The following Judicial Assignments are effective January 2, 2024

  • Chief Judge
    Honorable Diana L. Moreland
  • Acting Chief Judge (Absence of Chief Judge)
    Honorable Frederick P. Mercurio
  • DeSoto County Administrative Judge
    Honorable Don T. Hall
  • Manatee County Administrative Judge
    Honorable Frederick P. Mercurio
  • Sarasota County Administrative Judge
    Honorable Hunter W. Carroll
Circuit Court Administrative Judges
  • Civil Division - Sarasota
    Honorable Hunter W. Carroll
  • Civil Division - Manatee
    Honorable Edward Nicholas
  • Unified Family Court (Desoto, Manatee and Sarasota counties - has operational authority to implement UFC policy and procedures circuit wide)
    Honorable Maria Ruhl
  • Family Division - Sarasota
    Honorable Maria Ruhl
  • Family Division - Manatee
    Honorable Charles Sniffen
  • Hague Convention Cases
    Honorable Maria Ruhl (Sarasota and Desoto Counties)
    Honorable Charles Sniffen (Manatee County)
  • Criminal Division - Sarasota
    Honorable Dana Moss
  • Criminal Division - Manatee
    Honorable Frederick P. Mercurio
  • Probate/Guardianship - Sarasota
    Charles E. Williams
  • Probate/Guardianship - Manatee
    Diana L. Moreland
County Court Administrative Judges
  • DeSoto County
    Honorable Guy A. Flowers
  • Manatee County
    Honorable Renee L. Inman
  • Sarasota County
    Honorable Maryann Olson Uzabel

Principles of professionalism for Florida judges

In 2005, Florida judges adopted nine principles of professionalism that address concepts not covered by existing rule

  • A judge should be courteous, respectful and civil to lawyers, parties, witnesses, court personnel and all other participants in the legal process.
  • A judge should maintain control of the proceedings, recognizing that judges have both the obligation and the authority to ensure that all proceedings are conducted with dignity and decorum.
  • While endeavoring to resolve disputes promptly and efficiently, a judge should be considerate of the time constraints and pressures imposed on lawyers, parties and other participants in the legal process.
  • To the extent possible, a judge should be punctual in convening trials, hearings, meetings and conferences, and should, when practicable, promptly notify those affected if the judge becomes aware that there will be a significant delay.
  • A judge should permit a lawyer or self-represented party to present a cause properly and to make a complete and accurate record.
  • A judge should not impugn the integrity or professionalism of any lawyer on the basis of the lawyer’s clients or cause.
  • A judge should refer to lawyers and adult parties and witnesses by surname preceded by the preferred title (Mr., Ms., Mrs., Miss, Dr.) or by professional title (counselor or doctor) when conducting a trial or hearing.
  • A judge should work cooperatively with other judges on matters relating to the availability of lawyers, parties, witnesses, or court resources and the scheduling of proceedings.
  • A judge should be courteous and respectful to other judges in speech and in written decisions and opinions, mindful that a position articulated by another judge is the result of that judge’s earnest effort to interpret the law and the facts correctly.

These principles are promulgated to encourage judges, including general magistrates, child support hearing officers, and traffic infraction hearing officers to fulfill their obligation to be civil and respectful to all persons with whom they deal in an official capacity, and to require similar conduct from others, according to the commission.

Florida Code of Judicial Conduct

  • Preamble
  • Definitions
  • Canon 1. A judge shall uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary
  • Canon 2. A judge shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of the judge’s activities
  • Canon 3. A judge shall perform the duties of judicial office impartially and diligently
  • Canon 4. A judge is encouraged to engage in activities to improve the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice
  • Canon 5. A judge shall regulate extrajudicial activities to minimize the risk of conflict with judicial duties
  • Canon 6. Fiscal matters of a judge shall be conducted in a manner that does not give the appearance of influence or impropriety; etc.
  • Canon 7. A judge or candidate for judicial office shall refrain from inappropriate political activity

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.

Media requests to interview judges

Florida’s judges are required to follow the Florida Code of Judicial Conduct. The standards of the Code are spelled out in sections called “Canons,” rules that govern a judge’s behavior, both on the bench and in their personal lives. The Canons must be applied consistently with constitutional requirements, statutes, court rules and case law.

Because judges are judges all the time – not just on the bench – their behavior and comments are always a reflection of the judiciary. The Canons require judges to act in a way that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the branch. They must avoid even the appearance of impropriety. This means judges must steer clear of doing or saying anything that seems dishonest or unethical, even if they might not be doing anything wrong.

The Canons require that judges refrain from making any comment that could affect the outcome of a case or interfere with a fair trial or hearing. This is the reason judges avoid discussing anything other than the general administration of justice, ways to improve it, or to explain court procedures.

The Canons specifically state that judges may not discuss cases that are waiting to be finished (pending cases) or about cases that are complete at the trial court level, but still moving through the appeals process. Once a judge enters a sentence in a criminal case or enters a final judgment in a civil case, an appeal to a higher court may be filed. If the appeal is successful, that same judge may be called upon to address issues from that case in the future.

It is the Code of Judicial Conduct (and the Canons found there) that prevents judges from granting interview requests regarding court cases, even after they have been resolved.

Please consider reading more about Florida’s Code of Judicial Conduct.