Requirements and Information
May 11, 2022
All attorneys and pro se (unrepresented by an attorney) litigants must follow the Local Rules and the Twelfth Circuit Standards of Professionalism, which can also be found on the Sarasota County Bar Association’s website.
Contact your attorney or the Case Manager with questions regarding your dependency case. Your case is confidential, therefore, the Judicial Assistant is prohibited from providing information over the telephone.
The Judge cannot speak to a party, attorney or witness over the telephone or anytime outside of court.
Written communication (letters or email) to the Judge must be copied and sent to all the parties/counsel. The written communication must identify all parties who received the written communication, or it will be unread by the Judge. Communication to the Court will be filed in the case file and copies furnished to counsel of record.
The Judge can speak to a party or attorney in the courtroom in the presence of all the parties or during a properly noticed hearing.
The Judicial Assistant cannot provide legal advice which includes:
Email is strictly a method of communicating basic information and sending documents and is not a medium to state a position, make an argument, or attempt to persuade the court on a substantive or procedural matter. Emails to the judicial assistant should be devoid of information or statements that are unnecessary, superfluous, irrelevant, or adversarial. Arguments should be confined to letters, motions, memoranda, and legal documents attached to the email. Emails sent to the judicial assistant shall comply with all rules and requirements governing contact with the Court including ex parte communication.
The judicial assistant should not be copied with scheduling emails between attorneys and parties.
Motion hearing time should be scheduled by email to the Judicial Assistant or by the Court in open court; and in agreement with the parties and Court’s schedule.
Adding on cases are not permitted without advance permission of the Judge and the approval of the opposing party/parties.
Parties opposing any motion will be given equal time to respond to the motion. Accordingly, the party reserving and scheduling hearing time should either:
Courtesy copies of all notices of hearings should be emailed to the Judicial Assistant. In the event a hearing is canceled, notice of canceling hearing should be emailed to the Judicial Assistant. The party scheduling or canceling a hearing is required to provide advanced written notice to all parties, unless the cancelation is announced in open court and thus documented on the court appearance record.
Courtesy copies of the motion, response, supporting documents and case law must be provided in hard copy to the Court five (5) business days prior to the date of the hearing.
If an interpreter is necessary for a hearing or trial, it is the responsibility of counsel to submit the Interpreter Request Form.
For inmates in Manatee County custody: Counsel for the inmate is responsible for making the appropriate arrangements with the bailiff’s office before noon the day prior, via phone at (941) 747-3011, ext. 7960; or email Judicial Security.
For inmates in custody outside of Manatee County: It is the responsibility of Counsel for the inmate to make the appropriate arrangements for availability. If inmate not represented by Counsel, it shall be the CLS attorney’s responsibility to make the appropriate arrangements.
Emergency Hearing Time is always available but strict compliance with these rules is required.
Appearances via Zoom are optional for the following procedures:
In-Person attendance is required for:
In addition to the information contained in the section titled “Inmate Appearances”, inmate appearances will remain via Zoom / Jail Video. Exception: Inmates incarcerated in Manatee County are to attend Phase II trials in person. The inmate’s counsel shall be responsible for making the appropriate arrangements.
When possible, any case involving the Court placing a telephone call scheduled on a crowded docket, will be moved to the end of the docket. Any request for an exception to the above shall be in the form of a written Motion.
The parties may agree to allow a witness to appear for a trial or hearing by telephone or Zoom, upon the filing of an Agreed Motion/Order; or Stipulation. The witness appearing by telephone shall have a Notary Public present who will swear in the witness prior to his/her testimony. The witness appearing via Zoom shall be on a computer/phone with video capabilities, to allow the Court to swear in the witness prior to his/her testimony.
Stipulated or Agreed to Orders are acceptable. Orders submitted to the Court should be in Word format via email to the Judicial Assistant. Include in the email that all parties have reviewed and consented to the Order.
Orders that have not been previously agreed to may also be approved by the Judge. All parties shall be provided five business days to object to the entry of the Order. Any objection shall be made to the attorney who prepared the Order. If the parties cannot agree to the wording of the Order, each shall submit Orders for the Judge to consider, in Word format via email to the Judicial Assistant.
Answers to this question and other related questions can be found on the Juvenile Court Policy & Procedure page of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit Court website.
No. The 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 case worker as soon as possible.
No, the JA cannot. Juvenile cases are confidential in nature. If you have questions, you should contact your attorney 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 have been properly noticed. You may never discuss your case with the Judge outside of the courtroom. Letters to the Judge are not read by the Judge unless all parties agree during a court hearing that the Judge may do so. 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 without the permission of all parties, as the communication may be deemed improper. It is best for your communication to the Judge be made through your attorney.