Requirements and Information
September 22, 2023
All defendants are required to be present pursuant to Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.180 unless a written waiver signed by the Defendant is filed with the clerk. Note: Defendants must be physically present at docket sounding, unless otherwise ordered.
Pre-Trial conferences can be continued by stipulation of counsel for the State of Florida and the defense. Signed stipulations submitted to the Court prior to the Pre-Trial Conference date shall excuse counsel’s presence at the conference.
No Motions, including motions to continue, will be heard at docket sounding. The purpose of docket sounding is to enter a plea or announce ready for trial. If the case is set for trial, counsel shall coordinate with the Court and counsel as to how many days are needed for trial, and the number of witnesses and any scheduling conflicts.
The plea cut off date is the last plea and motion calendar date prior to the trial period. Pleas after that date will be open to the court, unless there is a significant change in the posture of the case that justifies the exception.
Counsel for the Defendant shall schedule a time and date and file a Notice of Hearing with the clerk, indicating the format of the plea e.g., zoom, plea in absentia.
Counsel and pro se litigants are encouraged to read and become familiar with the Desoto County, 12th Judicial Circuit Court Rules and Procedures and pro-se forms:
Please file the executed plea form with the clerk of the court. Please do not email or send the plea form to the judicial assistant.
Please file the appropriate forms and documents to the clerk of the court. Please do not email or send the plea documents or other forms to the judicial assistant.
If the charge to which the Defendant has plead requires fingerprints, and the Defendant is unable to obtain those fingerprints prior to the entry of the plea, then an additional condition of probation shall be imposed for the Defendant to submit fingerprints to the clerk of the court.
All motions and hearings for an incarcerated Defendant shall be conducted via video conference link between the Court and the Desoto County Jail, unless the attorney requests to have the Defendant appear in court. Counsel for the defendant shall notify the judicial assistant, giving sufficient time for the request to processed.
Zoom is a platform by which people can appear by telephone or by video. More information about Zoom is available on the Zoom website. Visit Judge Flowers Zoom page for more information.
Please note that those individuals appearing live will be heard prior to those appearing via Zoom.
Prior to scheduling any evidentiary hearing or hearing more than the Rule’s requisite time frame, the moving party shall ensure the opposing party is agreeable to the Zoom appearance and that the request is otherwise in compliance with Rule 2.530 of the Florida Rules of Practice and Judicial Administration. A filed stipulation is not required on this issue.
If using Zoom, please adhere to the following rules in place for Judge Flowers. Failure to follow these rules may result in individuals not being let in from the Zoom wait room:
All Attorneys shall be required to be familiar with and abide by the 12th Judicial Circuit Administrative order A.O. 2010-22.2 (The Standards of Professionalism) which are available on the 12th Judicial Circuit website.
If you received a civil traffic citation and elected to have a hearing, please note that all hearings (including pre-trial conferences) are conducted in person, unless good cause is shown.
A glossary of legal terms used in court by the Court and the attorneys that may help your understanding of your case.
All motions must be filed prior to reserving hearing time. Filing a Notice of Hearing without a corresponding motion may result in cancellation of the hearing.
If an interpreter is needed, you must arrange for an interpreter to be present. The Twelfth Judicial Circuit provides for all court events, if properly requested in advance. Submit your request online using the interpreter request form.
For any hearing, the party who requests the Court consider legal authority shall submit their legal authority to the Judicial Assistant’s e-mail (3) three days prior to the hearing. The email shall include the case number, caption and date of hearing. Please provide opposing counsel the same authority prior to the hearing. Parties may also submit third copies of the legal authority in-person at the hearing.
All hearings are limited to the time reserved. Coordination between parties (if applicable) is essential in scheduling correct hearing time.
All hearings 30 minutes or less in length must be scheduled through the JACS. Available timeslots are 5, 10, 15 and 30 minutes. Please do not combine hearing times; if additional time is needed, please contact the JA.
All hearings estimated to last more than 30 minutes must be scheduled by telephoning the Judicial Assistant.
Once a motion is scheduled via JACS or the Judicial Assistant, subsequent motion shall not be “cross noticed”, absent prior approval of the court and opposing counsel. Hearings should be coordinated with opposing counsel and adequately provide for additional time. Do not reply on original time scheduled.
Effective Immediately. The following will apply to small claims cases before the court:
Once logged into zoom, manifest appropriate courtroom behavior. As you log into Zoom, log in using your name as it appears on the court's docket. Once you are connected to Zoom, you are officially in Court, so please mute your microphone and wait for your case to be called. Once your case is called, be prepared to promptly respond when your case is called. This will require you to become familiar with how to mute and unmute yourself on the application.
If a party agrees to settle the case in Court, the parties will exchange contact information in order for the lawyer to complete and formalize the settlement agreement. The case will then be taken off the Court's docket and there will not be a future control date set by the Court. This procedure is in place to maintain efficiency and avoid needless accumulation of settled cases on the Court's docket. If a party has agreed to settlement but has not followed through or been non-responsive, please schedule the case back on the Court's calendar.
Please electronically file all proposed Orders.
Florida guardianship law is found in chapter 744 of the Florida statutes whereby the Florida legislature recognizes that every individual has unique needs and differing abilities, and it is the purpose of the Florida guardianship law to promote the public welfare by establishing a system that permits incapacitated persons to participate as fully as possible in all decisions affecting them; that assists such persons in meeting the essential requirements for their physical health and safety, in protecting their rights, in managing their financial resources, and in developing or regaining their abilities to the maximum extent possible; and that accomplishes these objectives through providing, in each case, the form of assistance that least interferes with the legal capacity of a person to act in her of his own behalf.
Florida Rule of Probate Procedure 5.030 requires every guardian to be represented by an attorney admitted to practice in the State of Florida. A guardian advocate is not required to be represented by an attorney unless otherwise required by law or the court.
Desoto County uses a rotating appointment wheel for appointment of attorneys. Please contact Desiree Dennison at the Desoto County Clerk’s Office (863)993-4876.
Any party seeking guardianship may seek an Order waiving of filing fees pending the court’s finding of the Ward’s indigence. Upon a waiver of filing fees, when the guardian files an Inventory, the guardian must: either file an indigency affidavit with the clerk of the circuit court or pay the filing fees previously waived. A Notice of Compliance is required to be filed with the inventory stating that the Ward’s assets are insufficient to pay the filing fees or that the guardian has paid the filing fees.
Upon an adjudication of incapacity that removes the Ward’s right to operate a motor vehicle, the guardian shall surrender the Ward’s driver’s license to the Clerk of the Circuit Court or file an affidavit of diligent search that the Ward’s license cannot be located.
Unless waived by the court, all guardians shall complete a background and credit history check prior to their appointment.
Background check ORI # FL014053Z
Unless waived by the court, all guardians shall attend and complete a guardianship education class.
To assist attorneys in the preparation several checklists are available for your use. If a checklist is available for your filing, it is required to be submitted with your filing.
Please use JACS to schedule hearing time. If a party requires an emergency hearing before the first available JACS hearing date, please contact Amanda Nelson, Judicial Assistant, at (863) 993-4644 for available dates. All emergency hearing dates shall coordinate with opposing counsel (if applicable). Cross notice of hearings will NOT be heard without prior approval of the Court and opposing counsel.
Effective September 2023. All proposed Orders and Letters shall be submitted in Word format only to the Judicial Assistant via e-mail.
Proposed orders not submitted in Word format will not be accepted.
Zoom Appearances are permitted for non-evidentiary hearings and non-contested final hearings.