» jUDICIAL pROfILEs // DekAlB CoUnty StAte CoUrt 178
than addressing the court.
22. Other recommendations: No.
judge janis C. Gordon
College: Emory University, B.A.,
1975, University of Chicago, M.A.,
Law school: Duke University, 1979
Born: Aug. 26, 1954, Baltimore
previous Experience: Federal
prosecutor, violent crimes, U.S.
attorney’s office, 1979-89; civil
practitioner, McKenzie & McPhail, 1989-90; assistant district
attorney, Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, 1990-
91; federal prosecutor narcotics and organized crime, U.S.
attorney’s office, 1991-2002; current position, 2003-present
policies, procedures and Recommendations:
1. Division designation: 7.
2. Pretrial conferences and pretrial orders: Yes, pretrial orders
are required, pretrial conferences are encouraged.
3. Require dispute resolution: Civil cases in which a jury trial is
demanded are sent to ADR, on a case-by-case basis; non-jury
cases may proceed to ADR if all parties consent.
4. Telephone conferencing: Yes.
5. Special settings: Yes, for complex or lengthy cases.
6. Attaching supporting authorities: Yes, but be precise and
7. Letter briefs: Yes.
8. Filings on computer disk: No. Hard copy filing is required. In
addition to hard copy, the court would appreciate a copy of
requested jury charges on disk.
9. Voir dire: Jurors will be seated in the jury box, and if necessary, in the gallery. I will ask qualifying questions. Then each
sides’ attorney may ask general questions, without follow-up.
Next, the first juror will stand and recite his or her biographical data. At that time each party may ask follow-up questions
regarding the juror’s biographical data or any responses the
juror gave to the general questions. This procedure will be followed with respect to each juror. Challenges for cause will be
heard at the bench. The jury will be struck by passing a list.
10. Court hours/breaks: 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. 15-minute morning and
afternoon breaks. Lunch break at a convenient breaking point
in the trial, generally 12:30-1: 30 p.m.
11. Available audio-visual equipment: TV/VCR.
12. Using audio-visual equipment: Inform calendar clerk of AV
needs before trial, and set up and test equipment in advance.
13. Trial exhibits: Mark and exchange exhibits in accordance
with U.S.C.R., and stipulate the admissibility of records if possible. Prepare an exhibit list, with copies provided to the court,
the calendar clerk and opposing counsel.
civil litigation practice with some
domestic and criminal work, 1977-
84; part-time judge, DeKalb County
Magistrate Court, 1983-85; chief
judge, DeKalb County Magistrate
Court, 1985-98; State Court
judge, Dekalb County Division 3,
1998-present, current position.
policies, procedures and
1. Division designation: 3.
2. Pretrial conferences and pretrial orders: Yes, in civil jury
3. Require dispute resolution: Yes, contested civil cases with
jury demands, or upon court order.
4. Telephone conferencing: Yes, occasionally.
5. Special settings: Yes.
6. Attaching supporting authorities: Yes, if submitted at trial or
with letter brief.
7. Letter briefs: Yes; submit in letter form supplemental briefs,
i.e., after an oral argument.
8. Filings on computer disk: Yes, submit lengthy or complex
orders on disk in WordPerfect.
9. Voir dire: Jurors seated in audience benches, nine to 10
per row. General questions to entire panel first with limited
follow-up. Individual questioning follows. The court generally addresses personal hardship for jurors prior to individual
10. Court hours/breaks: 9 a.m. to 5: 30 p.m.; later and subsequent trial days if jury amenable.
11. Available audio-visual equipment: TV monitor with VCR.
12. Using audio-visual equipment: Announce needs at calendar call and arrange in advance.
13. Trial exhibits: The longer the case, the more strongly I
expect exchange of pre-marked exhibits, with objected-to
exhibits identified in advance.
14. Courtroom decorum: One lawyer per witness per party.
Objections by same lawyer as examiner. Direct remarks to
court not counsel.
15. Jury charges: No.
16. Pattern charges: Yes, but written reference to number.
17. Resolving pretrial issues prior to striking jury
a) Criminal: Yes.
b) Civil: Yes.
18. What constitutes good cause for granting continuances:
No general rule can be stated other than continuances are
normally automatic, except in the oldest cases, and that the
court normally expects a party/ attorney requesting continuance to contact the other side first.
19. Order preparation guidelines: No.
20. Suggestions/admonitions for counsel: Formal request for
supplementary responses under 9-11-26 (e) ( 3) help clarify
discovery responsibilities. Multiple copies of important legal
authority at trial are helpful.
21. Irritating lawyer conduct: Arguing with each other rather