Federal Judicial Service
District Judge, United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida
Nominated by Barack Obama on February 6, 2014, to a seat vacated by Judge James Moody, Jr. Confirmed by the Senate on June 24, 2014, and received commission on June 24, 2014.
Miami Dade College, A.A., 1981
University of Michigan, A.B., 1983
Louisiana State University, Paul M. Hebert Law Center, J.D., 1986
United States Army Captain, JAG Corps, 1986–1990
United States Army Reserve, 1990–1994
Private Practice, Orlando, Florida, 1990–1991, 2003–2004, 2005–2014
Assistant United States Attorney, Middle District of Florida, 1991–2001
Senior Trial Attorney, Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, The Hague, 2001–2003
Trial Attorney, Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, United States Department of Justice, 2004–2005
Scheduling Orders and Pretrial Conferences
The court will ordinarily enter a scheduling order within 14 days of the filing of the case management report. A preliminary pretrial conference will not be held unless the parties request one or the court deems one necessary. The magistrate judge assigned to the case normally conducts the preliminary pretrial conference.
Judge Byron ordinarily conducts a final pretrial conference in each civil case about three weeks before trial. Motions in limine will be heard at that time. Final pretrial conferences are set in the case management and scheduling order.
When filing motions electronically, it is unnecessary to provide the judge’s staff with courtesy copies, but if a motion is filed in open court, a separate copy should be provided to the judge for review.
Mediation is required in most civil cases and should be completed four to six months before the scheduled trial date. The parties can stipulate to a mediator in their case management report. If they do not, the court will appoint a mediator.
Upon motion, a separate order will be issued for use of cell phones and laptop computers or any other special equipment the parties deem necessary. The parties may file the motion at the final pretrial conference.
The court will close civil cases for statistical purposes after the entry of a final judgment following a jury verdict, court decision, or stipulation of the parties. This will not affect the disposition of post-trial motions or the assessment of fees and costs as appropriate.
The rules do not provide for filing a notice of unavailability as a method to avoid abiding by deadlines and schedules the court establishes or to extend the time for responding to motions. Counsel may notify opposing counsel of his or her unavailability and request accommodation of his or her schedule. For deadlines for filing documents, attending hearings, etc., counsel must file a motion for more time or a continuance. It is impractical for the court to search the docket of each case for notices of unavailability before setting hearings and response deadlines.
There are witness rooms in the front of the courtroom.
Counsel are encouraged to make an appointment with the courtroom deputy before a trial or hearing to become familiar with the availability, operation, and compatibility of the courtroom technology systems. Failure to do so may result in equipment being unavailable for use due to incompatibility with the courtroom system. Counsel also should become familiar with the court's laptop connection instructions.
Absent extraordinary circumstances, the court will not consider motions or memoranda filed less than seven business days before the sentencing hearing.
The parties are not excused from the status conference unless the plea agreement has been executed, the change-of-plea hearing has been scheduled, and a notice of cancellation of the status conference has been docketed before the status conference date. If a plea is not accepted for whatever reason after the status conference, counsel must be prepared to go to trial and should not expect the failure of the plea to be grounds for a continuance.
Proposed orders are not required, and the parties will be notified should the court need one.
Litigants and witnesses are expected to conduct themselves with reserve and courtesy and, when in court, must dress appropriately to preserve the dignity of the court. At a minimum, proper attire includes a shirt and tie for men and similarly appropriate attire for women. No one should wear shorts, jeans, polo shirts, or sneakers.
Lawyers should be familiar with the American College of Trial Lawyers' Code of Pretrial and Trial Conduct and conduct themselves accordingly.
The court will conduct voir dire, giving due consideration to questions the parties propose. The court may permit counsel for each party to briefly supplement the court's voir dire.
The court will normally be in session from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., with one hour and fifteen minutes for lunch. The schedule may change as circumstances require. During jury trials, please aim to keep the jury busy all day. Each day, Judge Byron will be available one half hour preceding the jury's arrival. This is a good time to bring to the court's attention any problems that might arise during the day. It is also a good time to make proffers or otherwise preserve the record. The jury should be in the courtroom listening to evidence and argument the entire day. Requests for sidebars are discouraged.
On the witness list required by Local Rule 3.06(b), the parties and counsel shall designate which witnesses will likely be called, and also designate which witnesses may be called. Absent good cause, the Court will not permit, over objection, testimony from unlisted witnesses at trial. This restriction does not apply to true rebuttal witnesses (i.e., witnesses whose testimony could not reasonably have been foreseen to be necessary). By the end of proceedings each day, the party presenting its case must advise the opposing party and the court of the witnesses the party intends to call the next day.
Exhibits and Exhibit Lists
The exhibit list filed in compliance with Local Rule 3.07(b) must be on the clerk's approved form. Unlisted exhibits will not be received into evidence at trial, except by court order in the furtherance of justice. The joint final pretrial statement must include each party's exhibit list on the approved form, listing each objection ("all objections reserved" does not suffice) to each numbered exhibit that remains after full discussion and stipulation. Objections not made or not made with specificity are waived.
Exhibit and witness lists (three copies) must be filed with the courtroom deputy on the first day of trial. All exhibits must be pre-marked in accordance with the instructions in Local Rule 3.07. Plaintiffs and defendants must use a numerical system to mark exhibits ( i.e., 1, 2, 3, etc.).
At the meeting to prepare the joint final pretrial statement, counsel must present to opposing counsel for examination photographs of sensitive exhibits (i.e., guns, drugs, valuables) and of non-documentary evidence and reductions of documentary exhibits larger than 8.5" x 14" to be substituted for original exhibits after trial.
To avoid duplication of exhibits and prevent confusion in the record, the parties are encouraged to submit all stipulated exhibits as joint exhibits in a single list rather than individually marked by each party. For example, if medical records or contract documents are being stipulated into evidence they should be marked as a joint exhibit and not listed separately by both (all) parties. Each party's individual exhibit list would then include only the exhibits to which objections have been asserted, with the specific objection noted on the exhibit list.
Five (5) days prior to trial, the parties shall electronically file with the court color-coded copies of deposition transcripts (preferably mini-script versions), reflecting, in different highlighted colors, the deposition excerpts designated by each party, pursuant to the court's ruling on the parties' objections.