Division “E” Videoconferencing

During the COVID-19 outbreak, Judge Koch is conducting many hearings via videoconferencing using the Zoom platform. Judge Koch will host the videoconference on scheduled days and may use an a.m. feed for morning hearings and a p.m. feed for afternoon hearings.

This procedure is designed to limit the amount of people physically present at the courthouse while continuing to serve the public as much as possible. If you feel this procedure is a violation of your rights, or your client’s rights, you may state your objection at the videoconferencing hearing and the Judge will determine whether or not to reschedule the hearing.

During all Zoom hearings, please keep your microphone muted while you are not being addressed. Business casual attire is permitted.

Should you have any questions or need assistance, feel free to contact Judge Koch’s Judicial Assistant, Christie Gallagher at cgallagher@9thjdc.com or by phone at 318-767-2822.

Scheduling

DO NOT SCHEDULE YOUR OWN ZOOM HEARING – YOU MUST USE THE COURT’S CREDENTIALS. You must file your motion and order into the court file. Failure to do so may result in cancellation of your hearing. All hearings will use the same meeting credentials for the morning segment or the afternoon segment. Please understand that each session’s sign in credentials are different and cannot be transferred.

To schedule a special setting with Judge Koch, please send an email to the Judge Koch’s Judge Koch’s Judicial Assistant, Christie Gallagher at cgallagher@9thjdc.com to obtain available dates and times. Be sure to attach a copy of the motion to your email. In the body of your email, specify how much time you are requesting for the hearing, being mindful of the fact that both sides should have equal time to present and argue to the Court. Once a hearing date and time is set, the Court will create a Zoom hearing and email the hearing information and invitation to the attorneys of record and pro se parties, if an email address is readily available to the Court.


Suggested Notification to Add to the Notice of Hearing

A suggested notification to include on a notice of hearing is as follows:

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, civil hearings may be held remotely via Zoom video conferencing. For matters scheduled for video conference, all individuals must attend using the Zoom platform. Please select the “Join A Meeting” link and then enter the Meeting ID to access the hearing. There are no fees for attending this court hearing via the Zoom platform. With Court approval, the Zoom platform allows individuals to appear via telephone if they do not have an available camera. The log-in credentials are:

Meeting ID:     [fill in]
Password:       [fill in]
Telephone:      [fill in] and use the same Meeting ID

If the credentials to access the Court hearing are not listed in this notice of hearing, please visit the Court’s Zoom access page for Division “E” at https://9thjdc.org/court-calendar/division-e/division-e-videoconferencing/. Staff will place the credential information on this website a few days prior to the hearing.


Cancellations

If the Movant intends to cancel a hearing that is set to be heard, the Movant should send an e-mail to Division “E”, with other parties copied, confirming that the hearing is cancelled.


Division “E” Videoconferencing Guidelines
Non-evidentiary Hearings

If the Movant intends to go forward via videoconferencing with a non-evidentiary hearing that was previously scheduled, Court approval is not required. The Movant should send an email to Division “E”, with the other parties copied, confirming that the hearing remains set and will be heard via Zoom.  It would be helpful if the Notice of Hearing and Motion are attached to the email. The Movant should also follow the appropriate Division “E” Guidelines below.


Evidentiary Hearings

For matters that are set for an evidentiary hearing or trial, the Movant should send an email to Division “E”, with the other parties copied, to ask if the court will hear the matter via Zoom.  It would be helpful if the Notice of Hearing and Motion are attached to the e-mail.  If the Court agrees to hear the matter via Zoom, the Movant should follow the Division “E” Guidelines below.


Exhibits

Before the hearing, send to the division email, in PDF format:

  1. A Table of Exhibits.
  2. Each exhibit as a separate file, labeled “Plaintiff 1” or “Defendant A” and so on
  3. Confer with opposing counsel to determine what exhibits are stipulated and what evidentiary objections each side is maintaining and avoid duplicate exhibits.
  4. Practice using the screenshare function on Zoom and have your exhibits readily accessible on your computer to screenshare during the hearing if permitted by the judge.
  5. Provide your witnesses with exhibits prior to the hearing.

Witnesses

Make sure your witness has a device to attend the hearing and an appropriate location to sit during hearing, free of distractions. Test your set-up ahead of time to ensure there is no echoing or other technical issues. Advise witnesses of Zoom courtroom procedure and etiquette such as:

  1. Witnesses shall not communicate with anyone during their testimony. This means no texting or chatting on any device or talking to anyone physically in the room.
  2. Reinforce that even though the hearing is being conducted virtually, it is still a courtroom subject to the penalties of perjury or contempt.
  3. Rule of Sequestration: Advise the witness that if the rule is invoked, the witness will either be asked to login to Zoom when it’s their turn, or to sit in a zoom “waiting room” while the hearing is proceeding. Explain the rule.
  4. Proper attire, a distraction free environment. No multitasking. Turn off ringers and alerts that make noise. Make sure Zoom displays the witness’s proper name.
  5. Let the attorney or judge finish speaking before answering questions. When an objection is made, stop talking and let the judge rule on the objection. Mute microphone when not being addressed.
  6. Procedure for disconnection: Advise the witness to attempt to re-enter the meeting if they are inadvertently disconnected and instruct the witness to contact you by phone or email for further instructions if they are unable to rejoin the zoom hearing.

Testimony by Telephone

In exceptional circumstances, witnesses may be permitted to testify by telephone. This will depend on the reason, nature of the witness and subject of the witness’s testimony, and whether a telephonic examination will be fair and not prejudice the presentation of any party.