Hon. Rodney Gilstrap See Rating Details
District Judge See Comments
Average Rating:9.3 - 3 rating(s)
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*Temperament:   (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
*Scholarship:   (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
*Industriousness:   (1=Not at all industrious,10=Highly industrious)
*Ability to Handle Complex Litigation:    (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
*Punctuality:    (1=Chronic`y Late,10=Always on Time)
*Evenhandedness in Civil Litigation:    (1=Demonstrates Bias,10=Entirely Evenhanded)
*Evenhandedness in Criminal Litigation:   (1=Demonstrates Bias,10=Entirely Evenhanded)
Flexibility In Scheduling   (1=Completely Inflexible,10=Very Flexible)
General Inclination Regarding Bail (1=Pro-Defense,10=Pro-Government)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases, Pre-Trial:   (1=Pro-Defense,10=Pro-Government)
Involvement in Civil Settlement Discussions:   (1=Least Involved,10=Most Involved)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases, Trial:    (1=Pro-Defense,10=Pro-Government)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases, Sentencing:    (1=Most Lenient,10=Most Harsh)
Typical Discount Off Guidelines for Cooperators:    (1=10%,10=100%)
  Items marked with (*) are averaged into the displayed overall rating

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What others have said about Hon. Rodney Gilstrap


Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 24238
Judge Gilstrap is not unlike most of the judges in the Eastern District. He's smart (and frankly, a whole lot smarter than most out of town lawyers give any small town lawyer credit for, but what's new about that). Smarter than you think. He works brutal hours. When you have a hearing in from of him, he will be prepared, though it may take a while for him to show you that. He's judging first whether you are honest with the Court and what you say can be trusted. He's read your brief. He's read ALL the cases that matter, most likely.

If you lie to him, you're in deep shit, and you should be. And you'll stay in deep shit. And you should stay there. He, not any other good judge I know, ever forgives that.

But if you are honest with him about the case law, you will be rewarded by someone who will listen. He can understand that the procedural posture of this case if different. He will listen to policy arguments -- this case should be different because and here's why this because matters.

Lying in sin number one. Sin number two is disrespect of the judiciary as an institution and the Court's orders. He will let your be flexible, but you have to include the Court in your (and opposing counsel's) thoughts in that regard. But remember, he wants to move the docket, not delay. That's the calling card of the E.D. and he honestly believes, as do almost all our judges that "Justice delayed is justice denied." And he is a strong proponent of juries. And extra costs are a existential danger to the jury system. So he wants to keep costs in check as much as possible as long as it is consistent with juries resolving cases instead of judges.

Summary Judgments, contrary to popular opinion, are not unknown. But neither are they freely dispensed.

Sin number three in incivility. And in fact, this one is more grating to him, perhaps, than lying and disrespect.

The only bad thing I'll say is that because he respects honesty, broad disclosure, professionalism and civility, there sometimes seems to be a race to "put the black hat" on the other side. And occasionally, when one party really is trying to be honest and upfront, the uncooperative and obstructionist side can occasionally deceive him into misjudging who is the rood cause of the problems.

Be scrupulously honest. But upfront and civil. Err on the side of disclosure and broad discoverability. Treat everyone with respect. And you will be more likely than not in good shape.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 22440
He's a much smarter judge than people think in terms of knowing and researching the law. He will have read your briefs and most likely the important cases. He is moderately hostile to summary dispositions, as are almost all Eastern District Judges. He's rather let the jury take care or a bad case. If they don't, he'll look at it on a 50(b) motion. He only get's angry when 1) lawyers ignore orders of the court; 2) lawyers unnecessarily engage in uncooperative and unseemly behavior; and 3) if you lie to the Court. But those are cardinal sins and not forgiven. Period.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 21126
Judge Gilstrap is an excellent judge!