A. Assignment of Cases. Cases shall be assigned to a judge by random selection through use of computerized or manual means.
B. Case Consolidation. A motion for consolidation of cases for discovery purposes or trial shall be heard by the judge to whom the case with the lowest docket and page number is assigned, and by whom the consolidated case will be heard.
C. Felony Companion Cases. Companion cases are (1) those in which multiple defendants are charged, in separate informations, with crimes arising out of the same set of facts, (2) those in which separate informations are filed contemporaneously against a single defendant, or (3) those in which a defendant initially charged with a felony offense which is currently pending is subsequently charged with a criminal offense. The County Attorney shall, at the time of filing each information, note on the information the case title and docket number of each companion case, as defined by this rule, and the Clerk of the District Court shall assign each such companion case to the judge to whom is assigned the case with the lowest docket number.
D. Criminal Appeal Companion Cases. On receiving notice of appeal from County Court, the prosecutor shall, on a form provided, notify the clerk of the case title and docket number of any previously filed appeal by a different defendant involving the same incident, and the appeal shall be assigned by the clerk to the judge having the lowest docket number of the previously filed appeal by the different defendant, but involving the same incident. When appeals are taken in separate cases consolidated for trial in the County Court, the clerk shall assign all to the same judge.
E. Postjudgment Criminal Matters. Postjudgment criminal matters, including probation-revocation proceedings, applications for postconviction relief, annual reviews of convicted sex offenders, and annual reviews of individuals found not responsible by reason of insanity, shall be assigned to the judge by whom the case was tried, or to that judge's successor. For the purpose of probation-revocation proceedings, any new felony charge filed against a defendant whose probation is sought to be revoked shall be assigned to the judge by whom the probation-revocation proceeding will be heard. Any companion case to that new felony, as defined by Rule 4-12C, shall likewise be assigned to the judge by whom the probation-revocation proceeding will be heard. Any new felony charge filed against an individual who has completed probation or a term of incarceration shall be assigned to a judge randomly, pursuant to Rule 4-12A.
F. Domestic Abuse Protection Orders. For the purpose of assignment of applications for a domestic abuse protection order, companion cases shall be those situations (1) in which one or multiple petitioners simultaneously apply for a protection order against the same person or persons, (2) in which the petitioner is a party to a currently pending action to obtain a protection order involving the same person or persons, or (3) in which the petitioner or respondent is a party to a domestic relations or paternity action which is currently pending before the court.
If, upon receiving the petition for filing, the Clerk of the District Court determines that the case is a companion case under any one of the foregoing three criteria, the case or cases shall be assigned to the judge to whom the first such case is assigned, or to the judge who has pending before her or him a previously filed protection order, domestic relations, or paternity matter. All other cases shall be assigned to a judge by random selection through computerized or manual means.
G. Civil Companion Cases. Companion cases are those involving (1) the same parties arising from the same action, (2) multiple plaintiffs arising from the same transaction, (3) multiple defendants arising from the same transaction, or (4) multiple plaintiffs versus the same defendant or multiple defendants arising from substantially identical transactions. The party shall, at filing, if known to the party, note companion case titles and docket numbers, and the Clerk shall assign all companion cases to the judge with the case that has the lowest docket number.
Adopted effective December 29, 1995; amended effective November 22, 1996; Rule 4-12(C) and (E) amended October 17, 2001.