In the Circuit Court of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit in and for
DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota Counties, Florida
Administrative Order No. 2022–08.2
(modifies and amends 2021–15f.2)
Sixth Amended Order
on Health and Safety
It is necessary and appropriate to modify and amend Administrative Order 2021-15f.2 to
reflect current circumstances and comply with Florida Supreme Court Administrative Order
AOSC21-17, Amendment 3, titled In re: Covid-19 Health and Safety Protocols and Emergency
Operational Measures for Florida Appellate and Trial Courts, issued on January 8, 2022.
For the past several months, each county within our circuit has experienced COVID-19
positivity rates between 10-20%, and the health, safety, and well-being of courthouse visitors,
jurors, court employees, and judicial officers are still a high priority. We continue to take steps
to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on the courts, its participants, and the general public, while
fulfilling the court system’s responsibilities for the administration of justice.
The Florida Supreme Court has authorized the chief judge of each circuit in Florida, if
warranted by local health conditions, to have the discretion to determine how best to utilize
available trial court resources and facility space to conduct in-person proceedings.
In accordance with Article V, section 7, Florida Constitution, Rule of General Practice
and Judicial Administration 2.215, section 43.26, Florida Statutes and Fla. Admin. Order No.
AOSC21-17, Amendment 3 (January 8, 2022), in the interest of the health, safety, and well-being
of all people entering the courthouse, and in order to reduce the possibility of transmission of
COVID-19 in the courthouse, it is hereby ordered and adjudged as follows:
Face Masks Recommended but not Required
Face masks are not required to be worn upon entering the courthouse or in public areas
of the courthouse. However, all persons are highly encouraged to wear a face mask, and
should wear a face mask while in the courthouse and in close proximity to other persons.
If a person entering the courthouse wishes to wear a face mask but does not have his/her
own face mask, one will be provided upon request.
Physical Distancing Recommended but not Required
Physical distancing is not required, but is highly recommended in all courtrooms,
hearing rooms, jury assembly rooms and jury deliberation rooms where in-person
Signage may be placed on courtroom seats to accommodate physical distancing
COVID-19 Symptoms and Testing Positive for COVID-19
To limit the transmission of COVID-19 among court staff, the court has had a very
stringent COVID-19 policy for judges and court employees, including required contact
tracing, self-isolation and quarantine protocols. Current protocols require that court
employees who test positive for COVID-19 or who were directly exposed to a positive
person cannot return to the workplace before obtaining a negative COVID-19 test
administered by a medical professional.
The court is limited on the testing requirements it can enforce on non-employees,
anyone who is sick or experiencing any of the following symptoms should
not enter the Courthouse:
a cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, congestion, runny
nose, fever or chills, body aches, vomiting or diarrhea, or a new loss of taste or smell.
Anyone with these symptoms (that are not attributed to causes other than COVID-19)
should self-isolate and contact the court about rescheduling.
Anyone who is testing positive for COVID-19, regardless of whether they have
symptoms, is prohibited from entering into a court facility.
Litigants, witnesses or jurors who are sick or positive for COVID-19 on a day they are
required to be in the courthouse should contact the court or clerk’s office about
Anyone who was in the courthouse and develops COVID-19 symptoms or tests positive
for COVID-19 within the following 24 hours should contact Court Administration’s
Human Resource Office (941.749.3600, ext. 1791 or HR@jud12.flcourts.org ) so that
contact tracing can occur. You should provide the exact locations you were (which
building, which floor, which courtroom, etc.) and identifying information about anyone
you were within six feet of (your lawyer, an interpreter, jurors, a bailiff, etc.) for a
cumulative total of at least fifteen minutes while you were in the courthouse.
Hygiene and Cleaning
Everyone in the courthouse must practice good hygiene protocols, including hand
washing, hand sanitizing, and covering coughs and sneezes.
Hand sanitizer is widely available throughout the courthouse, including inside
Disinfecting cleaning products and paper towels are available in each courtroom or in
Use of Remote Technology, In-Person Proceedings Authorized,
and Inmate Transport Authorized
Presiding judges are encouraged to use remote technology for court proceedings
whenever possible. If a party requests that a court proceeding be conducted using
remote technology, the presiding judge should give reasonable consideration to
accommodating the request.
If mass dockets are conducted in person, the presiding judge is encouraged to establish a
protocol that uses staggered start times to accommodate anticipated physical distancing
Unrepresented defendants, or defendants in whose cases a written plea of not guilty or
denial have not been filed, shall appear in court in person for all arraignments, including
violation of probation early case resolution (ECR) arraignments.
In-custody defendants who are not in segregation, quarantine or isolation housing at the
county jail may be transported to the courthouse for jury trials and hearings at the
discretion of the presiding judge. An incarcerated defendant who tests positive for
COVID-19 shall not be transported.
Administrative Order 2021-15f.2 is hereby amended by this Sixth Amended
Administrative Order, which is effective Monday, August 1, 2022, and will remain in
effect until modified, extended or rescinded by further order of this court based on
updated health data or direction by the Florida Supreme Court.
Done and ordered in chambers, Sarasota County, Florida, this 29th day of July, 2022.
Charles E. Roberts
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