Judge Patti B. Saris

Federal Judicial Service

Judge, U. S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, Chief Judge, 2013 - 2019.

United States Sentencing Commission, Chair 2011-2017

Nominated by William J. Clinton on October 27, 1993, to a seat vacated by Walter Jay Skinner; Confirmed by the Senate on November 20, 1993, and received commission on November 24, 1993.

U.S. Magistrate Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, 1986-1989


Radcliffe College, B.A., 1973
Harvard Law School, J.D., 1976


Boston Courthouse

John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse
1 Courthouse Way, Suite 2300
Boston, Massachusetts 02210


19, 7th floor

John J. Moakley Federal Courthouse - Boston, MA
John J. Moakley Federal Courthouse - Boston, MA

Courtroom Technology

Contact the courtroom clerk regarding the use of technology in the courtroom. View our courtroom technology page for more information on the technology that is available.

Internet access is available upon request and with the consent of the presiding Judge. Click here for more information.

Courtroom Clerk Maryellen Molloy 617-748-9175 maryellen_molloy@mad.uscourts.gov
Docket Clerk Clary Geraldino-Karasek 617-748-9810 clarilde_karasek@mad.uscourts.gov
Court Reporter Lee Marzilli 617-345-6787  
USDC Judicial Forum Survey

Civil - Case Management

Q4: What, if any, inquiries do you make about settlement prospects and/or interest in mediation at the initial scheduling conference?

A4: The judge schedules mediation at the initial scheduling conference. The parties shall be prepared to discuss the amount of discovery necessary for effective settlement discussion.

Q5: What, if any inquiries do you make about the liklihood of trial at the initial scheduling conference?

A5: The Court schedules summary judgment briefing or a trial date. The Court expects counsel to be prepared to discuss the facts and legal issues in the case.

Q6: What schedule do you set at the initial scheduling conference?

A6: The Court schedules (1) fact discovery, (2) expert discovery, (3) Daubert briefing, (4) summary judgment briefing, (5) trial, (6) mediation.

Civil - Discovery

Q11: What, if any, issues related to electronically stored information should counsel be prepared to address at the initial scheduling conference?

A11: The parties shall inform the Court if there is likely to be a dispute regarding a protective order.

Q12: If the parties intend to file a proposed protective order, do you require any particular format and/or a specific time for doing so?

A12: No. However, any protective order shall not be binding on the Court. I will independently determine what information will be publicly available in my opinions and public pleadings.

Q13: Under what circumstances would you consider a bifurcation of discovery?

A13: The parties may propose bifurcated discovery to cut down on expenses.

Q21: What, if any, expert discovery deadlines do you set at the initial scheduling conference? When do you typically set a schedule for the filing of Daubert motions?

A21: Schedule for filing of Daubert motions and other necessary expert discovery deadlines are set at the initial scheduling conference. Daubert motions should not be filed as motions in limine just before trial.

Civil - Dispositive Motions

Q25: Do you typically allow reply briefs and/or surreply briefs?

A25: Yes. I like reply and surreply briefs, but will strike "supplemental" replies.

Civil - Patent Cases

Q33: Do you have particular practice about Markman hearings? If so, please describe them including but not limited to whether you allow tutorial(s).

A33: I encourage video tutorials which will be filed and made part of the record. File a courtesy copy of the video tutorial three business days in advance of the hearing.

Criminal Matters

Q35: Do you have any particular practices as to scheduling in criminal cases? If so, please describe them.

A35: At the close of discovery, the Court holds an initial pretrial conference. During this conference the parties should be prepared to complete the pretrial order and set a trial date.

General Trial Practice - Pretrial Matters

Q39: Do you require the filing of a trial brief?

A39: Yes, in both civil and criminal cases. Sometimes I waive the requirement if there has already been extensive briefing on summary judgment papers. In criminal cases the deadlines vary. In civil cases a joint pretrial memo is due seven days in advance of the final pretrial conference. Individual trial briefs are also due seven days in advance of the final pretrial conference.

Q41: Do you typically hold an initial pretrial conference in criminal cases? If so, what issues do you want counsel to be able to address at each conference in addition to those addressed under Local Rule 117.1(a)?

A41: I prefer motions in limine on key evidentiary issues. At the initial pretrial conference, counsel shall address the kinds of issues the Court will need to resolve prior to trial (i.e. Daubert). In addition, I want a realistic understanding of the number of witnesses and the length of the trial.

Q48: Do you typically hear and/or resolve Daubert motions at the final pretrial conference?

A48: The parties should file a motion for a Daubert hearing well in advance of the pretrial conference so the Court can schedule a separate hearing if necessary.

Q52: Do you require trial exhibits to be pre-marked? If so, please describe your practice?

A52: Yes, exhibits should be numbered if the exhibit is agreed upon by both parties. Exhbits that are contested should be lettered.
Exhibit List Template - Contested Exhibits
Exhibit List Template - Uncontested Exhibits

Criminal - Scheduling Trials

Q53: Typically, when do you set a trial date in criminal cases?

A53: It varies, trial dates are set at the initial pretrial conference.

Q54: Typically, when do you set a trial date in civil cases?

A54: Trial dates in civil cases are set either at the 16(b) hearing or after dispositive motions are resolved. Sometimes I set an initial pretrial.

Q55: What is your typical trial schedule?

A55: 9AM-1PM or 9AM-4PM depending on the length of the trial and the Court's schedule.

Criminal - Jury Selection

Q57: Please describe your jury selection process.

A57: I ask the standard voir dire questions as well as specific questions suggested by attorneys to the entire venire. Any potential juror who responds positively by raising a hand comes to side bar. I ask the initial question and counsel are welcome to ask follow-up questions. The clerk places jurors in the box in the order listed in the jury list. The government exercises the first set of preemptories and then the defendant. The clerk then fills the empty seats until all preemptories are used or counsel declares they are satisfied. There is no back challenging. Alternates are empaneled separately.

Q58: Under what circumstances, if any, have you or would you consider using a juror questionnaire?

A58: Juror questionnaires have been helpful in sensitive cases, i.e., involving child pornography, extensive publicity, or possible bias.

Q59: If you would consider the use of a jury questionnaire, when and in what form should it be proposed?

A59: It should be submitted at the final pretrial and should be short.

Q60: Have you or would you consider allowing attorney voir dire?

A60: Yes, Attorney voir dire is allowed at sidebar as a follow-up to the Court's inquiry when a juror has raised his/her hand in response to a question concerning possible bias or prejudice.

General Trial Practice - Trial Practices

Q70: If you have any preferences or practices about pretrial or trial matters that has not been solicited by the prior questions, please describe them here.

A70: Counsel shall confer about deposition transcripts prior to the trial and resolve objections. Any unresolved objections shall be presented to the Court before the trial so that the Court has at least 3 business days to rule on them.

Q71: If you have any particular practices as to bench trials, please describe them.

A71: I like proposed findings of fact and law prior to trial. Typically, I allow them to be supplemented within two weeks post trial. I will not wait until a transcript is prepared. There is also a bench trial order available on the website.

Criminal - Sentencing/Revocation Hearings

Q73: If you do not require a sentencing memorandum in every case, when would it be helpful to you?

A73: I require a sentencing memorandum when the guidelines are disputed or a variance or departure is sought.

Q74: Under what, if any, circumstances, would you consider an expedited sentencing?

A74: I allow expedited sentencing when the typical 90-day period will result in unnecessary time incarcerated, usually in illegal re-entry cases.

Q76: Under what, if any circumstances, would you consider the postponement of a sentencing hearing?

A76: I postpone hearings when a counsel needs additional information, like victim impact statements or psychiatric reports, or when there is a substantial dispute that requires an evidentiary hearing and briefing.

Standing Orders & Miscellaneous Matters

Q81: If there is any other guidance about your court practices and preferences that you would like to share with counsel that has not been solicited by any of the prior questions, please provide it here.

A81: Counsel shall not assume a motion for a continuance will be granted. If the Court hasn't ruled, counsel shall contact the courtroom deputy. Last minute requests to continue short of a true emergency are disfavored.

Post-Pandemic Practices

Q82: As of Fall 2022, are there any case events that you routinely conduct via Zoom in civil cases? If so, what are they?

A82: Yes. I will typically hold Rule 16 conferences, status conferences and non-complex dispositive motion hearings on Zoom.

Q83: As of Fall 2022, are there any case events that you routinely conduct via Zoom in criminal cases? If so, what are they?

A83: I typically hold trials, pre-trials, revocations, sentencings and evidentiary hearings (i.e., on motions to suppress) in person.