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.

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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.

After consultation with the Administrative Judges, Courthouse Security, MSO transport, and Manatee Clerk’s Office, the transport of inmates shall resume to pre-COVID normal beginning July 6, 2021, except for those in quarantine.

If a criminal matter (hearing, mass docket, etc.) has already been noticed as a Zoom hearing, then Zoom appearances are permitted. However, attorneys and parties are encouraged to appear in court in person.

Notices for Public Defender clients, starting with those sent out by the clerk this week, will go back to the pre-COVID times for County PTCs (1:30pm).

This information may be revisited at a later time based on future Supreme Court Administrative Orders and/or rule changes.

Circuit Criminal Division I

Judge Matt Whyte


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 Melissa Gould


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 Rochelle T. Curley


Circuit Criminal Division VI

Judge Thomas Krug


County Criminal Division A

Judge Erika Quartermaine


County Criminal Division B

Judge Maryann Olson Boehm


County Criminal Division C & D

Judge David Denkin


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

County Criminal South County Division

Judge Phyllis Galen