Judicial Profile: Department 22
Honorable Joyce Cram

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Biographical Information
Date of Birth:
September 30, 1949
Place of Birth:
California
Education:
1973 BA with honors, UCSB; 1976 JD Catholic University, Columbus School of Law
Pre-bench Legal Experience:
Litigation attorney, Low, Ball & Lynch 1977-1992; private mediator 1995-1998
Political Affiliation:
Republican
Judicial Experience
Appointed 6-1-98. Currently assigned to Family Law, Elder Court. Past assignments have included felony and misdemeanor trials, criminal calendar, and civil (unlimited and unlimited).
Pre-bench Civic & Professional Activities
Habitat for Humanity; Contra Costa County Bar Association Board of Directors; California Community Dispute Services.
Current Civic & Professional Activities
Volunteer, Lindsay Museum Wildlife Rehabilitation; Robert McGrath American Inn of Court (past president); Contra Costa County Public Law Library Board of Trustees.
Continuing Judicial Education Faculty
New Judge orientation teaching Ethics & Fairness; member New Judge Education Committee, Probate Curriculum Committee, Collaborative Justice Advisory Committee.
Courtroom Policies
No written policies. Judge Cram expects parties to cooperate with each other and with her staff, to be prepared and know and comply with local rules. Attorneys are to complete appearance slips before each appearance.
Teleconferencing
Available through Court Call for case Management and Status Conferences. Not permitted for evidentiary hearings except for good cause.
Motions
Parties are to comply with all Court Rules.
Briefs
Briefs should be concise and persuasive. Recitation of standard authorities (i.e. general law re demurrers or summary judgment) is neither necessary nor helpful.
Discovery
In all cases, parties are expected to comply with statutory discovery requirements. Parties should engage in informal discovery to the extent possible. Discovery disputes should be a last resort. Civil discovery sanctions will not be imposed absent a sincere telephone “meet and confer.”
Settlement Conferences
In all cases, parties should attend with the expectation of resolving their cases. Personal appearance of all decision-makers required unless permission is given in advance for telephone standby.
ADR
Strongly encouraged.
In Limine Motions
Should be in writing with very brief case authority, unless routine (witness exclusion, etc.).
Voir Dire
Judge Cram conducts most of the voir dire, but allows attorneys to conduct follow-up voir dire. Attorneys are expected to know and follow restrictions on voir dire CCP §222.5 and §223.
Jury Instructions
Are expected on the first day of trial.
Witnesses
Attorneys should be certain they have sufficient witnesses to fill the entire trial day. Witnesses may be called out of order if necessary.
Sanctions
Judge Cram does not like to impose sanctions, but will do so for violations that have serious impact on opposing parties or court administration.
Documents
All exhibits should be pre-marked and a list of exhibits provided for the court clerk and judge. Parties are to meet and confer to determine which exhibits can be admitted by stipulation.
Decorum
Trials are considerably more formal than the high volume calendars. In all cases, however, counsel are expected to treat everyone with respect. Parties and witnesses are to be referred to with titles, not by first names.
Court Reporters & Translators
In criminal cases and domestic violence restraining order hearings, interpreters are provided. Please advise the clerk in advance if one is needed, especially for languages other than Spanish. In civil, family and probate cases parties must provide their own interpreters. When a witness is testifying with an interpreter, frequent breaks will be provided.
Computers in the Courtroom
Parties are welcome to use computers in trial so long as they do not disrupt the proceedings.
Audio-visual
Computer or audiovisual equipment must be provided by counsel at counsel’s expense. If a jury trial, please be considerate of the jurors: equipment should be set up during breaks, not on jury time.
Cameras in the Courtroom
Permitted upon application in compliance with California Rules of Court.
Advice
Attorneys should remember that all sides have as a common goal the furtherance of justice. Courtesy and professionalism are always appreciated (and required.).

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