Circuit Criminal Court

Florida Circuit Criminal Courts have jurisdiction in all criminal felonies and also hear appeals from the County Courts. Felonies are criminal offenses that are punishable by imprisonment in a state penitentiary or death. The 12th Circuit Criminal Division has four Circuit Judges in Sarasota County, four Circuit Judges in Manatee County, and two Circuit Judges in DeSoto County. 

County Criminal Court

Florida County Courts have jurisdiction over criminal traffic cases and misdemeanor criminal cases. A misdemeanor is any criminal offense punishable by imprisonment in a county correctional facility for less than one year. The County Criminal Division has four County Judges in Sarasota County, four County Judges in Manatee County, and one County Judge in DeSoto County.

Register for Document Subscription Service!

New procedures for attorney access to clients within the Desoto County Jail

We are in constant communication with our county clerks and law enforcement officials as well as other elected officials and health authorities. We will continue to update this site as the situation develops. We are also working with our sheriffs, state attorney and public defender to address those inmates who may be eligible for release or who can resolve their cases without further incarceration. View new procedures for attorney access to clients within the Desoto County Jail.

Updated 3-19-2020

The criminal division in DeSoto County is further divided into Divisions I, II. The following sections contain requirements, forms, and trial dockets for each division.

Circuit Criminal Division

Judge Don T. Hall


County Criminal Division

Judge Danielle Brewer


The criminal division in Manatee County is further divided into Divisions I, III and V. The following sections contain requirements, forms, and trial dockets for each division.

Court Appearances - Out of Custody Defendants

Effective immediately: unless a stipulation setting the case for trial, or continuing the case has been executed and/or approved by the Court, or a plea has been scheduled with the Court, all out of custody defendants shall be required to attend case management, docket sounding and VOP hearings by video/audio using the Zoom platform (instructions on how to access Zoom proceedings can be found on the Public Court Hearings page:

FAILURE to appear may result in the Court issuing a warrant for the defendant’s arrest.

As a reminder, the Court is accepting 'in person' pleas in court for out of custody defendants under the following limited circumstances: (1) where the court has determined that a Zoom hearing is not feasible; or (2) where the taking of the defendant’s fingerprints is required. However, all in-person pleas must be approved by the court in advance and scheduled with the court’s Judicial Assistant. All appropriate Covid-19 precautions - as well as social distancing protocols - must be maintained. Masks, temperature checks, and health screening questions are required to enter the Judicial Center. The Court is conducting 'non-essential' evidentiary and non-evidentiary hearings by video/audio Zoom and telephonic conference call.

Circuit Criminal Division I

Judge Gilbert Smith, Jr.


Circuit Criminal Division III

Judge Frederick P Mercurio


Circuit Criminal Division V

Judge Lon Arend


New Procedures for Criminal Matters to Begin on June 1, 2020

The County Judges in Manatee County have all adopted the following procedures for certain criminal matters beginning June 1, 2020 until further notice.

  1. All parties are strongly encouraged to consult with each other prior to Docket Sounding and/or Pre-Trial Conferences in order to stipulate, if possible, on future court dates for their respective cases.
  2. No defendant that is represented by counsel shall be required to be present at any Docket Sounding or Pre-Trial Conference, unless he/she will be entering a plea through the Zoom platform.  This provision does not apply to pro se defendants who do not have the ability to appear by Zoom.  Pro se defendants will be sent individual Zoom orders.
  3. If the parties are able to agree to a future court date, defense counsel shall submit to the Court and the Clerk a Pre-Trial Conference/Docket Sounding Form (attached to this notice), and the case will be removed from the original court date and placed on the agreed-upon docket.  Defense counsel shall be permitted to qualify that their agreement to continue the case does or does not constitute a waiver of speedy trial.
  4. All Docket Sounding and Pre-Trial Conference court appearances by private counsel, the Public Defender’s Office, and the State Attorney shall be done through the Zoom platform unless otherwise approved by the presiding judge.  Each judge will post the Zoom sign-in information for each Docket Sounding and Pre-Trial Conference on their respective Zoom page.
  5. Each County Judge has set aside time to hear motions and to accept pleas from any division either by way of a Plea in Absentia, or electronically through the Zoom platform.  To schedule a motion hearing or plea, contact the Judicial Assistant.  For Pleas in Absentia, a checklist has been prepared and approved by all county judges in Manatee County.

County Criminal Division 1

Judge Renee Inman


County Criminal Division 2

Judge Jacqueline B. Steele


County Criminal Division 3

Judge Heather Doyle


County Criminal Division 4

Judge Mark Singer


The criminal division in Sarasota County is further divided into Divisions II, IV and VI. The following sections contain requirements, forms, and trial dockets for each division.

Circuit Criminal Division II, IV and VI


Circuit Criminal Division II

Judge Donna Marie Padar


Circuit Criminal Division IV

Judge Charles Roberts


Circuit Criminal Division VI

Judge Debra Riva


County Criminal Division A

Judge Erika Quartermaine


County Criminal Division B

Judge Maryann Boehm


County Criminal Division C

Judge David Denkin


County Criminal Division D

Judge Phyllis Galen


The South County area (Venice) holds County Criminal Court.

County Criminal Division H

Judge Dana Moss


Criminal PTCs

9:00 am – Pro se
9:30 am – Public Defender/O.R.C.
1:30 pm – Private Attorney

7/14, 7/28, 8/11, 8/25, 9/8, 9/22, 10/6, 10/20, 11/3, 11/17, 12/1, 12/15, 12/29

Important COVID-19 Updates

The Florida Supreme Court has suspended all in-person court appearances in county courts throughout Florida until May 29, 2020, per Administrative Order AOSC20-23.  The Florida Supreme Court will issue additional orders extending or modifying this date as warranted by the changing circumstances of this public health emergency.

If a party has a case that had been set for an in-person hearing during this emergency stay, the Clerk or Judge’s office will send notice to the party advising whether a new future date is been assigned or otherwise directing the party to contact the court for a new date when in-person hearings resume.  Parties are responsible for ensuring that the Sarasota County Clerk of Court has the correct mailing address for the party.

Therefore, during the COVID-19 outbreak Judge Moss will conduct hearings either by telephone or videoconferencing using ZOOM.  If you have a matter that needs immediate attention or that you would like reviewed during this emergency, please contact (941) 861-3050 or to determine if the matter is appropriate for a telephonic hearing/ videoconferencing.

All Zoom hearings scheduled for a particular day will use the same credentials.  Please understand that each session's credentials are unique and nontransferable.  All notices for hearing shall include the credentials for attendance by telephone or videoconferencing.  The Judicial Assistant will provide the credentials upon scheduling the matter.  As a courtesy, please keep all microphones muted while your case is not being addressed. Business casual attire is appropriate for Zoom hearings during the COVID-19 outbreak. If you have any difficulties, please immediately contact