Solving Puzzles, Achieving Justice

Court Counsel Members
Court Counsel staff members (from left to right, top to bottom): Brian Bates, Mary Ann Floyd and Senior Staff Attorney Ed Wilson; Senior Staff Attorney Mary McEwen and Cortney Donohue; Charis Hild and Darian Taylor; Jonathan Zachary; Senior Staff Attorney Joanna Smith with Darian and Cortney.

Court Counsel: The judges’ lawyers

The Court Counsel office is comprised of eight attorneys based between the Manatee and Sarasota judicial centers. We’re fortunate to also have the help of our administrative assistant, Charis Hild.

The primary duty of Court Counsel is to directly support our judges with legal research and writing (proposed orders and memoranda) on virtually every type of legal matter coming before them. While the majority of our work focuses on various types of motions filed by criminal defendants, we also address the full gamut of capital, civil, family, juvenile, probate, involuntary commitment, and appellate cases within the broad jurisdiction of the county and circuit courts. You’ll typically find us at our keyboards drafting orders, but we also sometimes communicate real-time with judges in the courtroom as issues arise or attend evidentiary hearings and trials for a better vantage point.

In a sense, our work in Court Counsel is like helping to solve puzzles—real life scenarios are viewed and processed through the filter of the law to assist judges in achieving just resolutions of conflict. Yes, the job is really that fascinatingly good most days!

COURT COUNSEL | HALL OF FAME

There are many Court Counsel alums still serving the Twelfth Circuit in different capacities. County judges Renee Inman, Dana Moss, and Erika Quartermaine are each former Court Counsel. Magistrates Deborah Bailey, David Caskey, Charles Denton, Laura Hale, and Rebecca Hunt all worked as attorneys with Court Counsel before becoming full time magistrates. Jessica Carroll, the probate coordinator in Sarasota County, is a Court counsel alumnae. Our former administrative assistant, Kelley Hightower, is the assistant to Magistrate Caskey. And one of the very first Court Counsel for the Twelfth Circuit is now our new Trial Court Administrator, Kim Miller.

 
Judge Inman
Judge Inman
Judge Moss
Judge Moss
Judge Quartermaine
Judge Quartermaine
 
 
Magistrate Bailey
Magistrate Bailey
Magistrate Caskey
Magistrate Caskey
Magistrate Denton
Magistrate Denton
Magistrate Hale
Magistrate Hale
Magistrate Hunt
Magistrate Hunt
 
 
TCA Miller
TCA Miller
Jessica Carroll
Jessica Carroll
Kelley Hightower
Kelley Hightower