COVID-19

12th Circuit Court is Monitoring COVID-19

Courts remain open.
We urge you to follow the same precautions
recommended by the CDC to avoid the spread of the virus.

Speed Boat Race
Sunset and sea gulls
Manatees
Women's rowing competition
Sunset over Sarasota
John Ringling Bridge Sarasota Sky Line
Sand Piper on the beach
Sunset on Gulf Coast

Public Access to Court Hearings

View public hearings online via Zoom Video Conferencing software. 

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Our Message to You

Public access to court buildings is limited; access to justice is not.
 

September 21, 2020

On Friday, September 18, a six-member jury delivered a verdict in the first criminal jury trial to take place in the Twelfth Judicial Circuit since March.

Circuit Judge Charles Roberts presided over the felony trial at the Judge Lynn N. Silvertooth Judicial Center in Sarasota County. The jury was selected on Wednesday afternoon from a panel of 30 prospective jurors who answered the call for jury service. Eight witnesses testified over the course of the two-day trial, including one appearing remotely over Zoom. The jury reached a verdict Friday afternoon.

Several features of the trial that did not resemble pre-pandemic jury trials included face masks, social distancing and the regular cleaning of surfaces and microphones after each use. Additional information regarding the court’s health screening protocols and cleaning measures can be found on our COVID-19 News Page.

The success of the first jury trial was a result of the combined efforts of judges and the staff of Court Administration, the Sarasota County Clerk of Court, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office and Sarasota County Administration. Each of these offices played an integral role in ensuring the health and safety of the jury and all who enter our court facilities.

Jury trials are scheduled in Sarasota and Manatee County this week, and will resume in Venice and DeSoto County in October.

September 8, 2020

Desoto County is transitioning to Phase 2 on Tuesday, September 8. The same health screening protocols and face mask requirements as in the other counties apply in Desoto as well.

Court operations in Bradenton, Sarasota, and Venice transitioned from Phase 1 to Phase 2 on August 17.

Phase 2 looks a lot like Phase 1 with limited in-person hearings, and we’ll still require the use of face coverings, health screening questions, and fever checks, but it was a BIG step forward in our return to normal operations.

Another big step is that the Clerk's Offices in Manatee and Sarasota counties have issued jury summonses for September. The right to a jury trial is guaranteed by the consitution, but we also need to make sure everyone is safe and healthy. Please watch this video on the significance of jury duty during a public health crisis.

Until we transition to Phase 3 we must continue to hold most hearings by video and/or phone conferencing. If the hearing can't be held remotely it will be continued.

As we work to slow the spread of COVID-19, we must limit only those with official court business, a scheduled hearing or appointment to enter court buildings. Please do not bring anyone with you to court, because they may not be able to enter the building with you.

TIMEFRAMES EXTENDED ON FORECLOSURES/EVICTONS

Last night, Governor DeSantis signed Executive Order 20-211 extending the timeframes of EO 20-94 regarding mortgage foreclosures and evictions until October 1, 2020.

It is not necessary for Chief Judge Bonner to enter a new local administrative order extending the date through October 1, because AO 2020-15b.1 included language that stated if the governor amends, changes or alters the timeframes in Executive Order 20-94, (as extended by EO 20-121, 20-137, and 20-180) that the timeframes set forth will extend without further order from the court.

Changes to Programs/Services
DeSoto County Courts: 

Legal time limits extended from close of business on Wednesday, July 15, 2020, until the close of business on Monday, August 3, 2020.

Specialty Court/Treatment Courts: 

Zoom hearings are here!

Contact the dropline for updated information:
Manatee -  (941) 749-3666 Lab is open for Drug testing as of August 24, 2020
Sarasota -  (941) 861-8189
Desoto -  contact staff daily. CTC contact Director Brittany Elkins (941) 376-6821

Mediations: 

Zoom or telephone mediation is available by request and upon stipulation of the parties. Please contact the following staff members for scheduling:

  • County Mediation (Sarasota and DeSoto counties)
    Pam McLeod, (941) 861-7833
  • County Mediation (Manatee County)
    Susan Gardner, (941) 749-3660
  • Family Mediation
    Maggie Pardi, (941) 749-3654
  • Dependency Mediation
    Michelle Smith, (941) 749-3600, ext. 7102
Deposition room reservations: Canceled
School visits: Canceled
Pet Therapy Program:  Suspended until further notice
Grand Jury proceedings,
Jury selection proceedings, and
Criminal Jury trials: 
Grand Jury proceedings, jury selection proceedings, and criminal jury trials cannot begin until at least 30 days after the Chief Judge has determined that the circuit or one of the counties has transitioned to Phase 2.
Civil Jury trials: Suspended through December 31, 2020
Self Help Center: Closed to the public. If you need assistance, please send an email to SarasotaSelfHelpCenter@jud12.flcourts.org.

Please follow us on Twitter and Instagram @12circuitFL for updates and announcements.

Read all coronavirus posts on our COVID-19 News page