Federal Docket Control Orders

At either the Initial Appearance or the Arraignment the defendant and defense counsel are provided a copy of the Docket Control Order. The Docket Control Order sets out important scheduling information regarding the case. The Docket Contract Order will provide notice as to which District Court the case is assigned. Magistrates handle only preliminary matters. After preliminary matters are concluded, every federal criminal case is assigned to a Federal District Court Judge.

The Docket Control Order will set out the following dates:

  • The due date for Defense Motions
  • The due date for the Government Responses to Defense Motions
  • The date for the Pre-Trial Conference
  • The date the Trial is set

Federal law requires that the initial trial date be set within 70 days. Typically, the trial date on the Docket Control Order is not set off very far. In my experience, in most cases the trial date on the Docket Control Order is not the actual trial date. In most cases I file a Motion for Continuance wherein I seek a new trial date which affords me adequate time to prepare for trial.