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Courtroom Conversation with U.S. Magistrate Judge Michelle M. Pettit

On February 8, 2024, 48 members of the legal community attended the Courtroom Conversation with U.S. Magistrate Judge Michelle M. Pettit presented by the San Diego Chapter of the FBA.  Federal Defender Brittany Sherron interviewed Judge Pettit and the judge’s courtroom staff.  Some highlights from the event include:

  • Judge Pettit’s military background plays a significant role in how she runs her courtroom.  If you find yourself in her court, make sure to familiarize yourself with her chamber rules and the local rules.

  • Her staff! One way to help them out in preparing for the criminal calendar is to have everything submitted 24-hours in advance.

  • The seriousness of settlement conferences—come prepared! Judge Pettit will be ready to dig into the facts and evidence on each side.

  • Judge Pettit values comfort and transparency. She wants clients and criminal defendants comfortable with the justice system so that they’re confident in what you’re doing and what I’m doing.

  • No Mexico! Unless there are extenuating circumstances, criminal defendants will not be permitted to go to Mexico as a matter of their own safety.

  • Communication is key. Judge Pettit values clear communication and clarifying any miscommunication. Berné  Brown’s "The Story in My Head" exemplifies the dangers of miscommunication and provides guidance on how to ensure everyone is on the same page.

  • Creativity, Judge Pettit is willing to get creative when it comes to discovery and the needs of the case.

  • Judge Pettit is also open to opinions on whether she should establish some criminal chamber rules. Let her know your thoughts!

From left to right: Blake Currey, Judge Michelle M. Pettit, and Brittany Sherron.

The San Diego FBA thanks Judge Pettit and her courtroom staff for volunteering their time and sharing their expertise with the community, and Brittany Sherron for acting as a moderator at this event. The San Diego FBA also thanks Chapter President Blake Currey, Vice President of Professional Advancement Melissa Holmes, Vice President of Criminal Legal Education Armilla Staley-Ngomo, Vice President of Public Relations Kelly Reis, Vice President of Professional Engagement Evangeline Dech, and legal education committee members—Erica Skerven and Eric Alden—for organizing and promoting this event.


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