203 fUlton CoUnty SUperior CoUrt // jUDICIAL pROfILEs «
Cases: Motions, such as suppression motions, are usually heard
weeks before the day of trial. b) Civil Cases: Only motions in
limine are handled the day of trial, although it is best if parties
can resolve these before coming to trial and advise court of
those matters that require court rulings.
18. What constitutes good cause for:
a) Granting continuances: Continuances may not be simply agreed to by counsel. Court will usually only grant one
continuance without justification. Any additional continuance
would require exceptional circumstances.
b) Extending discovery: Parties may not simply consent to
extensions of discovery. All cases are governed by scheduling
orders and can only be altered by court order.
19. Order preparation guidelines: Generally don’t like findings
of fact, unless the court specifies.
20. Suggestions/admonitions for counsel:
21. Irritating lawyer conduct: Trial taking longer than originally
announced. Parties not familiar with documents of opposing
parties. Simply reading a brief at oral argument.
22. Other recommendations: Show up on time and be ready
judge Myra H. Dixon
College: Tennessee State
Law school: Howard University,
Born: July 2, 1953, Memphis, Tenn.
previous Experience: Attorney for
general counsel of Navy, 1978-80;
assistant U.S. attorney for Northern District of Georgia, 1983-
1985; partner, Thomas, Kennedy, Sampson & Patterson, 1985-
1998; pro hac judge, city of Atlanta Municipal Court; assistant
public defender for Fulton County; judge, city of Atlanta, 1998-
1999; current position, 1999-present
policies, procedures and Recommendations:
1. Division designation: C.
2. Pretrial conferences and pretrial orders: Yes.
3. Require dispute resolution: If it appears that the parties
could benefit from alternative dispute resolution (ADR) or if
any party request that their case be sent to ADR.
4. Telephone conferencing: Yes, it is a possibility.
5. Special settings: Yes, but only in extenuating circumstances.
6. Attaching supporting authorities: It is very helpful, but not
7. Letter briefs: Usually after oral argument when requested by
8. Filings on computer disk: Yes, counsel are required to submit
Request to Charge on disk.
9. Voir dire: Jurors are seated on the benches in the courtroom.
judge Diane E. Bessen
College: Emory University, 1979
Law school: Emory University,
Born: Liberty, N. Y.
previous Experience: Associate,
McGinn, Webb & Warner; solo
practitioner; pro hac and full-time
Fulton County magistrate, 1996-2002; pro hac city court of
Atlanta, 1997-2000; current position, 2002-present
policies, procedures and Recommendations:
1. Division designation: J.
2. Pretrial conferences and pretrial orders: Don’t generally
conduct pretrial conferences but will always invite phone
conferences if matters arise that require court input.
3. Require dispute resolution: Almost all cases are referred to
mediation, at least once. As a registered mediator, I will also offer my services to parties that feel a judicial perspective would
4. Telephone conferencing: Highly encouraged, in fact I prefer
attorneys contact my staff attorney to request judicial intervention, before filing discovery motions.
5. Special settings: Yes. Best to request a special setting as
soon as any party anticipates the need. We now can schedule
special settings a year in advance.
6. Attaching supporting authorities: When filing briefs/mo-tions in court, copies of cases are helpful.
7. Letter briefs: Never permitted.
8. Filings on computer disk: Yes, especially jury charges, which
are required on disk.
9. Voir dire: Pool is seated in audience with juror No. 1 seated
on the RIGHT, because of the way they enter the courtroom.
Conducted in two phases. First there are general questions to
the group as a whole and then attorneys will have the opportunity to individually question each juror.
10. Court hours/breaks: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lunch: one hour or
11. Available audio-visual equipment: There is a 60-inch flat
screen with DVD player, attached to the wall.
12. Using audio-visual equipment:
13. Trial exhibits: Exhibits should be labeled and exchanged
before trial begins.
14. Courtroom decorum: No rules governing decorum.
15. Jury charges: With the exception of pattern charges, attorneys may submit up to 15 additional charges, which should
be efiled. Attorneys should also bring to court a paper copy of
charges, along with a copy on a compact disk.
16. Pattern charges: Request every charge you anticipate
17. Resolving pretrial issues prior to striking jury a) Criminal