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Procedures/Preferences

 

 TRIAL DIVISION 3 PROCEDURES
CIRCUIT JUDGE SAMANTHA WARD

ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE & TRIAL DIVISIONS


Judicial Assistant: Suzanne Flowers

5th Floor Courthouse Annex South Tower

Courtroom: 55S;  Chambers: Suite 540
Division E-Mail:
 FELONYDIV3@FLJUD13.ORG
Office Phone Number: (813) 307-1940

 

ZOOM CONFERENCE ROOM*
Meeting ID: 942 1418 0545

CLICK HERE: https://zoom.us/j/94214180545

 

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(+1) 786 635 1003 US (Miami)


JURY TRIAL PROCEDURES


Trials are set in TD3 after notification by the lettered divisions that a trial is appropriate to be transferred to an available trial division.  Parties should not contact trial divisions on their own to suggest or obtain trial dates.  This procedure has been established to avoid any appearance of impropriety and to ensure trial divisions have equal access to schedule all cases arising from the lettered divisions.

 

  1. JURY INSTRUCTIONS:  Friday before jury selection, counsel for the State shall submit all substantive law charges (Part Two:  Instruction on Crimes), applicable lesser included offenses, any enhancement instructions, proposed verdict form, and any specially requested instructions to the Court and counsel for the Defendant via email in WORD format.  (The Court will prepare all other standard (Part One: General) Instructions.)  At or before jury selection, counsel for the Defendant shall also submit any specially requested instructions via email in WORD format to the Court and counsel for the State.
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  3. WITNESS LISTS:  Friday before jury selection, counsel for the State and the Defendant shall furnish each other, and the Court and clerk, and file via e-portal, a list of the names and addresses of all witnesses who are expected to testify at the trial of this cause (preferably, in the numerical order in which they are to be called.) 
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  5. EXHIBIT LISTS:  At or before jury selection, counsel for the State and counsel for the Defendant shall furnish each other, and the Court and clerk, and file via e-portal, an Exhibit List with exhibits numbered that correspond to all exhibits that have and are to be marked and introduced into trial (preferably, in the numerical/alphabetical order in which the exhibits are to be offered into evidence with the name of the witness the evidence is intended to be offered through.)  [If there have been pre-trial evidentiary hearings in the matter, in which the same exhibits are to be offered, use the numbers/letters previously used for those exhibits to correspond with the trial exhibit numbers.]
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  7. EXHIBIT/EVIDENCE VIEW:  Prior to jury selection, counsel for the State and for the Defendant are directed to meet together by agreement, to review all evidence to be introduced into trial (and as contained on the Exhibit List(s).)  Prior to opening statements each counsel shall confer with each witness to review all exhibits planned to be referred to during testimony of that witness to ensure identification/authentication of the evidence is done prior to the witness being called before the jury.

 

EVIDENTIARY HEARINGS VIA ZOOM

 

  1. All evidence, orders, judgments and other documents you wish to use or have entered into evidence at a hearing must be submitted via E-filing at least 4 business days prior to the date of your scheduled hearing.  Notice and copies should also be emailed to opposing counsel and to the Court.
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  3. Each exhibit is to be pre-marked as an Exhibit in a separate pdf file; with separate and sequential page numbering for each page of the document within that file.  For example:  State Exhibit 1:  Bank records of Tom Smith pages 1A-1JJ;  Defense Exhibit 4:  Photos of Ford Escort (4A-4G).  [Each exhibit will be one pdf file, but the pages will be numbered/lettered & labeled separately.]
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  5. Photos must be taken of physical evidence, in lieu of using the actual physical evidence.  It may be helpful to use a ruler or other measuring device in the photo of the evidence to preserve issues relating to size and dimension.
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  7. Each side is to provide an index or table containing the names/ description of the proposed exhibits to be considered; and should specifically include whether the evidence is agreed upon/stipulated to and blank areas for the Court to indicated whether it has been admitted or not during the hearing.  (See example below :)
    EX # Pages Name Stipulated? Admitted?/Wit Denied
    S - 1 A-JJ BANK REC TOM SMITH YES CUST. BANKER  
    D- 4 A-G PHOTOS FORD ESCORT NO  
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  9. Any legal objections to exhibits offered shall be specifically set forth in writing and submitted to the Court at least 2 business days before the hearing.
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  11. At the hearing the Court will print out the Index provided by the party and note which of the exhibits were successfully moved into evidence, and will remit that form to the Clerk to preserve the record. All documents pre-filed will remain in the file and will not be excluded from the public file merely because the document was not actually moved into the record evidence.
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  13. Be sure include the case number on each document filed.

 

Witnesses (via ZOOM)

 

  1. The Court will swear witnesses at the beginning of the remote hearing using audio-video communication technology. A Notary is not required to be with the witness as long as the witness is located in Florida and can be positively identified by the presiding Judge. If a witness is not located within the State of Florida, a witness may consent to being put under oath via audio-video communication technology by the presiding Judge. (See Florida Supreme Court Administrative Order No. AOSC20-16 and AOSC20-23 Amendments 1-5).  
  2. All witnesses will need to be prepared to show proof of their identification prior to being sworn in over Zoom. Witnesses should use a valid photo I.D. such as a driver’s license or passport.  
  3. Witnesses must be provided with the proposed documents/exhibits that said witness will need for testifying at the hearing, at least 2 business days before the hearing.  This advance window allows the attorney/party/witness an opportunity to resolve any issues with the opening/viewing or use of the exhibits before the hearing time.  
  4. Witnesses must be alone in a quiet room during testimony, may not use a virtual background, and must refrain from using all other electronic devices during the zoom hearing.  Witnesses will be asked be required to show/scan the room in which they are located prior to testimony.  

Prior to the Zoom hearing, counsel SHALL notify and prepare the witness

regarding all of these requirements.