired
from the date of service of process; however, the Court may waive this thirty
(30) day requirement. When service
is had by publication the thirty (30) days does not commence to run until the
date of the last publication.
§ 19.03 Contested Divorce Cases
In all contested divorce cases the parties shall submit an affidavit
in conformity with Appendix 6 of
these rules. At least 48 hours
before the day of trial, the parties shall file with the clerk these affidavits.
§ 19.04 Contested Divorces and
Custody: Order of Proof
contested divorce cases, the court will hear the parties to the action before
hearing other witnesses unless, for good cause appearing, the court finds it
desirable to proceed otherwise.
§ 19.05 Pendente Lite Child
Support and Alimony Hearings
Motions and applications for child support and alimony pending the final hearing of a case will be submitted and heard on affidavits. The moving party shall include in the complaint, petition or motion allegations in support of such child support or alimony justifying the relief sought, and prior to the hearing, the parties will submit affidavits in support or opposition to the relief sought. Testimony by witnesses in support or opposition to the motion or application shall not be allowed except by leave of the court for good cause shown.
RULE 20. GUARDIAN AD LITEM:
§ 20.01 Appointment
Guardian Ad Litems shall be appointed by the clerk or by the court.
The clerks of the respective counties shall maintain a roster of active
practicing attorneys from which a guardian ad litem shall be appointed and shall
make a notation of the date as to when a particular attorney has been appointed
as guardian ad litem in a cause.
It shall not be permissible for the plaintiff or other parties to the
action of their representative to nominate the guardian ad litem; provided,
however, if there are peculiar reasons why a particular attorney should be
appointed as guardian ad litem in a particular case, it shall not be improper
for such reasons to be made known to and considered by the clerk or the court in
making such appointment.
§ 20.02 Disqualification as
Guardian Ad Litem
attorney shall be appointed as guardian ad litem if he or she has pecuniary
interest in the outcome of the cause; if he or she is a member of the firm of,
partner or associate of any of the other attorneys involved in the cause or if
any other facts exist which would in any way interfere with said guardian ad
litem fully representing the best interest of the person for whom such
appointment is made.
§ 20.03 Compensation of Guardian
the conclusion of the matter the guardian ad litem shall file with the clerk a
statement detailing the nature and extent of his/her services including the
amount of time spent, what he/she considered to be a reasonable fee for services
rendered and any other facts which might assist the court in fixing the fee for
§ 20.04 Fees of Guardian Ad Litem
Fees for guardian ad litem shall be treated and taxed as costs or as otherwise
provided by statute.
RULE 21. JURORS
In order to ensure that jury duty is not unfairly avoided by any eligible citizen, prospective jurors shall be excused from jury service only upon a showing of undue hardship or other statutory grounds. Clerks, Judges and counsel should impress the importance of jury trials in our system or justice upon those seeking to be excused from jury service. At the same time, the Clerks, Judges and counsel should be aware of the sacrifices that jury service involves and attempt to make the experience of being a juror as pleasant and productive as possible. Lengthy delays before or during trial that require jurors to wait should be avoided if possible and explained by the Judge if the delay cannot be avoided.
RULE 22. TIME STANDARDS FOR THE DISPOSITION OF CASES
§ 22.01 Dismissal of Cases
RULE 23. JUDICIAL MEDIATION
§ 23.01 Request for Mediation
order to facilitate the expeditious hearing of case, to limit the expense of
litigation and to enhance the goals of the judiciary all litigants are
encouraged to seek mediation of cases.
All workers’ compensation cases will be mediated through the Department of Labor
if either party requests mediation.
In all other cases the parties may seek private forms of judicial mediation.
§ 23.02 Scheduling Mediation
If either party requests judicial mediation, an order may be entered by the trial judge assigning the case for mediation. The parties may agree on a judge to conduct the mediation within or without the 15th Judicial District. If the parties cannot agree, then the trial judge may request the assistance of one of the other trial judges in the district as a mediator who shall notify the parties of the time, date and place of mediation. Such assignment shall only be with the concurrence of the other trial judge.
RULES 24 THROUGH 33 APPLY ONLY TO THE CONDUCT OF CRIMINAL CASES
RULE 24. SCHEDULE OF TRIALS AND HEARINGS
§ 24.01 Schedule of Trials and
Regular session of court shall start at the time set by the trial
§ 24.02 Non-Jury Trial Schedule
Non-Jury trials will be set by the Court at the earliest dates available.
§ 24.03 Grand Jury
Grand Jury will be selected at 9:00 A.M. on the first day of the court term in
each county except in Wilson County.
In Wilson County the Grand Jury shall be selected on the second Monday in March,
May, July, September and November.
§ 24.04 Jury Trial Dates
Jury trial dates will be set according to the caseload.
Back-up cases will not be set.
Once a trial is scheduled, the case may only be resolved by trial, dismissal
with prejudice, or on the State’s motion for nolle prosequi approved by the
Court or plea of guilty to the indictment.
RULE 25. TRIALS, HEARINGS AND ATTENDANCE
§ 25.01 Hearings in Open Court
Except for informal and purely routine matters, all hearings will be had in open
Court including motions for continuance.
§ 25.02 Hearings to be on Written
Motion or Plea
Except as provided herein or otherwise required, all matters will be heard on
written motion, petition, or plea, of the moving party (or the party who
otherwise invokes the jurisdiction of the Court) and responsive pleading of
adverse parties when required.
§ 25.03 Attendance of Parties
Attendance of parties shall be governed by Rule 43 of the Tennessee Rules of
RULE 26. WITNESSES
§ 26.01 Witnesses for Grand Jury
The Clerk will issue subpoenas for witnesses listed on the indictments to appear and give testimony on behalf of the State at the session to which such cases are assigned. If other and further witnesses are desired by the State, the District Attorney General shall request that such subpoenas be issued by the Clerk.
§ 26.02 Witness for Trial
The subpoena for any witness, whether for the State or Defendant,
shall be issued at least seven days prior to the date of the trial.
RULE 27. ATTORNEYS
§ 27.01 Withdrawal of Attorney
attorney of record can withdraw from a case only by leave of Court upon written
motion. Such motion shall be heard
pursuant to these rules and it will be the duty of the moving attorney to notify
the Defendant that he/she is required to be present in Court for the hearing.
The attorney will append a certificate of service to his motion.
After a matter is set for trial withdrawal of counsel will only be
allowed in the most urgent of cases.
The court will not consider failure
of the Defendant to pay attorneys fees to be valid grounds for withdrawal after
the matter is set for trial.
§ 27.02 Appointment for Indigents
attorneys licensed to practice in the State of Tennessee and holding themselves
out to practice in the 15th Judicial Circuit are subject to
appointment for indigent defendants and petitioners.
Appointments may be made in open Court or in chambers following
determination of indigency.
Indigency will be determined by examination of the defendant in open court,
where he may be subject to cross-examination by the District Attorney, and by
such proof as is offered. If an
attorney appointed has good cause to believe the party is not in fact indigent,
he may petition to withdraw from the case on that ground.
The decision of indigency by another court shall not be binding upon
other Judges of this jurisdiction.
Attorneys appointed to represent indigent defendants shall however continue to
appear for that defendant until relieved of representation by the Court in which
the defendant’s case is currently pending.
RULE 28. FILING OF PLEADINGS, MOTIONS AND CONTINUANCES
§ 28.01 Writing and Paper Required
pleadings and motions must be typewritten, double-spaced, in black ink, upon
regular legal paper, eleven (11) inches long and eight and one half (8 ½) inches
wide, having a blank margin on the left side of every page.
§ 28.02 Service and Filing
service of all pleadings and motions shall be governed by Rule 49 of the
Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure.
§ 28.03 Use of Faxed Orders
If it is necessary to make use of a facsimile for the purpose of
obtaining the signature of a Judge on an Order, the party presenting such Order
shall immediately thereafter mail or otherwise deliver the original of such
Order to the appropriate Judge and such original Order shall be signed and
entered nunc pro tunc to the time the facsimile was signed and shall be entered
in the record of the matter in which the Order was presented.
§ 28.04 Time for Hearings and
Pre-trial motions shall be heard on the second Tuesday of each term of Criminal
Court in Wilson County. Pre-trial
motions in all other counties of the 15th Judicial District shall be
on the opening day of court of each scheduled term or on any other date or time
as set by the trial Judge. All
motions shall be heard prior to the trial of the case. The burden is on the
proponent of the motion to schedule their motion on a date and time set aside
for motions by this rule.
§ 28.05 Failure to Appear at
counsel for movant does not appear at a scheduled hearing on a motion or any
other matter scheduled to be heard on the motion docket, the Court may strike,
overrule or otherwise dispose of the motion.
§ 28.06 Title
Motions, petitions, and other pleadings will bear a brief title descriptive of
or suggesting content. The Court
will then use this title for listing such motions on the Judges’ dockets.
§ 28.07 Oral Motion
Oral motions may be entertained within the Court’s discretion upon adequate
notice to adverse or affected parties or without notice when necessary.
Such motions can be made in open court and should be made immediately
after the opening of Court for the day and may be entertained at other times if
necessary and when possible.
RULE 29. PREPARATION AND DISSEMINATION OF ORDERS
§ 29.01 Preparation and Submission
of Orders and Judgments
Unless the Court directs counsel to prepare an order for entry by the Court, all
orders and judgments will be prepared by the District Attorney General.
RULE 30. NEGOTIATIONS AND SETTLEMENTS
The State shall make its offer of settlement, if any, to the Defendant as soon as practicable after arraignment. The Defendant shall sign any plea documents before entering Court on disposition dates. Disposition dates may only be continued at the discretion of the Court. The Court shall place all cases not settled or continued on the trial calendar and they shall try the case on the date the Court reserves for jury trials. If a plea or a negotiated compromise is not introduced upon the last disposition date, then the Court shall only accept a plea to crime(s) charged in the indictment and the Court shall thereafter determine the sentence.
RULE 31. DISCOVERY
defendant shall file all discovery motions within ten (10) days from the
arraignment date. The State of
Tennessee shall file its answer to the motion for discovery within twenty (20)
days of service along with any motions the State of Tennessee deems necessary.
The defendant shall file a response to the State’s motion within twenty
(20) days of the State filing a reciprocal motion for discovery.
RULE 32. BAIL BONDS, FORFEITURES AND RELIEF
matters concerning bail bonds, forfeitures and relief are subject to the local
rules of practice for bail bonds amended January 1, 2001 and placed in effect
March 1, 2001, which are attached hereto as
RULE 33. GENERAL SESSIONS APPEAL DOCKET
Upon the filing of a General Sessions Appeal of a criminal matter, the clerk
shall docket such appeal on the first day of Criminal Court following the
The attorney and the defendant shall appear at the time docketed and
thereafter the handling of the appeal shall be same as all other cases in the
Criminal Court and subject to these rules.
Failure of the defendant to appear upon the date in which the matter is
docketed shall result in the appeal being denied and the case remanded back to
the General Sessions Court for the judgment of that Court to be final.
The local rules governing Probate matters shall be promulgated by the trial judge or court having jurisdiction in each individual county of the 15th Judicial District.
The Local Rules of Practice and Procedure for the Fifteenth Judicial District shall take effect on the 20th day of June, 2002.
HONORABLE C. K. SMITH
HONORABLE CLARA BYRD
HONORABLE JOHN D. WOOTTEN, JR.
HONORABLE J. O. BOND