Sarasota County Criminal & Civil Division A

Requirements and Information

February 9, 2024

Maryann Olson Uzabel, Sarasota County Judge

Jared Salzman, Judicial Assistant

Requirements & Information

Self-Represented Litigants
Please read if you do not have an attorney

The judge must apply the same rules to all parties, regardless of whether you have an attorney. The judge may not talk to you about your case outside of the courtroom, so please do not call to speak with the judge. The judge’s Judicial Assistant can help you schedule a hearing. The Judicial Assistant may not help you with your case or send information to the other party or attorney for you. The Judicial Assistant may not “give the judge a message.” Additionally, please do not ask the Judicial Assistant for the outcome of a hearing or verify that an order has been signed; you may review the Clerk’s website for details about your case. Please remember that whenever you file something with the Clerk or provide the judge a copy, you must send a copy to all the attorneys or parties at the same time.

Any references to the obligations of “counsel” or “attorneys” in these requirements apply equally to self-represented litigants.

Standards of Professionalism

All attorneys must follow the Twelfth Circuit Standards of Professionalism.

The Twelfth Circuit Standards of Professionalism are strictly enforced. Any discovery motions not in full compliance may not be heard. If a discovery response is served or circumstances otherwise change after the filing of a motion to compel, the parties are expected to continue their efforts to confer in good faith to narrow the issues to be resolved by the court prior to the time of hearing.


The Twelfth Judicial Circuit provides spoken language court interpreters to limited-English-proficient persons in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, section 90.606, Florida Statutes, and Rule 2.560, Florida Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration. If you require the assistance of an interpreter, please submit your request using the Interpreter Request Form or call (941) 749-3659. Please submit your request as early as possible. Requests are less likely to be accommodated if made with fewer than five (5) business days’ notice.

Remote Appearances


The following civil hearings shall be conducted in person, unless otherwise ordered by the Court: Evictions, trials, evidentiary hearings (except for hearings on claims of exemption), and non-evidentiary hearings expected to last longer than fifteen (15) minutes. The Notices of Hearing for these proceedings shall contain language that the hearing will be held in person in the courtroom and not by Zoom.

Small Claims Cases:

All parties are required to appear in person at the Pretrial Conference (PTC) unless excused by the Court. Failure to appear may result in a default judgment or dismissal of the case. Please visit the Small Claims Procedures page for more information.

Most other civil hearings will be held via Zoom.

Criminal Pretrial Conferences (PTCs), negotiated pleas, pleas in absentia or other non-evidentiary matters expected to last fewer than ten (10) minutes. When scheduling, please apprise the Judicial Assistant of the need for a Zoom hearing. Individuals appearing live will be heard prior to those appearing via Zoom.

Criminal trials, evidentiary hearings, docket sounding, violation of probation hearings, trial status hearings, arraignments, non-jury trials, and open plea hearings will be conducted in person, and will be noticed appropriately unless set at a previous hearing.

Defendant’s appearance is required with private and public defender representation unless a Stipulation and Order for Continuance and/or Waiver of Appearance has been signed by all parties (including Defendant) and filed with the Clerk.

Defendant’s appearance at Docket Sounding may not be waived without prior written approval of the Court.

The Notices of Hearing for Zoom proceedings shall contain information about how to use Zoom, including the meeting ID and password. Failure to comply with this requirement may require the hearing to be rescheduled.

Judge Uzabel’s Zoom page

Requests to appear via Zoom will be granted upon the Court’s finding of good cause if Judge Uzabel receives the request no fewer than three (3) business days prior to the scheduled and the request is otherwise in compliance with Rule 2.530 of the Florida Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration.


Judge Uzabel will host the Zoom meetings. Please visit the Public Court Hearings page for Zoom log-on credentials and procedures, including requirements for noticing a Zoom hearing, Zoom etiquette, etc.

The procedure for a Zoom witness appearance is found on the Technology Services page.

The Remote Courtroom is still a public courtroom. Unless you are unable, the Court expects that you attend the remote hearing with your camera on and that you conduct yourself professionally.

Please remember that the Court cannot electronically file your exhibits, and they must be either filed in the Court file or you must send a hard copy in advance of the hearing or trial. When in doubt, please contact the judicial Assistant before an evidentiary hearing to make sure that your evidence will be properly submitted before the Court.

Any witness testifying at an evidentiary hearing or non-jury trial by Zoom must appear on camera and must present a valid form of identification.

Hearing Procedures


If the motion or notice of hearing is not filed in the court file, the hearing may be cancelled.

Civil Hearings

All civil hearings shall be scheduled through the Judicial Automated Calendaring System (JACS). However, any hearings the require more than thirty (30) minutes shall be scheduled through the Judicial Assistant at (941) 861-7956, or via email. Hearings are limited to the time reserved. All motions shall be filed prior to reserving hearing time.

Criminal Hearings

All criminal hearings are scheduled through the Judicial Assistant at (941) 861-7956. Requests to appear via Zoom will be granted upon the Court’s finding of good cause if Judge Uzabel receives the request no fewer than three (3) business days prior to the scheduled and the request is otherwise in compliance with Rule 2.530 of the Florida Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration.

For Criminal PTCs

The Court will stagger times for private attorneys to appear via Zoom. The Judicial Assistant will email counsel 4-5 days prior to the hearing with the time to appear. Please contact the Judicial Assistant to schedule a time for a negotiate plea during PTCs and ensure that all paperwork has been submitted to the Court at least 24 hours prior to the PTC.

Motions for Rehearing, Reconsideration or New Trial

Do not set for Hearing; hearings set without the Court’s prior approval will be cancelled.

All Motions for Rehearing, Reconsideration or for New Trial shall be filed and submitted directly to the judge. The judge will review the motion to determine whether a hearing is warranted.


All notices of hearing shall list the exact title of the motion or other document that is to be heard and shall note the date of filing. If a hearing is scheduled in JACS and “unlisted motion” is selected, the exact name of the motion being scheduled must be added in the “Additional Information” section of JACS.

Substitute motions

Once a hearing is scheduled, no additional motions are to be added or substituted absent prior approval of opposing counsel and the Court. If multiple motions are being scheduled all motions shall be specifically listed.

Cross-noticing hearings

“Piggybacking” or cross-noticing of motions or substitute motions is not permitted absent the consent of all parties and the Court.


Criminal PTCs

For a continuance, the PTC may be continued twice without the need for defense counsel to appear, provided that the defense attorney has submitted to the Judicial Assistant the Stipulation to Continue Pretrial Conference form prior to the scheduled PTC. If the case has been continued twice before, written approval from the assistant state attorney and the Defendant is required.

Small Claims

Requests to continue the PTC must be in writing and filed with the Clerk, with a copy to the Judicial Assistant and all parties. Parties may also file a Stipulation for Small Claims Mediation form found on the website no less than two (2) days prior to the PTC. Attendance at mediation is mandatory before a trial date may be set.

Trials are not continued by stipulation until a motion or stipulation stating the need for the continuance are received by the Court, the Court has reviewed the same and the Judicial Assistant has notified the parties after the Court has decided.

Pursuant to Rule 1.440(b) a “notice for trial” announces that the action is at issue and “ready to be set for trial.” Continuances to complete discovery or for other reasons that suggest that the action is not ready for trial at the time the “notice of trial” was filed and served will be strongly disfavored and may result in it not being placed on a trial docket.

Pursuant to Rule 2.545(3), Fla. R. Gen. Prac. & Jud. Admin., and Rule 1.460, Fla. R. Civ. P., motions for continuance shall be in writing and must also be signed by the party, not just their counsel. The Court must approve stipulations to continue a trial once the cause has been set on the trial docket.


JACS should be used to cancel hearings when possible. However, JACS will not authorize a cancellation when it results in short notice to the parties. When JACS does not permit a cancellation, the moving party may cancel the hearing only by emailing a copy of the e-filed Notice of Cancellation to the judicial assistant. Include all parties in that e-mail. The judicial assistant will acknowledge receipt of the notice, cancel the hearing, and inform all parties the hearing has been cancelled.

Communications with Judge’s Office

E-mail correspondence is preferred. Send e-mail to

Submission of Proposed Orders

Proposed orders may be submitted through the Sarasota Clerk of Court via e-filing through the portal, pursuant to the Twelfth Circuit Administrative Order 2022-1.2. If mailing proposed orders to the Court, parties must supply copies of the proposed order for conforming and return stamped envelopes for all parties. In matters where both parties are represented by counsel, agreed orders may be emailed to the Judicial Assistant where service via email is indicated and email addresses are provided.

Courtesy Copies

The scheduling attorney must provide Judge Uzabel’s office with a courtesy copy of the Notice of Hearing as well as a copy of the motion being scheduled for hearing. Case law or memoranda of law should be provided to the Court no later than two (2) business days prior to the hearing. Please do not email case law, but mail to Judge Uzabel or hand-deliver to the courthouse. Notices of cancellation of hearing should be filed with the Clerk of the Court with a courtesy copy emailed to the Judicial Assistant.

Emergency/Other Urgent Matters

All motions requesting emergency hearing time may be faxed, delivered directly to Judge Uzabel’s office, or submitted via email to the Judicial Assistant. Copies must be sent to the opposing party via the same delivery method. The motion should detail the circumstances of the emergency. The Court will review the motion and determine whether an expedited hearing is warranted.

Exhibits for Evidentiary Proceedings/Trials

Exhibits for evidentiary hearings and trials, as well as indices/exhibit lists, must be delivered to the courthouse in two hard copy sets (one for the judge and one for the clerk), at least two days prior to the evidentiary hearing.

Plaintiff/ Petitioner’s exhibits shall be numbered, i.e., “1, 2, 3…”; Defendant/Respondent’s exhibits shall be lettered, “A, B, C…”

Pretrial Procedures and Conferences/Case Management

Case Management: Twelfth Judicial Circuit Administrative Order 2022-07.1 outlines case management requirements in most county civil actions. You are required to review and comply with the requirements set forth in that order.

Setting Case for Trial

The Judge will set the case for trial, either in open court or in chambers.

Preferred Division Forms

Contact Information