DeSoto County Civil & Criminal Court

Requirements and Information

April  10, 2024

Guy A. Flowers, DeSoto County Judge

Amanda Nelson, Judicial Assistant

Requirements & Information

Criminal Division

Waivers of Appearance

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

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.

Docket Sounding - Pre-Trial Motions, Motions to Continue

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:

Zoom Information

Pleading by Zoom

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.

Pleas in Absentia

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.

Incarcerated Defendants

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 General Requirements

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:

  1. All participants must have their audio and video (if applicable) working and know how to mute/unmute and turn their camera on and off before the appearance begins.
  2. If Zooming in with audio and video capability, the participant should name themselves using their true legal first and last name.
  3. When in the Zoom courtroom, the participant should remain muted with their video camera off until their case is called.
  4. When a case is called, the participant should not be in a moving vehicle, or in a motion in any other way.
  5. When a case is called, the participant shall then enable their microphone and unmute themselves in a timely fashion.
  6. Any documents that would normally be filed with the clerk in open court shall be filed with the Clerk’s Office in advance of the hearing. This includes, but is not limited to, plea in absentia forms, acknowledgment and waiver of rights forms, exhibits, etc. Please do not send any documents to the judicial assistant by email or hard copy that you would normally file with the clerk had your appearance been in person. Please contact the Clerk’s Office for further instruction on the number of days in advance documents must be filed for them to be “seen” by the judge electronically.
  7. Appearing remotely on Zoom carries with it the same requirements for professionalism, decorum, and civility to all participants and the court as if physically present. All participants shall be wearing appropriate attire. Attire with offensive language and hats will not be permitted. As in any courtroom, there is to be no eating, drinking, gum chewing, smoking, or engaging in any activity other than participation in the court appearance.

General Information

Standards of Professionalism

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.

Civil Traffic

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.

Pro-Se Litigants

A glossary of legal terms used in court by the Court and the attorneys that may help your understanding of your case.

Motions Required to be Filed

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.


Caselaw and Other Legal Authority

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.

Civil Division

All hearings are limited to the time reserved. Coordination between parties (if applicable) is essential in scheduling correct hearing time.

Hearings Under 30 Minutes

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.

Hearings More Than 30 Minutes

All hearings estimated to last more than 30 minutes must be scheduled by telephoning the Judicial Assistant.

Cross Notices of Hearings

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.

Small Claims Requirements

Effective Immediately. The following will apply to small claims cases before the court:

  • Except for trial, all small claims cases will be held via zoom.
  • Log on to the zoom application using the credential provided to you at least 5 minutes before the hearing. Court will begin promptly at the appointed time.
  • For Pro-se Litigants

    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.

  • For Attorneys

    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.

  • Orders

    Until further notice Do Not file proposed Orders in the Florida E-portal under the “proposed orders” tab, instead please submit proposed Orders as a normal pleading and it should give you the option to then choose “Proposed Order” as the type of document.

    All proposed orders must have the complete name and address of parties to be cc’d on the order.

    Please electronically file all proposed Orders.

Guardianship Information

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.

Attorney is Required

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.

Types of Guardianships

  • Guardians of Minors,
  • Guardians of Adults, based on incapacity,
  • Emergency Temporary Guardians (a corresponding Petition Determining Incapacity must be filed),
  • Preneed guardians,
  • Guardian advocacy.

Orders Appointing Counsel for the Alleged Incapacitated Person and Examining Committee

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.

Indigent Ward

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.

Surrender of Driver’s License

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.

Guardian education requirements

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.

Annual Accounting and Plan Due Dates Florida- Probate Rule 5.904

Month Letters Signed Report Begin Date Report End Date Report Due Date
January February 1 January 31 May 1
February March 1 February 28 June 1
March April 1 March 31 July 1
April May 1 April 30 August 1
May June 1 May 31 September 1
June July 1 June 30 October 1
July August 1 July 31 November 1
August September 1 August 31 December 1
September October 1 September 30 January 1
October November 1 October 31 February 1
November December 1 November 30 March 1
December January 1 December 31 April 1


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.

Setting Hearings

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.

Proposed Orders

Effective January 2024. All proposed Orders and Letters shall be submitted to the Clerk of Courts via mail or through the E-portal only.

Zoom Appearances

Zoom Appearances are permitted for non-evidentiary hearings and non-contested final hearings.

Contact Information