Administrative Order 98-2: Ex Parte Communication of Litigants in District Court Cases (Amended 98-1)

Whereas, in District Court cases, a growing number of litigants are writing directly to the Court to convey information to the Court or to influence the Court's judgment regarding their case, and

Whereas the Canons of Judicial Conduct Canon 3(a)(4) specifically prohibits a judge from participating in any "ex parte communication concerning a pending or impending proceeding,"

Now, therefore, it is hereby ordered that all direct correspondence involving District Court cases received from litigants in civil or criminal cases shall be handled as follows:

1. The judge's secretary, or the Clerk of the Court, shall make duplicate copies of all correspondence sent directly to the Court by a litigant in either a civil or criminal case. In a civil case, a copy of the correspondence shall be sent to the attorneys of record and in a criminal case, to the prosecuting attorney and the defense attorney. In addition, in a criminal case in which a pre-sentence report has been ordered but not yet delivered, the secretary or clerk shall send a copy of such correspondence to the pre-sentence investigator.

2. The secretary or clerk shall then place the original correspondence in the case file with the notation that it was opened by staff personnel and has not been read or reviewed by the Court.

Dated this 8th day of April, 1998.

Signed by Sergio A. Gutierrez, Administrative District Judge

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