The judge who is assigned to preside over the high-profile case is the leader of the high-profile case team; hopefully, other members of the team have been identified in the court’s COOP plan for high-profile cases. If not, they should at the very least include high-level representatives from court management and court security and an individual who can manage media relations. Representatives from jury management, information technology, and other trial support divisions should be included as needed to address specific issues as they arise in the planning process.
The assignment of the trial judge is the first critical decision for the court. If at all possible, that decision should not be based on random assignment; instead, the case should be assigned to an experienced and well-respected judicial officer with an unflappable temperament and great stamina who can dedicate considerable time and attention.
Once the case is assigned, the trial judge becomes the head of the leadership team.