Getting Your Message to the Judge
Motion Practice (Civil Rule 77)
There are only two acceptable ways to communicate with the Judge:
1) in writing by Motion Practice, with both sides participating, or
2) in person at a Hearing set by the Judge, with both sides present.
You must always start by filing something in writing, or in other words, by filing a Motion, with the required Affidavit and Memorandum and Order attached. Because both sides must have an opportunity to speak, you MUST send a copy of your Motion, Affidavit and Memorandum and Order to the opposing party by 1st class mail or hand delivery.
The opposing party has 10 days, plus three days if your Motion was mailed, to file an Opposition, Affidavit and Memorandum and Order, telling the Judge his or her side of the story. The opposing party must also send or deliver to you copies of the Opposition, Affidavit and Memorandum and Order filed in Court.
The moving party may file a Reply to the Opposition within 5 days, + 3 days if the Opposition was mailed.
NOTE: In most courts, no papers will go to the Judge until the time has run allowing all papers to be filed.
SUMMARY OF MOTION PRACTICE
- Affidavit and Memorandum 10 days plus 3 days if
- Order mailed
How to count time:
Civil Rule 6(a):
- don’t count first day
- do count last day
- count Saturday, Sunday, holiday if NOT last day
- if <7 days, don’t count Saturday, Sunday or Holiday
- Affidavit and Memorandum
- Order 5 days plus 3 days if
Motions and Oppositions
The Motion or Opposition is like a cover page; it tells the Judge what you want and why you want it in a few short sentences. Your Motion or Opposition also tells the Judge what other required or optional documents are attached, and whether you are requesting a Hearing or whether there is an emergency.
Affidavit and Memorandums
The Affidavit and Memorandum is where you tell the Judge why you should get what you say you want. You tell the Judge all the important and relevant facts, and make any argument that helps support your request. Since this is a sworn statement, you must sign it in front of a Notary. You will need picture I.D. when you sign.
The Order is the document you are asking the Judge to sign. It tells anyone who reads it exactly what the Judge has ordered in very simple, clear terms. For example, if you did a Motion for Return of Vehicle, the Order would state very simply something like: Defendant shall return the 1998 Dodge Caravan to Plaintiff by 6:00 p.m. on January 1, 2001. It should be short and to the point. Do NOT sign and date the proposed Order. If the Judge agrees with you, he/she may sign your proposed Order, change it or sign a different Order.
THINGS TO REMEMBER:
It’s a process: Motion, Opposition, and Reply - pay attention to the deadlines for each.
Motions and Oppositions must be supported by an Affidavit and Memorandum and Order.
You must bring picture I.D. to show the Notary when you sign any Affidavit.
You must serve the other side by 1st class mail or hand delivery with every document you file in Court.
GETTING YOUR MESSAGE TO THE JUDGE SHC-1380 (10/15)