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Civil Litigation Section

Judges' Courtroom Preferences

In Minnesota, there are currently 293 district court judges who preside over matters in ten judicial districts. While the Minnesota Rules of Court provide attorneys with significant information applicable to court proceedings, each judge may have his or her individual preferences with respect to motion practice and courtroom conduct.

In an effort to assist attorneys who may be appearing before a judge for the first time, the MSBA Civil Litigation Section Governing Council provided all district court judges with a brief questionnaire. The responses that we received are organized here by judicial district and the judge’s name. We hope you find these responses to be helpful in your preparation for district court appearances.

For information about this project or to report an error in any judicial directory listing, contact Jennifer Carter, MSBA staff liaison to the Civil Litigation Section.


Eighth Judicial District Judges


Slieter, Randall J.

District Court Judge

Counties: Renville

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? 5 minutes; most of the time is devoted to answering my questions
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? 5 minutes; most of the time is devoted to answering my questions
  • With respect to oral argument, do you prefer an attorney to not reiterate written material? No
  • Do you regularly conduct hearings and motions by phone? No
    If yes, 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: [No Answer Entered]
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: I allow discretion with attorneys whether to stand during hearing; I prefer to ask questions and, therefore, prefer the attorneys focus on those questions. I typically allow for brief additional comment following the answer to my questions if the attorney feels necessary.
  • Do you like to receive courtesy copies of motion papers? Yes
Discovery Disputes
  • Do you require counsel to "meet and confer" before bringing discovery disputes to a hearing? Yes
  • Will you accept telephone calls from attorneys to rule on discovery disputes that occur during the course of a deposition? Yes
Pretrial Procedures
  • When do you normally set the pretrial in relation to the trial? within 30 days
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? No
  • When are jury instructions due? Typically no later than either 7 or 14 days of trial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? Same as above
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? Same as above
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? Same as above
  • Do you discuss settlement of the case with the parties at the time of the pretrial? Yes
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys to follow at the time of the pretrial: Focus first on settlement and let the Judge know what role to play in facilitating settlement. Second, discuss anticipated trial issues, motions in limine, jury instructions, trial evidence notebook for jury, etc.
Continuances and Changes in the Scheduling Order
  • For changes in the scheduling order, except date of trial: I normally allow such changes if counsel agree.
  • For changes on the date of trial: Such changes are not allowed without special written request or a motion to the court.
  • Under what circumstances would you consider granting a change in the trial date? Settlement likely; new parties; new evidence; attorney emergency created conflicts, etc.
Civil Jury Trials
  • Do you perform preliminary voir dire? Yes
  • Do you place a time limit on voir dire by counsel? No
  • Is there subject matter you will not permit counsel to ask of the jury? Yes
    If yes, please explain: depends upon the case; questions must relate to purpose of voir dire and not used as opportunity to persuade prospective jurors;
  • Do you require counsel to sit or stand during questioning of witnesses? Stand
  • Do you require counsel to be behind counsel table unless counsel has a specific reason to approach a witness? Yes
  • Do you normally require counsel to meet each morning with the court before the jury comes into the courtroom? Yes
    If yes, how many minutes before court commences? 30 minutes
  • I normally start jury trials at: 8:00 a.m. for attorneys;
  • I normally give the jury a break of 15 minutes in the morning.
  • I normally take a lunch break at: approximately 12:00 Noon (depending upon witness schedule and timing of questions)
  • I normally give the jury a break of 15 minutes in the afternoon.
  • I normally finish court for the day at: ranges from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. and later if jury deliberations
  • Do you permit jurors to:
    Take Notes: Yes
    Keep notes during deliberation? Yes
    Ask the witnesses questions? No
  • If counsel asks to approach to argue a ruling, do you generally: Engage in the discussion at the bench with the jury present.
  • Do you place a time limit on final argument? No
    If yes, If yes, what is the time limit? [No Answer Entered]
  • When do you instruct the jury? After argument
  • After argument and instructions, do you:
    Require counsel to be available by telephone? Yes
    Request that counsel remain at the courthouse during deliberations of the jury? No
    Take a verdict without counsel present and inform them after the verdict by telephone of the result? Yes
Sanctions of Counsel
  • Have you ever sanctioned counsel with imposition of a fine? No
    Or jail? No
  • Have you ever held counsel in contempt of court? No
  • Have you ever reported an attorney for unethical behavior? No
  • When, if ever, would you consider issuing sanctions, formal reprimands, holding an attorney in contempt, or reporting an attorney for unethical behavior? If the attorneys behavior, following repeated outside of jury warnings, interrupts the presentation of the case by all parties fairly and within rules of evidence and which also interferes with juries' ability to properly consider evidence;

Judicial Districts