1. What are your preferred procedures regarding motion practice?
Not answered by the Judge.
2. What are your preferred procedures regarding hearings?
Not answered by the Judge.
3. What do you expect the attorneys to have ready at the pretrial conference?
Prosecutor should tender an offer before the pretrial if possible to allow the defense attorney to discuss it with his/her client in advance. All discovery should be up to date as of the pretrial date.
4. At what point to you expect the parties to undertake ADR, if at all?
Not answered by the Judge..
5. At what point, if any, do you encourage the parties to settle or to exchange settlement offers/demands? Does that vary by type of case (personal injury, family, criminal, etc.?)
See question # 3 above
6. Do you require that a person with ultimate authority to settle be present at settlement negotiations?
Yes. Any approval from supervisors should be obtained in advance, having anticipated counter offers.
7. How do you expect the parties to handle discovery disputes (including calling you for a ruling during a deposition)?
Anything disputed should be subpoenaed for in-camera review pursuant to the case law. Witness lists should be exchanged in advance of the trial date.
8. Do you conduct hearings and motions by phone? If so, please describe the procedure you would like attorneys to use to do so, including how testimony is to be transcribed and who puts the teleconference together.
All criminal matters require the presence of the defendant, making phone conferences impossible.
9. Do you have any preferences for courtroom decorum (including but not limited to cell phones, pagers, passing notes, communicating with others at counsel table, water/beverages at counsel table, approaching the witness, courtroom attire)?
Exhibits shall be premarked without party designation. States exhibits start at #1, defense exhibits start at !00 or some lower agreed upon number. Attorneys should arrive at least 5 minutes early. If any evidentiary matter needs to be addressed that will be done before court or at the lunch break. Attorneys shall not argue objections, offer to stipulate, or make requests of the other party before the jury. Offers of proof should generally be made in writing during recesses. Attorneys shall address the court, not each other with objections, requests, comments. They should conduct themselves with the appropriate formality addressing court personnel, witnesses, parties, opposing counsel and the members of the jury by their last names. The rules of decorum should be followed. Cell phones and pagers may not go off during court. Water is provided at counsel table. Any other beverages should be in cups without labels. (no product placement)
10. When, if ever, would you consider issuing sanctions, formal reprimands, holding an attorney in contempt, or reporting an attorney for unethical behavior?
If the rules of decorum are repeatedly violated. If direct orders are ignored.
11. Under what circumstances do you accept ex parte communications from counsel? Do you consider an attorney’s communication with your clerk a potential ex parte communication?
There should be no ex parte communication in criminal matters. Communication with the clerks should be for the purposes of scheduling only.
12. What is your practice with granting continuances and under what circumstances would you consider granting one?
As the rules and the case law dictate.
13. With respect to oral argument, do you prefer an attorney to assume you have read the supporting memorandum and exhibits and not reiterate written material?
14. What do you consider to be the basic requirements of good oral argument (including the amount of time appropriate for oral argument)?
Arguments should generally last no longer than 15 minutes per party, should not reiterate matters already briefed and should identify what the party arguing sees as the most salient points. If I have specific areas of interest, I will interrupt with questions.
15. What preferences do you have for jury trials? How do you prefer voir dire to be conducted?
The Jury Task Force report recommendation on jury selection will be followed.
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Originally published in the January 2001 issue.
Author: Susan L. Segal
Lauded by Gov. Jesse Ventura as a judicial appointee with "a great combination of book smarts and street smarts," Kathryn Quaintance is a remarkable addition to the Hennepin County bench. Quaintance has depth of substantive legal expertise, strong administrative skills, and the strength of personality that will ensure her courtroom is a place where the best and highest principles of our judicial system are always in control.
Quaintance comes to the bench from her position as the deputy Hennepin County attorney in charge of the Criminal Division. She has been a prosecutor in the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office since 1990. As an assistant Hennepin County attorney, Quaintance won wide respect for her work in prosecuting sex offense, child abuse, and homicide cases. In 1996, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman promoted Quaintance to a supervisory position, managing the Domestic Violence unit of the office. In that position, Quaintance spearheaded a policy of prosecuting domestic violence felony cases even when the victim declined to cooperate. Quaintance was presented in 1998 with the Children’s Justice Act Award for leadership in advocacy for children. In 1999, WATCH, a nonprofit organization that monitors court activity relating to domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse, presented her with the Gold WATCH Award.
Michael Colich, a criminal defense attorney who has had many cases against Quaintance, characterizes her as one of the toughest opponents he has battled, but states that she is never without compassion. He believes she will bring to the bench the ability to understand the law and the responsibilities of the job, while according parties the type of fair and respectful treatment they would hope to receive from the court.
In January 1999, Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar appointed Quaintance to the position of deputy Hennepin County attorney in charge of the Criminal Division of the office. Quaintance has provided able leadership to the office in that job and has helped implement the community prosecution initiative, a lynchpin of Klobuchar’s administration. Quaintance and County Attorney Klobuchar also have a personal connection, predating the county attorney’s office. Klobuchar was present the night that Quaintance met the man she would later marry, though Klobuchar denies that she served as a matchmaker.
Klobuchar echoes the sentiment expressed by Governor Ventura in his announcement of Quaintance’s judicial appointment, that Quaintance will be able to "hit the ground running." Klobuchar notes that Quaintance is not only an excellent lawyer, but also has a strong grasp of system issues that face the court system and will undoubtedly continue to work for greater public accountability of the court system from her new position on the bench. On the subject of Quaintance’s administrative talent, Klobuchar reflects that anyone who can successfully manage the Criminal Division of the prosecutor’s office of a major county is fully equipped to handle anything and everything that might come her way.
Quaintance grew up in Highland Park, N. J., the daughter of an English professor and a librarian. Foreshadowing her future as a trial attorney, Quaintance took an early interest in drama and graduated from Smith College in 1977 as a theater major. She worked as an actor at a theater in Northampton, Mass., and in New York City, "way, way off Broadway," notes Quaintance. Perhaps also in preparation for her future as a judge, Quaintance appeared in a number of soap operas while in New York. Quaintance pointed out that this is one prior job experience that she and Governor Ventura have in common, but she never had the opportunity during her interview with the governor to share this with him.
Quaintance graduated from Rutgers Law School in Newark, N. J., in 1986. She spent a summer clerking at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office while at law school. She worked at the office when Andrew Cuomo and Henry Kissinger’s son were assistant district attorneys, but missed John F. Kennedy, Jr., who did not arrive until later. She worked with some of the top prosecutors in the country and loved the experience. After graduation, Quaintance headed to Minnesota and was an associate with Robins, Kaplan, Miller and Ciresi from 1986 to 1990, where she worked on complex civil litigation matters.
Quaintance lives in Minneapolis. She is married to Richard Sullivan, a psychologist at the Minnesota Correctional Facility at Shakopee, and the mother of two active boys: Conor is 6 years old and Owen is 4. While the boys might try some mischief from time to time, they also agree with the assessment expressed by our governor about Quaintance, that "nobody can pull the wool over her eyes." Quaintance is involved in the community and serves on a number of professional and nonprofit boards and committees, including the Minnesota Supreme Court Criminal Rules Committee and the board of the New Classic Theater Company.
Quaintance is excited about her new role as a judge. She states she is happy to be getting back to the courtroom after two years of focusing largely on administration. Quaintance is a skilled trial lawyer and even as a supervisor and deputy for the county attorney’s office continued to try cases. Quaintance states, however, that she is mindful of the restraint needed to be a judge and will control any urges she might have to jump in and help try cases for the lawyers appearing in her courtroom. Quaintance notes that she has been in that position before and will try to avoid that mistake.
Quaintance believes this is an opportune time for her to join the Hennepin County bench. She sees a commitment on the part of the bench, the county attorney’s office, and the public defender’s office to improve the accountability and efficiency of the court system without compromising integrity. She has been actively involved over the past two years in working with the judiciary and the public defender’s office to make the justice system more responsive to the public, not just to the system insiders, and will continue to work toward that goal in her new position as a judge. Quaintance commands the respect of her new colleagues on the bench as well as the lawyers who will appear before her. She is a wonderful addition to the Hennepin County bench.
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