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You are here: Judicial Directory > Margaret R. Taylor > Procedures/Preferences

Procedures/Preferences


STANDING PRETRIAL ORDER FOR CASES IN DIVISION E

Due to the disparity of practices amid procedures in the various courtrooms within the Criminal Division of the County Court, and in an effort to promote uniformity, consistency and professionalism within the division, the Court hereby enters this Pretrial Order, which shall, consistent with the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, govern the manner and methods by which attorneys shall practice in this Court. For good cause shown, this Court may modify or waive these procedures on an individual basis.

MOTIONS
All pretrial motions shall be in writing and heard prior to the date of the pretrial conference. Motions can be set for hearing by contacting Judge Courtney's Judicial Assistant, Anita Salario, (813) 276-2781. A courtesy copy of any motion set for hearing must be received by the Judicial Assistant no later than 5 days prior to the hearing on the motion.

All pretrial motions to suppress, motions in limine requiring evidentiary hearings, and motions to exclude shall be filed and served upon opposing counsel at least 10 days prior to the hearing date.

Boiler plate motions (including motions which fail to include a factual basis or which simply provide "facts to be presented or argued at hearing") are not permitted and will be stricken as legally insufficient. Such motions will not satisfy this Court's requirement of a written motion.

Motions to compel discovery should be filed within 10 days after the discovery production date. Motions to compel more adequate discovery should be filed within 10 days after incomplete discovery was provided. Counsel shall act diligently to obtain the discovery sought and shall promptly notify opposing counsel of any outstanding discovery request. The failure to do so shall be considered in determining what remedy or sanction should be imposed for failure to produce discovery, including to which party a continuance should be charged.

Motions for continuance should be in writing and be filed at least 5 days prior to the trial date. If a party has already been granted a prior continuance of trial, any further motion for continuance must be set for hearing and heard prior to trial date. Any motion for continuance shall include a description of prior continuances of the case.

Please notify opposing counsel as soon as there is a change in the status of your case. For example, when a case is set for trial and the state learns an essential witness is unexpectedly out of town, or defense counsel determines the client will be accepting a plea, notify opposing counsel of this change in circumstances as soon as possible.

DISPOSITON HEARINGS 
This Court will no longer personally notify attorneys of missed hearings. Therefore it is very important that attorneys keep their calendars updated. If an attorney is unable to attend a disposition hearing due to a conflict, they should attempt to have another attorney cover the hearing. If they are unable to do so, they should then notify the Judicial Assistant as soon as possible. If an attorney fails to attend a disposition hearing, and does not have coverage or fails to contact the Judicial Assistant, a warrant may be issued for the defendant.

PRETRIAL CONFERENCE 
The defendant is required to appear at all pretrial conference hearings, unless a written waiver has been previously filed with the court or a warrant may be issued for the defendant. The written waiver must have the defendant's signature. In certain circumstances the Court may require the appearance of the defendant at the pretrial conference regardless of whether a written waiver has been previously filed.

PLEAS
Negotiated pleas should be conveyed to, and fully discussed with, the defendant prior to announcing the plea in Court. Such discussion should include the minimum and maximum penalties and the issues covered by Rule 3.172. If counsel wishes to address the Court on any issue regarding the plea, this should be done at the time the plea is first announced, not after the plea colloquy has been concluded. 
 
TRIAL 
This court expects all parties to be prepared and ready for trial on the morning of the trial date. Defendants who are late to court on trial morning should expect a warrant to be issued.

MAINTAINING AND ENHANCING PROFESSIONALISM
This Court is aware that attorneys often have more than one case set for hearing or trial, requiring them to be in different courts at the same time. If a scheduling conflict arises, it is expected that the attorney will communicate this to their client, and that the attorney will advise the Court (by note, phone call, or through opposing counsel) if they are in another courtroom and when they expect to return. This demonstrates respect not only to the Court, but to the client, witnesses, and opposing counsel as well. Such common courtesy is not only encouraged, but required.

The court attempts to provide timely access to the parties, especially for the purposes of pretrial motions and discovery matters. However, only a limited number of cases can be placed on each calendar. Therefore, if you set a motion for a hearing, please make sure that you appear for the hearing. If you are unable to appear due to unforeseen circumstances, it is incumbent upon you to call the Court to advise us of those circumstances.

This Court solicits input and feedback from attorneys. You are in a unique position to provide comment and insight into courtroom procedures and how they can be improved. If there are procedures you would like to see implemented in Court, of if you have an opinion regarding the existing procedures, please share these opinions with us