Juvenile Division Sarasota

Requirements and Information

June 24, 2022

Andrea McHugh, Circuit Judge

Marilu Griner, Judicial Assistant

Requirements & Information

Twelfth Circuit’s Local Rules & Standards of Professionalism

Attorneys and parties must follow the 12th Judicial Circuit’s Local Rules, including the Standing Family Law Court Order for Manatee, Sarasota, and DeSoto Counties (AO 2013-16.12, as amended), and adhere to the 12th Circuit’s Standards of Professionalism (AO 2010-22.2, as amended). These and other important documents are available on the 12th Circuit’s Documents & Forms page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to this question and other related questions can be found on the Juvenile Court Policy & Procedure page.

No. My JA can’t give you legal advice, which includes interpreting a legal document such as an order of court. You should contact your attorney or your child’s attorney as soon as possible in order to seek legal advice.

You should either contact your attorney or your child’s attorney. As an alternative, you can contact your child’s JPO if your child is in the delinquency system (DJJ) or your Case Manager if you are in the dependency system (DCF).

No, she cannot. Juvenile cases are confidential in nature. If you have questions, you should contact your attorney, your child’s attorney, your child’s JPO or your Case Manager.

You may absolutely address the Judge in court for so long as your case is properly scheduled on the court docket and all parties are present during your conversation with the Judge. You may not discuss your case or your child’s case with the Judge outside of court nor outside of the presence of all interested parties. If you write the Judge a letter, a copy of the letter will be provided to all parties and will not be reviewed by the Judge as the communication may be deemed improper.

General Information

Communication with Judge's Office

All written communication with the JA, including, but not limited to, email communication, must be copied to all parties in the “cc” line, each and every time. This includes, but is not limited to, the submission of proposed orders for signature (even if all parties have agreed to the order).

Proposed Orders

Any party submitting an order for signature, must copy all parties. When submitting an agreed upon order for immediate signature, the written communication must:

  1. advise all parties have previously agreed to the form and content of the order; and
  2. be copied to all parties in the “cc” line.

When submitting an order which has not been previously agreed to, the written communication must:

  1. provide all parties with five (5) business days during which time an objecting party may make his/her objection directly to my office; and
  2. be copied to all parties in the “cc” line.

If any party submitting an order which has not been previously agreed to by all parties, receives an “out of office” or “vacation response” from any other party, it is the submitting party’s obligation to advise the JA accordingly. Any order submitted for consideration which does not include all parties on the “cc” line will not be considered until all parties are notified. Do not file proposed orders with the clerk.

Emergency/Expedited Hearing Time

All requests for emergency hearing time must be made by first filing an original emergency motion with the Clerk of Court and then providing a copy of the motion for review. The motion shall contain certification that the attorney has personally spoken with opposing counsel, or has made diligent attempts to contact opposing counsel, in an effort to resolve the disputed issue(s) and recite opposing counsel’s position prior to requesting an emergency hearing. The motion shall be accompanied by a cover letter that must include an estimate of the amount of hearing time required. I will review the motion to determine whether an expedited hearing is necessary.

Courtesy Copies

The scheduling attorney is required to furnish courtesy copies of the pending motion(s) and any documents or pleadings referenced in the motion(s), as well as any supporting case law. Pertinent portions in case law and supporting documents should be highlighted. Courtesy Copies must be mailed or hand-delivered if they are more than 10 pages, documents with fewer than 10 pages can be emailed to the judge’s assistant. Copies must be delivered at least three (3) days prior to the date of hearing.

Scheduling Hearings

Hearing time may be scheduled in open court by agreement of the parties and the court. All other hearing time may be scheduled by emailing the judicial assistant. All hearings that are not scheduled in court by the clerk must be scheduled by contacting the Judicial Assistant by phone or email (email is the preferred method so that all parties are on notice).

Reserving Time Hearings are limited to the time reserved in fairness to all litigants. Parties opposing any motion will be given equal time to respond to the motion. Accordingly, the party reserving and scheduling hearing time should either (1) determine how much hearing time is necessary to present his/her case and then double that amount of time (to account for response time); or (2) preferably, confer with opposing counsel and agree to the proper amount of time required. All hearing time must be cleared, in advance, with all parties to the case.

Telephonic Appearances

Any witness appearing telephonically, who intends to offer testimony, must be in the presence of a Notary Public, who will be asked to swear the witness in. When possible, any case involving a telephone call scheduled on a crowded docket, will be moved to the end of the docket. If a party is requesting a telephonic appearances, he/she must submit a motion to appear telephonically in advance. With all telephonic appearances, when the Judge is ready for scheduled telephonic appearances, the court will place the call. The requesting party for the telephonic appearance must have the correct contact information for the call to provide to the court, and be available for approximately 2 hours following time set to accommodate docket overcrowding. If the telephonic appearance is not local and requires long distance telephone fees, the party must contact the J.A. for further direction on how to proceed.

Dependency Dockets

Wednesday dependency dockets are extremely crowded both in the morning and in the afternoon. As such, no “add on” cases are permitted on Wednesdays and no evidentiary hearings will be conducted on Wednesdays. If any party believes a particularly complex dependency case will require an extraordinary amount of the court’s time, the party will coordinate alternate hearing time, rather than utilize a Wednesday Dependency docket, to insure adequate time can be dedicated to the complex nature of any given case.

Delinquency

In order to allow adequate advanced notice to all parties, the cut-off time to receive requests to issue Order(s) to Show Cause and/or VOPs is 12 p.m. on Thursday immediately prior to the Tuesday delinquency docket requested. All requests received after 12 pm on the cut-off day will be carried over to the following Tuesday’s docket. All requests for juvenile release from commitment programs, requests to terminate supervision and/or jurisdiction, and requests related to a youth’s home pass status must be provided to the State Attorney’s Office when providing the same to my office for consideration.

This court will continue to hold the following dependency hearings remotely until further notice of the court: Judicial Reviews, Docket Sounding and non-evidentiary hearings scheduled for less than 30 minutes.

Preparing for Zoom Hearings

All hearings will use the same meeting credentials. The log-in credentials are:

  • zoom.us
  • Meeting ID: 617 768 5825
  • Password: 284783
  • Telephone: +1 253 215 8782 (audio only)
  1. Downloadthe free Zoom app on your smartphone or computer prior to your hearing date. Make sure you download the app before your hearing! Also, make sure to enter your name as opposed to your phone number or a nickname on your profile. Failure to do so may result in you being unable to obtain entry in the hearing,
  2. On the date and time of your hearing, select “Join a Meeting” and then enter the Meeting ID and Password to get into the hearing. OR you may simply locate your hearing below by date and click “Join Now!” to enter.
  3. Once you connect, please WAIT to be checked in. You may be placed in a “waiting room” and on mute or silent until your hearing begins. There may be multiple hearings so you may be waiting a significant amount of time for your hearing to be called. Be patient, the Court will get to your case.
  4. Some hearings will require you to appear by video. If you are unable to appear by video you must check with the judicial assistant to determine if a telephone appearance is authorized.

Zoom Rules

  • Although the hearing is being conducted virtually, it is still a court proceeding subject to ordinary rules of decorum. This means you should be attentive and behave as you would if the hearing were being held in person. Be in a quiet, lighted environment. Eliminate distractions like barking dogs and other ambient noise. If not being used for the hearing, turn cell phones off. Do not answer or access phones during the proceeding. No driving, eating, chewing or off-line communication with other persons.
  • The penalties of perjury or contempt are still applicable.
  • If the Rule of Sequestration is invoked, the witness will either be asked to login to zoom when it’s their turn, or to sit in a zoom “waiting room” while the hearing is proceeding. This rule prohibits witnesses from listening to someone else’s testimony and also prohibits a witness from discussing their testimony, or that of another witness, with anyone except for authorized communication with an attorney. Anyone who violates this rule will be subject to contempt sanctions, which may include incarceration or fines, or both.
  • Recording a court proceeding, except by a certified court reporter or the 12th Circuit Digital Recording System, is strictly prohibited and will result in contempt sanctions. Confirm the proceeding is not being recorded and that at all times during the hearing you are not in communication with any third person. Receiving electronic or other communications from others is prohibited unless authorized by the judge and may result in contempt sanctions. Posting court proceedings on social media or allowing others to do so is strictly prohibited. Offenders and facilitators will be subject to serious judicial sanctions.
  • Proper attire is required. Business casual is acceptable.
  • Please ensure you are attending this hearing in a distraction free environment. Turn off ringers and alerts that make noise. Make sure zoom displays your first and last name and either the case you are appearing for or, if multiple cases, your title, (i.e.- Mike Smith, attorney, John Jones, DJJ). You should not be attending a hearing while driving.
  • Let the attorney or judge finish speaking before answering questions. When an objection is made, stop talking and let the judge rule on the objection. Mute your microphone when not being addressed.
  • There are icons on the zoom screen that allow a person to raise their hand or ask for a break.
  • Procedure for disconnection: If disconnected, attempt to re-enter the meeting. If you are unable to rejoin, contact your attorney by phone or email, or contact the judicial assistant.

Contact Information