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Procedures/Preferences

Circuit Criminal Division F Procedures

PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL DIVISION F HEARINGS, EXCEPT PRETRIAL CONFERENCES FOR OUT OF CUSTODY DEFENDANTS AND

JURY TRIALS, ARE PRESUMED TO BE CONDUCTED REMOTELY

 

1. Arraignments:  All Arraignments for both in custody and out of custody Defendant’s  will be conducted via Zoom.  At the arraignment, the Court will set the case for a Pretrial Conference and Jury Trial date in the future, giving counsel ample time to conduct discovery on the matter. If a Notice of Appearance has not been filed by private counsel, the Court will automatically Appoint the Public Defender’s Office to represent the Defendant.


2. Bond Motions considered in chambers by the Court

  1. The Court will consider a bond motion without evidence or hearing.  A written Motion for Bond Reduction shall be filed with the Clerk of Court, and emailed to opposing counsel. 
  2. At the time the bond motion is filed, counsel shall also file a written “Waiver of the Defendant’s Presence”.  The Waiver of Physical Presence form can be found on the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Website under the “forms link”.  After clicking on “forms” from the website, please select Circuit-Criminal Justice and Trial.  After clicking on this link, the required form can be found. 
  3. A copy of the Motion for Bond Reduction shall be forwarded to the Court via the Division F Judicial Assistant at felonydivf@fljud13.org.  Once said motion has been filed and received by the Judicial Assistant, the Court will direct the State to file a written response with the Clerk of Court.   A copy said response by the State shall be filed, and emailed to the Court and opposing counsel within 24 hours.  The Court will then rule on the bond motion by sending an email to all parties.  Defense counsel shall then prepare an Order reflecting the Court’s ruling and upload said Order to E-Portal for the Court’s signature.  All Orders shall be approved by the State prior to submitting to the Court for signature.


3. Bond Motions where Counsel is requesting a Hearing:

  1. If Counsel desires to have an “In Court” Hearing on a Bond Motion, Counsel shall contact the Division F Judicial Assistant at felonydivf@fljud13.org. The Motion must be filed prior to requesting a hearing date.
  2. All Bond Motions are presumed to be conducted via Zoom unless counsel specifically requests an “In Person” hearing.


4. Changes of Plea: 

  1. A change of plea for an incarcerated Defendant or a Defendant that is not in custody will be conducted via Zoom unless Counsel specifically requests an “In Person” Hearing.  Counsel shall contact the Division F Judicial Assistant at felonydivf@fljud13.org  for the first available hearing date.
  2. Prior to obtaining a hearing date from the Division F Judicial Assistant, all required forms must be filed with the Clerk of Court. Said forms for Zoom “changes of pleas” are the Waiver of Physical Presence in Court Form, DNA form, Plea Form, and Fingerprint card (if Defendant is out of custody).  These forms can be found on the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Website under the Criminal Tab  “forms” link. 
  3. Attorneys:  Attorneys are required by the terms of those forms to discuss each of them line by line with the Defendant in a private, confidential setting that allows for meaningful question and answer discussions. Please note the plea form indicates that the Defendant has seen and agrees with the scoresheet as prepared by the State, so you must go over that document with the Defendant as well, and be prepared to answer questions regarding the same.
  4. Signature on Forms:  Once the attorney has fully discussed ALL forms with the Defendant and obtained the Defendant’s permission for the attorney to sign those forms FOR him/her (or, s/he has chance to sign them) the attorney shall file the forms with the Clerk of Circuit Court.
  5. Filing of Forms:  Each form must be uploaded as a separate document via the E-Portal. Each individual case number requires each of these forms be filed separately (i.e. for 2 felony cases, you would have 6 separate forms uploaded.) VOP cases do not need the Felony Plea Form nor the DNA form, but DO require a Waiver of Physical Appearance Form.
  6. If an interpreter is needed, please contact the Court Interpreter’s Office at (813) 272-5947 to reserve an interpreter for the hearing.
  7. For your convenience, the following links below give access to the forms that MUST BE REVIEWED WITH THE DEFENDANT AND  FILED PRIOR TO REQUESTING A CHANGE OF PLEA HEARING DATE:
    1. Plea form – felony bilingual
    2. Plea form DNA Addendum
    3. Plea form Waiver of Presence Addendum
    4. Fingerprint Card


5. Motion Hearings 10 minutes or less without witness testimony: 

  1. All non-evidentiary motions that require 10 minutes or less of hearing time shall be heard virtually on the Zoom application every Tuesday and Thursday morning beginning at 8:30am on “Non Trial Weeks or 8:00am on the Division F trial weeks, unless Counsel specifically requests an “In Person” hearing.
  2. These hearings do not include hearings that require witness testimony. These hearings are restricted to legal argument only.
  3. All motions must be filed with the Clerk of Court prior to obtaining a hearing date from the Judicial Assistant.  You may contact the Judicial Assistant at felonydivf@fljud13.org to obtain potential hearing dates for the motion after the motion has been filed with the Clerk of Court.  You must include a copy of the motion, the case number, and case name in the email sent to the Judicial Assistant when requesting a hearing date.  The email address for the Judicial Assistant is felonydivf@fljud13.org.
  4. The Court expects that counsel will confer with one another to select an agreed upon hearing date after the Division F Judicial Assistant has given prospective hearing dates.  After a hearing date has been agreed upon by the parties, counsel shall notify the Judicial Assistant via email at  felonydivf@fljud13.org.
  5. The party requesting the hearing shall file a Notice of Hearing with the Clerk of Court, sending a copy to opposing counsel as well to the Court via the felonydivf@fljud13.org email address. 
  6. If an interpreter is needed for the hearing, please contact the Court Interpreter’s Office at (813) 272-5947 to reserve an interpreter for the hearing.
  7. PLEASE NOTE: It is the responsibility of counsel for the Defendant to either file a written Waiver of the Defendant’s Presence (see #4 above to obtain a copy of this form) at the time the motion is filed, if the Defendant does not wish to appear at the hearing, OR procure a means for the Defendant to appear at the Zoom motion hearing if the Defendant is not in custody.  It is the responsibility of counsel for the Defendant to notify the Defendant when and how to appear at the Zoom hearing.
  8. The Division F “Zoom link” shall be contained in the Notice of Hearing prepared by the party requesting the hearing.
  9. Attending HearingsParties shall attend the hearings via videoconference through Zoom.  PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ATTEND THE HEARING IN PERSON UNLESS SPECIFIC PERMISSION HAS BEEN OBTAINED BY THE JUDICIAL ASSISTANT FOR AN “IN PERSON” HEARING.  Please note the following information about Division F Zoom hearings:
    1. Zoom access linkYou may access the hearing through the following link:  Join URL: https//zoom.us/j/3777074721. 
    2. Zoom meeting ID:  The Zoom meeting ID is 377 707 4721. 
    3. Zoom ApplicationYou must download the Zoom application to your device from Zoom.us prior to attending the hearing.
    4. ExhibitsAt the time Counsel files the motion, Counsel shall file a “Notice of Filing”, attaching any exhibits that are requested to be introduced into evidence during the hearing.  All exhibits shall be numbered sequentially without using alphabetic characters to identify an exhibit.
    5. Public accessPlease note all court hearings are open to the public and may be observed by anyone via Zoom.  However, all persons will be muted except for the parties involved in the hearing being held.


6. Motion Hearings 10 minutes or more in length or other evidentiary motions with witnesses

  1. All motion hearings requiring witness testimony, or greater than 10 minutes in length shall be heard via Zoom every other Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday afternoon beginning at 1:30pm, unless Counsel specifically requests an “In Person” hearing.
  2. The motion must be filed with the Clerk of Court prior to contacting the Judicial Assistant for a hearing date. If contacting the Judicial Assistant via email, you must include a copy of the motion, the case number, and case name in the email sent to the Judicial Assistant when requesting a hearing date. The email address for the Judicial Assistant is felonydivf@fljud13.org.
  3. The Court expects that counsel will confer with one another prior to contacting the Judicial Assistant to agree upon the length of the hearing.  Once a hearing date has been agreed upon by the parties, counsel requesting the hearing shall advise the Judicial Assistant of the hearing date selected by the parties.
  4. The party requesting the hearing shall file a “Notice of Hearing” with the Clerk of Court, sending a copy to opposing counsel as well as emailing a copy of the Notice of Hearing to the Judicial Assistant at felonydivf@fljud13.org. The Division F “Zoom link” shall be contained in the Notice of Hearing prepared by the party requesting the hearing.
  5. PLEASE NOTE: It is the responsibility of counsel for the defendant to either file a written Waiver of the Defendant’s Presence (see #4 above to obtain a copy of this form) at the time the motion is filed, if the Defendant does not wish to appear at the hearing, OR procure a means for the Defendant to appear at the Zoom motion hearing if the Defendant is out of custody.  It is the responsibility of counsel for the Defendant to notify the when and how to appear at the Zoom hearing.
  6. Attending HearingsParties shall attend these hearings via videoconference through Zoom.  PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ATTEND THESE HEARINGS IN PERSON UNLESS SPECIFIC PERMISSION HAS BEEN OBTAINED BY THE JUDICIAL ASSISTANT FOR AN “IN PERSON” HEARING.  Please note the following information about Zoom hearings:
    1. Zoom access linkYou may access the hearing through the following link:  Join URL: https//zoom.us/j/3777074721. 
    2. Zoom meeting ID:  The Zoom meeting ID is 377 707 4721. 
    3. Zoom ApplicationYou must download the Zoom application to your device from Zoom.us prior to attending the hearing.
    4. Exhibits: At the time Counsel files the motion to be heard by the Court, Counsel shall all file a “Notice of Filing”, attaching any exhibits that are requested to be introduced into evidence.  All exhibits shall be numbered sequentially without using alphabetic characters to identify an exhibit.
    5. Public accessPlease note all court hearings are open to the public and may be observed by anyone via Zoom.  However, all persons will be muted except for the parties involved in the hearing being held.


7. Competency Motions:  All motions in which a party is requesting the Court to appoint a doctor for a Court Ordered Forensic Competency Evaluation shall be filed with the Clerk of Court. Once the motion has been filed, please email the Judicial Assistant at felonydivf@fljud13.org including a copy of the motion in the email. The Court will advise counsel of the doctor to be appointed from the approved Court Appointed List. Counsel requesting the evaluation shall be responsible for uploading the Order to the Court’s work queue for signature. 


8. Pretrial Intervention Cases:

  1. Pretrial Intervention (PTI cases)All cases in which the State and Defense have agreed to a PTI resolution may now be accomplished WITHOUT THE NECESSITY OF A COURT HEARING
  2. Once the Defendant and Defense Counsel have signed the PTI Contract, the State has the responsibility of uploading said contract to the Court’s work queue for signature.
  3. Per the instructions on the PTI Contract, the Defendant will have 24 hours to call the PTI Office to schedule an appointment with the Department of Corrections Probation Officer.
  4. There is no need to docket the case and request a hearing date.


9. Timing of MotionsAll motions shall be filed and heard prior to the Pre-trial Conference.  All motions not heard prior to the Pre-Trial Conference shall be deemed waived and shall not be grounds for a continuance.


10. Dispositional DatesThe Court has PERMANENTLY eliminated interim dispositional dates.  This, by no means, should be interpreted that counsel does not have an affirmative duty to continue to conduct discovery on a pending case and file any motions that require the Court to consider. It is incumbent upon a party to obtain a hearing date prior to the Pre-trial Conference date for said motions.  Please see # 9 above.


11.  Pretrial and Jury Trial Dates: Effective September 29, 2021, all Pretrial Conferences for “OUT OF CUSTODY DEFENDANTS”  will be conducted “In Person”.  All Pretrial Conferences for “IN CUSTODY DEFENDANTS” will continue to be conducted via Zoom.  All Jury Trials will be conducted “In Person” irrespective of the Defendant’s custody status.


12. Pro Se LitigantsIf you are representing yourself and need assistance in appearing at a videoconferencing hearing or have questions concerning any of the procedures outlined above, you may contact the Judicial Assistant at felonydivf@fljud13.org.


13. Division F Zoom access linkPlease be advised that the Division F Zoom access link is as follows: https//zoom.us/j/3777074721.  The Zoom meeting ID is 377 707 4721.