Weekend, holiday first appearance protocols at Sarasota County Jail

  • All attorneys and court staff, including courtroom clerks and interpreters, must submit to the health screening questions and temperature check that are required at the Judicial Center.
  • Private attorneys who are unable to enter the facility based on their response to the screening questions or temperature will be given a card with a conference call number to appear telephonically. The judge will be notified of the telephonic appearance and will call the conference line when the case is to be addressed.
  • The Offices of the State Attorney, Public Defender, Court Administration and Clerk of Court must have staff available to substitute for any of their staff unable to enter the Sarasota County jail due to screening criteria.
  • All courtroom staff attending first appearances shall wear a mask upon entry to the corrections facility.
  • A list of inmate groups will be prepared prior to first appearances and printed for the judge, attorneys and court staff when they arrive.
  • DeSoto County first appearances and Sarasota shelter & detention hearings will be completed prior to Sarasota first appearances. These hearings will be conducted remotely.
  • Inmates will utilize one elevator and courtroom staff will utilize the other between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. Signs designating the proper elevator are posted near each elevator in the North Wing of the facility.
  • Inmates that are being brought to the courtroom will remain behind a yellow line in the second floor lobby hallway to ensure social distancing.
  • The first group of inmates will be seated in the courtroom by 8:45 a.m.
  • It is suggested that attorneys, Pretrial staff, courtroom clerks and interpreters be in the courtroom by 8:50 a.m.
  • Inmates will be brought to the courtroom in groups based on their quarantine status.
  • Inmates that are not on quarantine status will be the first group to be brought into the courtroom.
  • Inmates will be socially distanced with no more than ten inmates in the courtroom at one time. All inmates and deputies shall wear masks at all times.
  • After each group is completed, the benches and inmate vestibule will be cleaned and sanitized, and the next group will then be brought into the courtroom.
  • This process will be repeated until are groups are completed.
  • Attorneys and victims may appear in the jail courtroom. The media and other interested public must observe from the media room.

Corrections Facility Entry Questions

Persons who answer “yes” to having any of the symptoms in Question 1 or answer “yes” to Questions 2, 3 or 4 shall not be allowed to enter the corrections facility.

Question 1: Do you have any of the following symptoms, excluding those due to a known medical reason other than COVID-19:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever or chills
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Question 2: Are you currently awaiting the results of a test to determine if you have COVID-19 based on symptoms or suspected exposure?

Question 3: Are you under instructions to self-isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19?

Question 4: Within the past 14 days, have you had close contact with someone with a COVID-19 diagnosis or who is awaiting test results for COVID-19 based on symptoms or suspected exposure?