Honorable Matt Whyte

Circuit Court Judge

Contact Information

Judge Matt Whyte

Judicial Service

  • Circuit Court Bench, October 2019

Education & Achievements

  • JD, Stetson University College of Law, 1998
  • MBA, Stetson University, 2004
  • BS, University of Central Florida, 1993
Judicial Assistant
Division Email
(941) 749–3611
(941) 749-3679; (Emergencies only — no more than 10 pages)
Manatee County Judicial Center
Physical Address
1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34205
Mailing Address
P.O. Box 3000, Bradenton, FL 34206
Office Hours
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed for lunch Noon-1 p.m.
Proceedings are held in Courtroom 6A
Notice Pursuant to Canon 3 of the Florida Code of Judicial Conduct
Please be advised that from approximately January 3, 2017, through November 7, 2019, Judge Whyte served as General Counsel and Director of Human Resources for Angelina “Angel” Colonneso, Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller. As General Counsel, Judge Whyte did not participate in substantive child support matters, including establishment or enforcement, and did not personally represent the interests of any party to child support actions brought by or through the Florida Department of Revenue. However, as General Counsel, Judge Whyte reviewed and provided legal opinion regarding the Clerk of Court’s contract with the Florida Department of Revenue as well as routinely interacted with the Clerk of Court staff that handled Title IV-D child support matters.
From approximately July 2013, through approximately December 2016, Judge Whyte was a shareholder with the law firm of Kirk Pinkerton in Sarasota, Florida.
From approximately 1998-2013, Judge Whyte was an Assistant State Attorney in the Twelfth Judicial Circuit, worked as an associate with the law firm Dickinson and Gibbons in Sarasota, Florida, and was a law partner of Steven G. Lavely, Esq.
See Florida Statutes 38.01-38.10, Florida Code of Judicial Conduct Canon 3, and Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.330.
Notice to the public: The Code of Judicial Conduct governing behavior by judges forbids the Judges of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit to discuss pending cases with the public. Please do not call or email the Court expecting to speak with a Judge about any case. The Court is only allowed to consider arguments made in the courtroom and in documents properly filed by actual parties in the case as authorized by law and the Rules of Court. The Court cannot ethically read or consider any other opinions or arguments about the case. Communications that do not meet these legal requirements cannot be forwarded to the Judges.

Requirements & Information

Standards of Professionalism

Attorneys and parties shall adhere to Section E. Discovery found in Twelfth Circuit Standards of Professionalism, adopted by the Circuit on October 20, 2010, in Administrative Order 2010-22.2.

A. Remote Appearance

Attorneys, parties, witnesses and other interested persons or entities are directed to review, be familiar with and follow: Florida Rule of Criminal Procedures 3.116, Florida Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration 2.530 & 2.540, Twelfth Judicial Circuit Administrative Orders 2023-7.2 (5/17/23) and 2023-05a.2 (5/30/23) and the Florida Supreme Court Administrative Orders AOSC22-51 (10/3/22) and AOSC21-17, Amend 3 (1/8/22).

B. Hearing Procedures

Calendars (Court)

You can obtain monthly court calendars on the Criminal Division page. Calendars are subject to change. Please check back regularly for possible amended calendars.

Bring Calendars to Court

Attorneys and parties should bring or have access to their personal and professional calendars at every court appearance in case the matter must be rescheduled or continued.

Inmate Transport

The scheduling attorney is responsible for notifying Judicial Security if an inmate needs to be transported from the jail for a hearing no later than 3:00 pm the day prior to the hearing. Contact: JudicialSecurity@manateesheriff.com. If a defendant’s jail status changes it will be the responsibility of the attorney to notify Judicial Security.


A staff Spanish interpreter is assigned to automatically be present at first appearances and felony arraignments. If you require an interpreter for any other court event, you must schedule one. It is not up to the presiding judge, judicial assistant, or trial clerk to schedule the interpreter. If you are not represented by an attorney, you must request the interpreter yourself. You must make your interpreter request online using the Interpreter Request Form. Requests should be made at least 5 days before your scheduled court event. If you do not have access to a computer, please call (941) 749–3659 for assistance. Trial dates and most hearing dates are given to you weeks in advance, so please make your interpreter request early. If your court event is cancelled or continued or you no longer need an interpreter that you scheduled, please call the interpreting office ((941) 749–3659) and leave a message. Do not call the judicial assistant. If you have an emergency hearing or last-minute plea, you must call Court Administration’s interpreting department at (941) 749–3600, ext. 7100 to request an interpreter.


Unless otherwise ordered by the Court:

  1. A motion must be filed prior to reserving hearing time. The scheduling party must confer with opposing counsel and agree regarding the total time required. Any hearings scheduled without conferring with opposing counsel may be cancelled without notice.
  2. “Piggybacking” or cross-notice of motions or substitute motions once a motion is scheduled via JACS or through the Judicial Assistant is not permitted absent the consent of all parties and the Court.
  3. Add-on cases/hearings: Any party wishing to add a case or hearing to the docket, at a time when JACS is closed, shall contact the Judicial Assistant no later than 10:00 a.m. the day prior to the scheduled hearing for approval. For example, to place an additional case on the Tuesday docket the requesting party shall contact the Judicial Assistant no later than 10:00 a.m. on Monday. The requesting party must have the approval of opposing counsel prior to contacting the Judicial Assistant. Do not contact the Clerk’s office to add-on cases. If approved the Court will contact the Clerk. (Hint: the later the request the less likely it will be accommodated.)
  4. Cancellation: Please cancel hearing time through JACS as soon as you become aware the need for time no longer exists. If unable to cancel the hearing through JACS, please contact the Judicial Assistant so she can make the time available for other cases. The attorney canceling the hearing shall be responsible for notifying the bailiff's office that an inmate will not be needed. Attorneys may not cancel hearings set by the Court without approval of the Court.
  5. Single Defendant/Multiple Cases: When scheduling a plea or hearing on a single defendant with multiple cases, all case numbers are required. The lowest case number shall be placed on JACS in the box labeled “Case number: _____CF_____” to reserve the necessary time. All additional case numbers shall be placed on JACS in the section labeled “Notes: _____”. If the cases are consecutive, they may be denoted by a hyphen, i.e. 2005 CF 0001-0010. The written notice sent to the assistant state attorney assigned to those cases and to the Court must include all case numbers.
  6. Multiple Defendants/Single Motion: When scheduling a hearing on the same motion referencing multiple Defendants, with several attorneys or even a single attorney, only one defendant’s case number shall be placed on JACS in the box labeled “Case number_____CF_____” to reserve the time. All additional Defendants’ case numbers must be placed on the JACS in the section labeled “Notes: _____”. All parties using the reserved time shall send a written notice to the assistant state attorney and the Court.

Method of Scheduling

  1. Please use the (JACS) to set all pleas and hearings with a duration of 30 minutes or less. It is recommended that five-minute slots be used for negotiated pleas, motions to compel, and any other simple motions that will take five minutes or less to be heard. Pleas requiring the use of an interpreter should be scheduled in a 15-minute slot. Please do not schedule back-to-back time, i.e. two 15-minute slots, to obtain a 30-minute hearing.
  2. The scheduling party shall serve Notice of Hearing a reasonable time in advance of hearing and shall indicate the duration/amount of time reserved. Hearings exceeding thirty (30) minutes must be scheduled through the Judicial Assistant.
  3. The Notice of Hearing must conspicuously indicate:
    1. The title of the Motion to be heard and the date the Motion was filed with the Clerk.
    2. Whether the Motion is “evidentiary” or “non-evidentiary”.

Pleas and Motions

  1. All pleas and motions shall be set on those days designated for pleas and motions.
  2. Pleas and motions dates are assigned to a specific assistant state attorney. The scheduling party must determine which assistant state attorney is assigned to a case and schedule his or her plea or motion accordingly. Please consult the online calendar before setting a case for hearing.
  3. The Court knows it may be necessary to set pleas and motions for dates other than those designated to a specific assistant state attorney or when there is no time available in JACS. In this situation, the scheduling party must:
    1. contact the Judicial Assistant with the: case number; name of the assistant state attorney; reason it cannot be placed on a designated date; and time needed. The Judicial Assistant will then provide alternate dates and times;
    2. contact the assistant state attorney to clear the date and time; and
    3. re-contact the Judicial Assistant to confirm the date and time agreed upon. The Judicial Assistant will not hold the potential dates and times. If no confirmation is made promptly, the dates and times may be lost.

Remand of Defendant

Unless otherwise agreed by the court, defendants found guilty at trial, defendants entering an open plea, and defendants entering a negotiated plea that includes incarceration should be prepared to be remanded into custody at the time the verdict is rendered or the plea is entered.


The Court strictly applies Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.545(e) and Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.190(f) concerning continuances. Unless good cause shown, all motions for continuance must be in writing, signed by the requesting party, contain a Certificate of Good Faith, and advise whether the Defendant is in custody, the date the information/indictment was filed, the charges, the number of previous continuances and who requested them, whether speedy trial has been waived, and all efforts made to move the case and resolve discovery issues. The Court strongly encourages the use of discovery enforcement motions to facilitate the movement of cases towards resolution, including but not limited to: rules to show cause; motions to compel; motions for statements of particulars, etc. Stipulations for continuance shall contain the same information as a motion for continuance and will be reviewed by the court on a case-by-case basis.

Bond Hearings

Most bond hearings are conducted by video to the jail. Video bond hearings are conducted every Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. and scheduled for five minutes. Any other hearing set in this time slot will be cancelled. If either party wishes to schedule a bond hearing to last more than five minutes, please use the procedures described in “Scheduling”.

Motions to Compel

Attorneys and parties shall adhere to Section E. Discovery found in Twelfth Circuit Standards of Professionalism, adopted by the Circuit on October 20, 2010, in Administrative Order 2010-22.2.

Motions for Withdrawal of Counsel

Pursuant to Rule 2.505, Florida Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration, motions to withdraw must be set for hearing with notice provided to all parties.

Hearing Packets and Binders

In order to make the best use of the Court’s limited hearing time and allow the Judge to prepare for each hearing, it is suggested that Moving and Non-Moving Parties submit a hearing packet/binder to the Judge’s chambers at least three business days before the hearing date, but preferably one week prior to the hearing. Hearing packets/binders should not be filed with the Clerk of Court. Rather, they should be sent directly to the Judge’s chambers via the Division 1 email, via hand-delivery, by U.S. mail, or other standard delivery service.

Hearing packets/binders should be tabbed/divided and contain:

  • a copy of the Notice of Hearing;
  • a copy of the Motion to be heard;
  • legible copies of exhibits and documents to be identified or introduced;
  • a memorandum of law with facts and law supporting the party’s position;
  • a proposed Order on the Motion; and
  • printed copies of case law cited in the Motion or memorandum, which cases shall have the relevant portions highlighted or otherwise marked so as to make those relevant portions obvious.

C. Communications with the Court

Judicial Assistant Cannot Give Legal Advice

The judicial assistant cannot answer your legal questions and will not “explain” your situation to the Judge. Your opportunity to speak to the Judge happens only in court.

Getting Updates on Your Case

Attorneys and parties should not contact the judicial assistant to get updates or inquire as to the status of their case. Rather, they should contact the Public Access department of the Manatee County Clerk of Court and request “Attorney of Record” or “Party” access to their case. This will allow greater access to documents available on the Clerk’s website.

Progress dockets, case related documents, and Court orders can be found on the Clerk of Court’s website.

D. Submission of Orders

Unless otherwise noted in these Requirements, documents should be sent to the Judge’s chambers using one or more of the following methods:

  • Division 1 email;
  • Florida Courts E-Filing Portal;
  • hand delivery;
  • U.S. Mail;
  • or other standard delivery/courier service.

Agreed Orders

Agreed Orders/Judgments should be clearly indicated in the title of the order. The Court will not sign Agreed Orders/Judgments without written proof of agreement or consent by all parties.

Proposed Orders

Proposed (unsigned) orders or judgments should not be sent to the Clerk’s Office or e-filed through the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal. They should be sent directly to the Judge’s chambers for review and consideration.

Unless otherwise provided by Rule and/or Statute, it is mandatory that proposed orders/judgments and other documents sent to the Court include a cover letter with a brief explanation of the enclosed document(s) and what is being requested from the Court. The cover letter must affirmatively and explicitly state that true and correct copies of all proposed orders/judgments and supporting or related documents have been sent to all parties and affected non-parties.

Proposed orders/judgments must be accompanied with sufficient copies and self-addressed stamped envelopes to send conformed copies to all parties and affected non-parties. In the alternative, current and valid email addresses can be provided in the proposed order/judgment for all parties and affected non-parties that should receive copies of the proposed order/judgment.

Proposed orders/judgments resulting from a hearing must indicate the date of the hearing and the motions that are addressed in the proposed order/judgment.

Proposed orders/judgments submitted to the court for consideration without a hearing must also be accompanied with a copy of the motion or a reference to the specific date that the motion was filed (docketed) by the Clerk, NOT the date that the motion was submitted to the Florida E-Filing Portal.

All proposed orders sent by email must be sent in Word format or PDF, as directed by the Court. If you do not follow this procedure, the paperwork will be returned to your office.

E. Courtesy Copies

The scheduling attorney must furnish the Court (via email, mail or hand delivery) and opposing counsel with copies of: (1) the notice of hearing; (2) the motion(s); and (3) all pertinent portions of any documentation or pleadings referenced in the motion and any supporting case law, at least three (3) days prior to the hearing. See “Hearing Packets and Binders”.

F. Emergency & Other Urgent Matters

Rehearing, Reconsideration, Arrest of Judgment, or New Trial

All Motions for Rehearing, Reconsideration, Arrest of Judgment, or New Trial Must be filed with the Clerk and a copy submitted directly to the judge with a cover letter, via mail or hand delivery. Do not set these motions for hearing. After review the Court will determine if a hearing is required.

Release of Uncharged Defendants

Defense counsel will email the Judicial Assistant a copy of a motion for release of uncharged defendant, with copy to all parties at the time the motion is filed. Defense shall obtain hearing time from the judicial assistant for the next scheduled video bond hearing or within 72 hours at the latest and shall prepare the Notice of Hearing.


Emergency motions shall be filed with the Clerk and immediately emailed to the Court’s JA with copy to all parties, along with an estimate of the amount of hearing time needed. Emergencies are rare. The Court will decide whether to handle the matter as an emergency.

Parties represented by counsel shall attempt in good faith to resolve or mediate emergency/expedited matters and submit stipulations, if at all possible.

Motions seeking Emergency/Expedited consideration must be filed with the Clerk and served on the opposing party and any affected non-party. If a party or affected non-party is not noticed, the motion must clearly and specifically explain why, including efforts made to locate and notice the party or affected non-party. Motions requesting emergency/expedited hearing time shall be filed with the Clerk and a copy sent directly to the Court along with a cover letter. The motion shall be detailed, including the specific relief sought and the amount of hearing time requested.

Ex Parte Relief

If a party seeks ex parte consideration and relief in an emergency/expedited motion, the motion shall give citation to the statute, rule, or case law that allow a party to seek ex parte relief. The Court will review the motion and determine whether an emergency/expedited hearing is warranted and if ex parte relief is appropriate.

G. Exhibits for Evidentiary Proceedings

Exhibits and evidence should be pre-marked before the hearing or trial begins. Exhibit labels must have the following information legibly printed on them:

  • the designation of the party moving the item into evidence (State, Defendant);
  • a numbering and lettering system that clearly identifies each, individual exhibit or piece of evidence from another (i.e., 1, 2a, 2b, Composite 3, etc.) and the case number (i.e., 2024 CF 0000);
  • the date the exhibit is entered into evidence, if known ahead of time, and the case number.

Exhibits and other documents or things that the court can review prior to the hearing should be sent at least three (3) business days before the hearing. Courtesy copies of all motions and memoranda of law, along with case law (marked and highlighted) that is cited to and will be cited to during a hearing or trial should be sent to the court at least three business days before the hearing or the first day of trial.

H. Pretrial Procedures & Conferences

Case Management

The Court conducts case managements every Wednesday at 9:00 a.m., except during the first trial week, and on other days as needed. The Court expects the parties to be able to discuss the case, status of discovery, and any matters unique to the case. Attorneys shall have their calendars available. The Court believes effective case management increases judicial efficiency, reduces delay, and improves the quality of criminal justice administration. Case management is not a pretrial conference under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.180. The Court concludes there is good cause for the personal presence of defendants. Thus, the presence of defendants at Case Management is mandatory, unless excused by the Court. The State and defense must comply with Circuit Criminal Administrative Order 2009-1 which outlines the procedures for Case Management hearings, including the timely conveyance by the State of a sentence recommendation to the defense. Additional notes concerning case management:

  1. The parties may stipulate to a trial date by using the approved Stipulation for Trial Date form. The form must be completely filled out and contain the defendant’s signature. Unless the parties have heard from the Court on the stipulation, counsel and the defendant must still appear. The assistant state attorney has no authority to excuse a defendant or counsel from case management, so please do not ask.
  2. Defendants may enter pleas at case management.
  3. The Court will consider setting additional case management conferences in those cases that likely will involve complicated legal or case management issues, to expedite cases, or to promote judicial efficiency.

Docket Sounding

Generally, three to four weeks prior to trial, the Court will conduct a docket sounding. The purpose of docket sounding is to enter a plea or announce ready for trial. Defendants must appear personally at docket sounding. The Court anticipates all discovery will be completed prior to docket sounding. The Court also anticipates that all motions (such as suppression, Daubert, Williams rule, in limine, etc.) will have been filed and heard prior to Docket Sounding. If counsel needs to have a motion heard and has been unable to obtain hearing time using the JACS system please contact the Judicial Assistant well prior to docket sounding.

I. Setting Case for Trial

The following are some of the Court’s expectations with regard to trials and setting cases for trial:

  • By signing a Stipulation for Trial, you are certifying to the court that your case is ready for trial.
  • “Ready for trial” means:
    • Depositions are done or will be done prior to trial;
    • Witnesses are ready and have been confirmed to appear in person or other arrangements made (Rule 3.116);
    • Motions have been filed and heard or are scheduled to be heard before trial; and
    • Attorneys and Parties will abide by the deadlines established in the Stipulation.
  • Trials are expected to be “Pick & Go”, unless otherwise agreed by the court prior to trial.
  • There are no negotiated pleas after the plea cutoff date, absent court approval of an extension prior to the plea cutoff date.
  • Negotiated Plea Cutoff and other case-specific deadlines are governed by your Trial Stipulation. If the trial was court-ordered, Negotiated Plea Cutoff is Docket Sounding.
  • Scheduling accommodations and Notices of Unavailability will be considered, but they are not determinative in trial scheduling. Trial periods are noticed for 2 weeks, not specific days.
  • If your case is a backup, be ready to go on short notice —sometimes the morning of jury selection. Be nearby!
  • If your case can not be accommodated during the trial period, it will be automatically moved by the court to the next Docket Sounding.
  • If the defendant is in custody, clothes must be taken out to the jail before trial day by the defense attorney.
  • The court, as required by the FSC, applies a firm continuance policy —FRCP 3.190, RGP&JA 2.545, FSC AOSC21-17
  • If the defendant enters a plea with turn-in date, the defendant will not report to the courtroom on the Monday of trial week. Rather, the turn-in will be on another morning of trial week.
  • Any plea with a turn-in date will be subject to a Quarterman agreement.
  • If a case is absolutely going to be a trial, the defendant’s presence may be waived at Trial Scheduling. Ask the court at Docket Sounding.

At Docket Sounding and Trial Scheduling, the following issues will be discussed. Be prepared.

  • The charges to be tried.
    • Severance or bifurcation.
    • Other cases with same defendant will probably be backups to the main trial.
  • Number of days to try the case including jury selection
    • Number of people on venire panel. See FSC AOSC06-13, p. 7, Panel Size Guidelines.
  • Scheduling issues — asking for or avoiding a particular week/day? Be specific.
  • Witness and exhibit lists have been exchanged.
    • Any witnesses appearing remotely or travelling from outside the Twelfth Circuit.
    • Interpreters needed? Language(s)? For defendant/witnesses?
  • Outstanding motions or other issues that need to be resolved prior to the trial.
    • What are the motions/issues? Time needed to hear?
    • Any motions not filed?
  • Redactions: jail calls, 911 calls, defendant’s recorded statements, video surveillance, body worn cameras, etc.
  • Other issues the court needs to know about in order to schedule trial.


  • Options for each charge: Plea (negotiated/open); Trial (jury/bench)
  • Plea offers and counter-offers
    • Last/best plea offer put on record by State
    • Statutory maximum for each charge (concurrent/consecutive)
    • CPC Scoresheet: TSP, BOG, DWD, CPC Enhancements
    • Minimum mandatories: Incarceration, Fines
    • Sentencing enhancements: PRR, HFO, HVFO, VCC
  • Discovery received and reviewed: Reports and Supplements; Depositions and transcripts; Video and audio recordings?
  • Defense witnesses and evidence provided to counsel and investigated, disclosed?
  • Trial Preparation: Any investigation or other work that needs to be done to be ready for trial?
  • Are there any motions that have not been heard or not filed?
  • Anything attorney has not done that you want him/her to do to prepare for trial?
  • Court will announce the next date, time, and location to the defendant.
  • If there is any doubt in the defendant’s mind when to appear in court next, they should appear before the court on the first day of the trial period at 8:30 a.m.

Trial Scheduling

Trial periods are normally set for two weeks each. All counsel with trials set for a trial period shall be prepared to go to trial the first day of the first week of the period and remain available for the entire two weeks.

Dressing Inmates for Trial

The Sheriff’s office has a detailed procedure it uses to accept clothes for an inmate for trial. The Sheriff’s office has advised that there is a significant security issue with unrestricted turnover of clothes and for that reason the Sheriff’s office adopted its procedure. This procedure includes the attorney — not an assistant or family member of a jail inmate — taking the clothes to the jail. The jail is not attached to the Courthouse and is not near the Courthouse. There will not be time for an attorney to comply with the procedure the morning of trial. Please understand, under no circumstance may you bring clothes to the Courthouse to have a jail inmate dressed for trial. The attorney is responsible for knowing, and abiding by, the Sheriff’s procedure. You may contact Judicial Security to obtain all of the specifics. Please do not ask the Court to order the courtroom deputies to dress an inmate for trial where the attorney failed to follow the Sheriff’s procedure.

J. Preferred Division Forms

To access preferred division forms, visit the Criminal Division page.

K. Other Division Procedures