Criminal Matters

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Arraignments and initial bail and detention determinations generally are conducted by the magistrate judge. Review of those decisions is by written motion, which the Court will address promptly. Counsel must furnish a copy of the motion to review a detention order to the assigned pretrial services officer.


There is a strong preference that plea agreements be in writing. Judge Lawson does not object to plea agreements that involve sentencing recommendations under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(c)(1)(B) or (C). In the Criminal Trial Notice and Scheduling Order, the Court will establish a plea cut-off deadline and final pretrial date approximately two weeks before trial beyond which no plea agreements will be accepted.

Discovery Procedures:

Unless there is a well-founded concern for the safety of the witness, the parties are strongly encouraged to provide Jencks and reciprocal Jencks material no later than the day before the final pretrial conference and plea cut-off date, or sooner if the parties agree.

Presence of the Defendant:

The defendant must be present at all court hearings unless prior permission to be absent is obtained from the Court. If a writ is required, it must be submitted four weeks before the court date.

Sentencing Practices:

Sentencing recommendations of the probation officer are not divulged. Counsel must raise any objections to presentence investigative reports, guideline computations, and other such matters in writing before sentencing in accordance with Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 32(b)(6). The procedure for filing objections and a sentencing memorandum is set forth in the Court's Standing Order Prescribing Sentencing Procedures. If a party intends to present witnesses at a sentencing hearing, the party must contact the case manager one week in advance to advise.