April 6, 2020

En Español

On April 6, 2020, Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady entered Administrative Order AOSC20-23 suspending all jury trials through May 29, 2020. Based on the new order, the Twelfth Judicial Circuit will suspend all non-essential or non-critical programs and services through May 29, 2020. Please visit our COVID-19 news page for previous posts, including a complete list of cases that are being heard during emergency operations.

Address Changes, Future Court Dates

We are asking that if anyone needs to update an address or has a question about their next court date to please email the Self Help Center or call (941) 861-8191.

If you are an attorney, a defendant, or a citizen with an interest in a criminal court case, you can register for eNotify, a service that provides users with courtesy text and email reminders about upcoming court events. For more information, visit enotify.flcourts.org. NOTE: This service is available only for criminal cases.

Note: Judge Charles E. Williams has posted updated procedures to the Sarasota Probate Division

Administrative Orders Regarding COVID-19
Changes to Programs/Services
Specialty Court/Treatment Courts:  Contact the dropline for updated information, Manatee (941) 749-3666, Sarasota (941) 861-8189. Desoto contact staff daily. CTC contact Director Brittany Elkins (941) 376-6821
Mediations:  Canceled
Deposition room reservations: Canceled
School visits: Suspended until further notice
Pet Therapy Program:  Suspended until further notice
Grand Jury proceedings:  Suspended through May 29, 2020
Jury selection proceedings: Suspended through May 29, 2020
Criminal and Civil jury trials:  Suspended through May 29, 2020
Self Help Center: Closed; Update mailing address or ask about future court dates by email or phone (941) 861-8191

Please continue to visit our website www.jud12.flcourts.org and social media @12circuitFL on Twitter and Instagram for further updates.

Procedure updated 4-6-2020 Read all coronavirus posts on our COVID-19 News page


OLDER COVID-19 POSTS

Please check back often as information changes frequently.

COVID-19 UPDATE: March 25, 2020

On March 24, 2020, Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady entered Administrative Order AOSC20-17 suspending all jury trials through April 17, 2020. Based on the new order, the Twelfth Judicial Circuit will suspend all non-essential or non-critical programs and services through April 17, 2020.

ADDRESS CHANGES, FUTURE COURT DATES

If anyone needs to update their address or has a question about their next court date, please email the Self Help Center or call (941) 861-8191.

The following cases will still be heard during the emergency operations, via electronic communication where possible (find the full list on Administrative Order 2020-4.2):

  • First Appearance hearings
  • Bond hearings for defendants in custody
  • Shelter and Juvenile Detention hearings
  • Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) advisory hearings
  • Hearings on petitions for Judicial Wavier of Notice
  • Baker Act/Marchman Act hearings
  • Emergency Guardianship hearings
  • Risk Protection Order hearings
  • Temporary Domestic Violence Injunction hearings
  • Other emergency or time sensitive matters as determined by the presiding judge

Additionally, criminal division judges may hold necessary in-custody criminal hearings as long as the hearings conducted electronically, there are no in-person defendants, and the judge finds that the custody status of the Defendant will be affected by the hearing.

Unless you have been otherwise advised by the presiding judge, all non-emergency court hearings, including but not limited to: special set hearings, motions, pretrial motions, foreclosures, evictions, divorces and case management conferences will be canceled and reset for a future date. At the presiding judge’s discretion there may be a limited number of civil, family and probate hearings held telephonicallyNote: Judge Matt Whyte has posted updated temporary procedures to Manatee County Family Division 3 and Judge Teri Dees has posted updated temporary procedures for Manatee County Juvenile Division J.


COVID-19 UPDATE: March 18,2020

Due to the COVID-19 health emergency and based on the Florida Supreme Court’s Administrative Order AOSC20-15, the Twelfth Judicial Circuit Courts are postponing most cases except those that are considered essential and critical, in order to limit the effects of the disease on the courts, court participants, and citizens. Therefore, the Judiciary and Court Administration will operate with minimum staff in court facilities.

In response to the Chief Justice’s newest order, Twelfth Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Kimberly C. Bonner has entered Administrative Order 2020-4.2 to address these emergency procedures and functions. Effective at 5 p.m. on March 18, 2020 through March 27, 2020, the following cases will still be heard during the emergency operations, via electronic communication where possible (find the full list on Administrative Order 2020-4.2):

  • First Appearance hearings
  • Bond hearings for defendants in custody
  • Shelter and Juvenile Detention hearings
  • Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) advisory hearings
  • Hearings on petitions for Judicial Wavier of Notice
  • Baker Act/Marchman Act hearings
  • Emergency Guardianship hearings
  • Risk Protection Order hearings
  • Temporary Domestic Violence Injunction hearings
  • Other emergency or time sensitive matters as determined by the presiding judge

Additionally, criminal division judges may hold necessary in-custody criminal hearings as long as the hearings conducted electronically, there are no in-person defendants, and the judge finds that the custody status of the Defendant will be affected by the hearing.

Unless you have been otherwise advised by the presiding judge, all non-emergency court hearings, including but not limited to: special set hearings, motions, pretrial motions, foreclosures, evictions, divorces and case management conferences will be canceled and reset for a future date. At the presiding judge’s discretion there may be a limited number of civil, family and probate hearings held telephonically.

We are in constant communication with our county clerks and law enforcement officials as well as other elected officials and health authorities. We will continue to update this site as the situation develops. We are also working with our sheriffs, state attorney and public defender to address those inmates who may be eligible for release or who can resolve their cases without further incarceration. View new procedures for attorney access to clients within the Desoto County Jail.


COVID-19 UPDATE: March 16, 2020

12th Circuit Court Guidelines and Protocols during the COVID-19 Pandemic

En Español

Although the courts remain open, our goal is to dramatically reduce the number of people reporting to the courthouses each day. PERSONS WHO DO NOT HAVE BUSINESS IN THE COURT FACILITIES ARE REQUESTED TO REFRAIN FROM COMING INTO THE BUILDING

Effective March 17, 2020 through March 27, 2020, the following changes are implemented in each division:

CIRCUIT WIDE: NO INMATES WILL BE TRANSPORTED TO THE COURTHOUSE EXCEPT AS SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED

COUNTY COURT – all of these to be re-noticed by the clerk’s office.

  1. All proceedings where a defendant is in custody will be done via video, including arraignments, docket soundings, VOP’s and case management hearings;
  2. All out of custody misdemeanor arraignment dates during this time will be rescheduled to a date at least 30 days out;
  3. All out of custody criminal traffic arraignment dates during this time will be rescheduled to a date at least 30 days out;
  4. All out of custody docket soundings, pretrial conferences, case management, and VOP hearings set during this time will be rescheduled to a date at least 30 days out;
  5. All small claims pretrial hearings set during this time will be rescheduled to a date at least 30 days out;
  6. All civil traffic hearings scheduled in front of the Civil Traffic Infraction Hearing Officer during this time will be rescheduled to a date at least 30 days out;
  7. All contested traffic hearing dates during this time will be rescheduled to a date at least 30 days out;
  8. All jury trials are suspended; and
  9. Attorneys and litigants shall utilize telephonic conferencing where practical, provided that a party creates the conference call and circulates the call-in information to all parties and the Court. No Court Order is required.  

CIRCUIT CRIMINAL (FELONY) COURT

  1. All proceedings where a defendant is in custody will be done via video, including bond reduction hearings, arraignments, VOP’s and case management hearings;
  2. All out of custody hearings will be rescheduled to a later date;
  3. All jury trials are suspended.

FIRST APPEARANCES

  1. First appearances will be held every day at the normal time by video;
  2. Pretrial services and Manatee SPR will provide scaled back services during this time, including eliminating direct contact with inmates, however, at a minimum they will provide the court criminal histories and PCAs.

FAMILY, CIVIL AND PROBATE/GUARDIANSHIP DIVISIONS, INCLUDING ALL MAGISTRATE HEARINGS

  1. All Title IV-D Child Support Hearings will be rescheduled. The hearing officer will be available for telephonic or video jail hearings as needed.
  2. All Baker Act and Marchman Act Hearings will be conducted telephonically by the General Magistrate.
  3. Attorneys and litigants shall utilize telephonic conferencing where practical, provided that a party creates the conference call and circulates the call-in information to all parties and the Court. No Court Order is required.
  4. For evidentiary hearings, the parties are directed immediately to meet and confer by telephone to discuss whether the evidentiary hearing may be conducted telephonically, by video conference, require live in person appearance, should be postponed until the conclusion of the COVID-19 outbreak, or some other action. After the parties' meet and confer, they shall immediately submit their recommendation via email to the assigned Judge's judicial assistant for the Court to review and take action.

JUVENILE COURT

  1. Detention hearing may occur via video or telephonic hearing. MRJDC has indicated that parents may attend telephonic hearings (including 21-day reviews) at the MRJDC conference room.
  2. Shelter hearings may occur via video or telephonic conference call where practicable.
  3. Attorneys and litigants shall utilize telephonic conferencing where practical, provided that a party creates the conference call and circulates the call-in information to all parties and the Court. No Court Order is required.

TREATMENT COURTS & SPECIALTY COURTS

  1. Treatment court days are cancelled until after March 27, 2020;
  2. All group therapy sessions are cancelled;
  3. All urinalysis drops are cancelled;
  4. Treatment court supervisors shall develop procedures for counselors and case managers to have telephonic or video contact with clients, including documentation of this contact in DCCM.

MEDIATIONS – SCPT, County Civil, CDSP, Family and Dependency

Unless mediations can occur telephonically or via video, all in-person mediations are cancelled and will be rescheduled.

image of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)The Twelfth Judicial Circuit Court is actively monitoring developments with COVID-19, the novel coronavirus.

The safety and security of the public and our employees is our top priority as we seek to achieve our core mission of ensuring access to justice. The courts remain open to the public and we urge you to follow the same precautions that are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to avoid the spread of respiratory diseases: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

COVID-19 information and resources can be found on the following websites: