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Criminal Procedures in Hillsborough County, FL

One of the best ways to understand the procedures used is misdemeanor cases in Hillsborough County, FL, is to read the administrative rules. Administrative order S-2015-071 was signed on December 31, 2015, and applies to all county ordinances, municipal ordinances, misdemeanor traffic and non-traffic misdemeanors. The order takes effect March 1, 2016.

We represent clients after an arrest, after being issued a notice to appear, or after a warrant is issued. If you have any questions about the procedures used in Hillsborough County for any pending misdemeanor case then contact a criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm, P.A. Call 813-250-0500.

Call 813-250-0500.


 

IN THE THIRTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

FLORIDA ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER S-2015-071

(Supersedes Administrative Order S-2015-043)

COUNTY CRIMINAL DIVISION PROCEDURES

It is necessary for the proper and efficient administration of justice to change the division to which ordinance violations filed by the City of Tampa are assigned. By the power vested in the chief judge under article V, section 2(d), Florida Constitution; section 43.26, Florida Statutes; and Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.215(b )(2); it is therefore ORDERED:

1. Definitions

For the purposes of this administrative order, the following terms have the following meanings:

"City of Tampa" means any Tampa Police Department Officer, City of Tampa Code Enforcement Officer, or Assistant City Attorney.

"Clerk" means the Clerk of the County Court or any deputy clerks.

"County ordinance violation" means a violation of a Hillsborough County ordinance which (a) is initiated by summons, notice to appear, or arrest; (b) includes incarceration as potential punishment; and (c) excludes county ordinance citation violations.

"Domestic violence case" means any misdemeanor case arising from the conduct of one family or household member (as defined in section 741.28, Florida Statutes) against another, including assault, battery, harassment, stalking, and violations of section 741.31, Florida Statutes.

"Municipal ordinance violation" means a violation of an ordinance of a municipality which (a) is initiated by summons, notice to appear, or arrest; (b) includes incarceration as potential punishment; and (c) excludes municipal ordinance citation violations.

"Open court" means in a courtroom or in a publicly accessible hearing room with the judge, the clerk, the state attorney or an assistant state attorney, the defendant, and if represented by an attorney, the defendant's attorney being present.

2. Divisions

There are ten criminal divisions of the County Court, including First Appearance I Emergency Division "0." See Administrative Order S-2015-042 (First Appearance I Emergency Division ((0 ") or any subsequent administrative order for the procedures governing this specialized subdivision of the county criminal division.

Divisions "A" "B " "C " "D " "E" "F " "G" and "0" are based ''' ''' in Tampa.

East County Divisions "P" and "X" are based in Plant City. See Administrative Order S-20 13-033 (East Division) or any subsequent administrative order for the geographical boundaries of the East Division.

3. Assignment of Cases

A. East County Misdemeanor and Criminal Traffic Offenses

All misdemeanor offenses and criminal traffic offenses in which the offense occurred within the East Division boundaries will be assigned to East County Criminal Divisions "P" or "X" based on the first letter of the defendant's last name.

If the first letter of the defendant's last name is "A" through "L," the case will be assigned to East County Division "P."

If the first letter of the defendant's last name is "M" through "Z," the case will be assigned to East County Division "X."

B. Domestic Violence Criminal Offenses

All domestic violence cases which involve defendants domiciled outside of the East Division boundaries will be assigned to Division "F."

If a defendant who has a domestic violence case pending or who is on probation in Division "F" or East County Criminal Divisions "P" or "X" is subsequently charged with a new misdemeanor charge that is not a domestic violence case, the new misdemeanor charge will be assigned to a county criminal division according to the assignment procedures in this administrative order.

If a defendant is on probation in a division other than Division "F" or East County Criminal Divisions "P" or "X" and is subsequently charged with a domestic violence case, the clerk will file the domestic violence case in Division "F" or East County Divisions "P" or "X" and the probation case will remain the division in which it is pending.

C. County Ordinance Violations and Municipal Ordinance Violations

All county ordinance violations in which the offense occurred in the East Division boundaries will be assigned to East County Criminal Divisions "P" or "X" based on the first letter of the defendant's last name in accordance with section 3(A) of this administrative order.

All county ordinance violations in which the offense occurred outside of the East Division, except those filed by the City of Tampa, will be assigned to a Tampa county criminal division based on the alphabetical assignment schedule in section 3(D) of this administrative order. County ordinance violations filed by the City of Tampa will be assigned to Division "D" unless ancillary to a criminal offense.

All City of Plant City municipal ordinance violations will be assigned to East County Criminal Divisions "P" or "X" based on the first letter of the defendant's last name in accordance with section 3(A) of this administrative order.

All City of Tampa and City of Temple Terrance municipal ordinance violations will be assigned to Division "D."

If a notice to appear contains a court date and it is signed by the defendant, the clerk will set the case for arraignment on that date.

If the notice to appear contains a court date but is not signed by the defendant, the clerk will mail notice or issue a summons to the defendant for arraignment on that date.

If a notice to appear or arrest affidavit consists of both a criminal offense and a municipal ordinance violation, the clerk must treat the municipal ordinance violation as ancillary and assign the case in accordance with the assignment procedures for the criminal offense.

D. Tampa Misdemeanor and Criminal Traffic Offenses - Alphabetical Distribution

Except for domestic violence criminal offenses, all misdemeanor offenses and criminal traffic offenses in which the offense occurred outside of the East Division boundaries will be assigned to a county criminal division according to the first letter of the defendant's last name.

When a notice to appear, criminal report affidavit or information is filed, the clerk will assign the case according to the following alphabetical distribution:

DIVISION - FIRST LETTER OF DEFENDANT'S LAST NAME

Division "A" - G, 0, S, U

Division "B" - B, F, P

Divison "C" -  D, M, N, X, Y

Division "D" - C, K, R

Divison "E" - H, L, W

Divison "G" - A, E, J, I, Q, T, V, Z 

E. Consolidation

When two or more misdemeanor offenses are pending, which may be appropriately considered or tried together, but which are assigned to different divisions due to the implementation of the alphabetical distribution system above, the case or cases will be reassigned to the division in which the case with the oldest offense date is pending.

F. Transfer of Pending Cases to Probation Division

Except as provided in section 3(B) of this administrative order dealing with domestic violence cases, if a defendant is on misdemeanor probation in one division and has a misdemeanor case or cases pending in other divisions , then all pending misdemeanor cases of the defendant will be transferred to the division in which the defendant is on probation.

G. Violation of Probation

All violation of probation hearings will be assigned to the county criminal division in which the defendant was sentenced to probation.

H . Transfer between Tampa and Plant City

When a new criminal traffic or misdemeanor case is filed in a Tampa division, the clerk's office in Tampa will determine if the defendant has any cases pending in the East Division (Plant City). Cases pending in both Tampa and Plant City on the same defendant will be assigned to the division with the oldest offense date and transferred appropriately.

4. Reassignment of Case upon Judge's Disqualification

A. East County Criminal Offenses and Municipal Ordinance Violations

If either of the judges presiding in East County Criminal Divisions " P" or " X" enters an order of disqualification, the clerk will reassign the case to the other East county criminal division.

If both East county criminal division judges have entered orders of disqualification in a county criminal case that is not a domestic violence case or a Plant City municipal ordinance violation case, the clerk will reassign the case to a Tampa county criminal division based on the alphabetical assignment schedule in section 3(D) of this administrative order .

B. Domestic Violence Criminal Offenses

If either of the judges presiding in East County Criminal Divisions "P " or " X" enters an order of disqualification in a domestic violence criminal case, the clerk will reassign the case to the other East county criminal division. If both East county criminal division judges have entered orders of disqualification in a  domestic violence case, the clerk will reassign the case to Tampa County Criminal Division "F ."

If the judge assigned to County Criminal Division "F " enters an order of disqualification, the clerk will reassign the case to a Tampa county criminal division based on the alphabetical assignment schedule in section 3(D) of this administrative order.

C . Other County Criminal Cases

If a judge presiding in any other Tampa division enters an order of disqualification on any case, including municipal ordinance violation cases, the clerk will randomly and equitably reassign the case to another Tampa county criminal division.

5. Emergency Matters

When the judge of any division is absent for any reason, any emergency application applying to a case assigned to such division may be presented and heard by the administrative judge or a designee of the administrative judge.

6. Arraignments

Arraignments for persons arrested and still incarcerated on a misdemeanor charge will be heard via audiovisual technology in Division "0."

Arraignments for persons who are issued a notice to appear or who are released from custody pre- trial will be heard in the division assigned under section 3 of this administrative order.

Persons who are scheduled for arraignment in the di v ision assigned under section 3 of this administrative order but who are in jail on a subsequent charge will not be transported by the sheriff to the assigned courtroom. Instead, arraignments for such person will be heard via audiovisual technology in Division "0" according to the following procedure.

The clerk in the assigned division will receive a jail sheet from the bailiff indicating the defendants who are scheduled for arraignment that day and are incarcerated in the county jail.

When the defendant's case is called in the assigned division, the clerk will announce the next available arraignment date in Division "0" and annotate the case abstract with this information. The arraignment will then be set for the next available date in Division "0. "

7. Motions

A . Setting Motion for Hearing

All motions must be heard before trial. To set a motion for hearing, the attorney must contact the judicial assistant in the appropriate division to obtain a motion calendar date. All motions, other than a Motion for Discharge or Motion for Speedy Trial, that are intended to be scheduled for hearing must bee-filed simultaneously with a Notice of Hearing after coordinating the hearing time with the opposing attorney or party.

B. Deadline

All motions and notices of hearing must be filed by at least 12:00 noon on the business day before the scheduled hearing.

If a motion and notice of hearing are not timely filed, the motion will not appear on the calendar and it will be deemed abandoned until properly noticed in accordance with this section.

C. Case Law

Any party wishing to use case law for arguing in support of or in opposition to a filed motion must provide a hard copy of the case law along with a copy of the notice of hearing and motion to the presiding judge's office and to opposing counsel or opposing party at least two business days prior to the motion hearing .

D. Modification of Bail

Except for bond and release on recognizance motions which are filed and heard in Division "0" prior to a defendant's scheduled arraignment, all other motions for modification of bail will be scheduled and heard in the division assigned under section 3 of this administrative order.

E. Speedy Trial

Motions for Discharge, Motions for Speedy Trial, and Notices of Expiration of Time for Speedy Trial are the only motions and notices accepted by the clerk without a Notice of Hearing.

Upon receipt of a Motion for Discharge, Motion for Speedy Trial, or a Notice of Expiration of Time for Speedy Trial, the clerk will immediately contact the judicial assistant for a hearing time.

After obtaining a hearing time the clerk will notify all necessary parties.

F. Motions filed by Self-Represented Parties

The clerk will e-mail all motions filed by self-represented parties to the presiding judge and judicial assistant. If the motion needs to be set for hearing, the judicial assistant will send a memorandum with the date, time and necessary instructions for the clerk to send appropriate notice to the parties involved.

8. Setting Cases for Trial

If a defendant is entitled to a jury trial but elects to have a non-jury trial, the defendant must personally sign and file with the court a Waiver of Jury Trial form.

A written document requesting a trial date without specifying a jury or non-jury trial will be deemed a request for a jury trial unless a Wai v er of Jury Trial form has been previously filed.

If a non-jury trial date is to be set at arraignment or pre-trial conference, and a Waiver of Jury Trial form has not been filed, the defendant must be present at the arraignment or pre-trial conference.

9. Jury Pre-Trial Conference

A . Presence of Defendant

The defendant must be present at any jury pre-trial conference unless the defendant has signed and filed a written Waiver of Appearance.

B . Presence of Attorneys

The attorneys who are to conduct a jury trial are expected to appear at the pre-trial conference. If an attorney who is to conduct the trial does not attend the pre-trial conference, the attorney who appears must be fully advised about the case and be fully prepared to resolve any issues which may arise.

C. Resolution of Pre-Trial Motions

Except for good cause shown, all evidentiary and other motions must be filed, heard and resolved prior to the pre-trial conference.

D. Completion of Discovery

All discovery, including the taking of depositions, must be completed before the pre-trial conference.

E. Plea Negotiations

The parties are encouraged to discuss plea negotiations before the pre-trial conference. If the court approves the negotiations, a plea will be accepted at the pre-trial conference or at such time designated by the court.

F. Continuance

Any continuance granted after the pre-trial conference will be governed by Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.190(f) and will be granted only upon written motion and order.

G. Ready for Jury Trial

By agreeing at the pre-trial conference that a case is ready for jury trial, the parties represent to the court that:

1. The attorneys are fully prepared for trial.

11 . The witnesses expected to testify at the trial have been interviewed, if desired, and will be present at trial.

111. All discovery is complete and all pre-trial motions have been considered and resolved.

10. Criminal Traffic Offenses

A . Failure to Appear

Failure of any defendant to appear at the Traffic Violations Bureau within 10 days from the date of issuance of the citation and make disposition of any citation for any criminal traffic violations within Chapters 316, 320, and 322, Florida Statutes, will result in the clerk setting a court date and notifying the defendant.

If the defendant fails to appear at the hearing set by the clerk, the court may issue a capias for the arrest of the defendant, together with a Form D-6 (license suspension).

The capias will be issued with an appropriate bond amount to ensure the defendant 's appearance before the court.

A capias may be issued when the defendant is a minor, but the minor will be released on the minor's own recognizance.

B . Companion Civil Traffic Infractions

When a defendant receives a criminal traffic citation together with a companion citation for a civil infraction, all citations will, when possible, remain together and will be scheduled on the court 's calendar on the same date.

C . Plea

All persons charged with a criminal traffic offense must enter a plea in open court before the judge.

Any person charged with a criminal traffic offense and who enters a plea of not guilty in open court will not be permitted to change such plea unless in open court.

11. Attorney of Record

In accordance with the spirit of Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.505(±), once an attorney appears on the record representing a defendant, that attorney is the attorney of record until relieved by a written order of the court.

No attorney of record will be permitted to withdraw unless a motion to withdraw is filed, heard and granted at least 30 days prior to trial.

12. Previous Administrative Order Superseded

This administrative order supersedes Administrative Order S-2015-043 (County Criminal Division Procedures).

13. Effective Date

This administrative order is effective March 1, 2016.

It is ORDERED in Tampa, Hillsborough County , Florida, on this 31st day of December , 2015.

[the original was signed by - Ronald N. Ficarrotta , Chief Judge

Original to: Pat Frank , Clerk of the Court

Copy to: All County Criminal Division Judges

Mark Ober, State Attorney

Julianne Holt , Public Defender

Ita M . Neyotin, Regional Counsel, Second District