Municipal Court Judge Janaya Trotter Bratton – Criminal Cases


The court recognizes the Hamilton County Municipal Court caseload is extremely voluminous for both the state and defense counsel. The court will allow a case to be continued up to 30 days after complete discovery is received for counsel to review discovery with their client, attempt to resolve the case with opposing counsel, or decide on any necessary motions to be filed based on the discovery response. After 30 days have passed, at the next setting, counsel should be ready to set the case for motion, plea, or trial. Additional continuances for pre-trial or to review discovery after 30 days will not be granted liberally.

The court will only continue cases for a defendant to retain counsel once unless the defendant demonstrates good cause warranting an additional continuance.

The court will typically (not always) give each party one continuance before issuing a capias or dismissing a case for want of prosecution. If a party knows that a continuance will be requested, that party is responsible for notifying opposing counsel so that witnesses can be notified in advance when possible.

Cases where a defendant has an outstanding capias over 6 months, will as a matter of course be set for plea or trial. The court will allow enough time for the defendant to retain counsel prior to the plea or trial setting. The court may modify this procedure upon the defendant demonstrating good cause for a pretrial or motion setting.


If discovery is demanded by a filing with the court or through a public records request, the opposing party must produce reciprocal discovery. If there is nothing to produce, the response stating nothing is to be produced should be filed.

Do not file a motion for sanctions until you have met your own discovery production obligations.

Motion Practice

All motions must be in writing. Motions shall comply with Crim. R. 12.

Motions that require a hearing (i.e. motions to suppress, motions to compel, motions for bond reduction, motions to dismiss, etc.) must include specific facts to the case before the court, relevant case law as to the issues addressed in the motion, and a specific request of the court if applicable (i.e. request to suppress statements or a stop). A file-stamped courtesy copy of any motion and briefs filed in response should be emailed to the court at

The parties shall be prepared to argue the motion at the scheduled hearing on the motion, meaning all witnesses necessary to determine the motion must be present. If the parties are arguing law, copies of the relevant statutes or cases must be presented to the court and opposing counsel.

As the court requires specificity in party pleadings, leave of court is granted to file pretrial motions up to 30 days after the defendant receives complete discovery. Automatic leave is not applicable to defendants who have a capias pending past the statutory time to file pretrial motions.

Motions to Compel

Motions to compel discovery shall not be filed until thirty days after the date the discovery demand was served. Motions to compel discovery shall specify what the opposing party has failed to produce. The motion shall state the date the discovery demand was made and any attempt to resolve the discovery dispute prior to filing the motion.

Both parties shall be prepared to fully address the motion by argument and/or witness testimony at the scheduled motion to compel hearing.

If the motion to compel is granted, the court will schedule a sanctions hearing. The court will order the producing party to produce the discovery by a date certain before the scheduled sanctions hearing. If the discovery is not produced prior to the sanctions hearing, the parties must be prepared at the scheduled sanctions hearing to introduce evidence going to whether the missing evidence is inculpatory, exculpatory, or potentially useful, and the least restrictive sanctions requested.

Motions to Modify Bond

The party requesting a bond modification must notify the opposing party of the request for modification. If the case falls under Marsy’s Law, notice shall be given in enough time for the state to notify its prosecuting witness. The court will continue the modification hearing if proper notice was not provided.


Do not call the court for pre-trials. Do not email the court’s personal email or the court bailiff’s personal email for pre-trial requests. All pre-trial requests should be sent to If counsel or a pro se party is not making a personal appearance, all pre-trial requests must be made in writing via email or via Zoom where the pre-trial will be on the record.

Defendants are not required to be present for pre-trials unless the defendant is requesting something of the court (i.e. driving privileges, modifications, etc.) or the defendant’s appearance is specifically ordered by the court.

If the pre-trial involves setting dates only, counsel need not appear in person. Counsel may send an email to Counsel should include in the email: (1) Case Name and Number, (2) Discovery Status, (3) Requested Setting –motion and trial settings will be referred to the assignment commissioner for scheduling. Additional pre-trials will be set on a future Tuesday or Friday. Counsel must appear in person if the matter is over 90 days old, and discovery is complete, and the defendant is requesting another pre-trial.

Counsel may also appear for pre-trials by Zoom on Tuesdays or at a day and time otherwise specified by the Court. The Court’s personal Zoom link can be found at:

Please Note: You will be placed in a waiting room until your case is called. Before being admitted, you must identify the case for which you are appearing. If there are multiple parties in the waiting room, your case will be called in the order the parties appear in the waiting room.


Jury Trials

If counsel knows that a matter set for a jury trial is not going to go, counsel shall immediately notify opposing counsel.

All motions in limine regarding issues known or that should have been known to the parties prior to trial, and any requested special jury instructions should be filed the Friday before the scheduled date of trial. A courtesy copy should be sent to

The court and counsel conduct voir dire. There is no time limit. Jurors shall not be permitted to ask questions during trial. Post-verdict, attorneys are permitted to talk to jurors with the jurors’ consent.

Courtroom Etiquette

Punctuality, professionalism and civility are required at all times in the courtroom. Attorneys should stand when addressing the Court, questioning witnesses, and when objecting.