For information about meeting times and participation please contact the Judicial Assistant.
Phone: (941) 861-7950
Email: Judicial Assistant

Judge Bonner's Guidelines for Zoom hearings


Witnesses should have a device to attend the hearing and an appropriate location to sit during the hearing, free of distractions. Virtual backgrounds are not permitted while a person is testifying. Set-up should be tested ahead of time to ensure there is no echoing or other technical issues. Witness shall not communicate with anyone during their testimony. This means no texting or chatting on any device or talking to anyone physically in the room.

  1. Although the hearing is being conducted virtually, it is still a court proceeding subject to ordinary rules of decorum. This means you should be attentive and behave as you would if the hearing were being held in person.
  2. The penalties of perjury or contempt are still applicable.
  3. If the Rule of Sequestration is invoked, the witness will either be asked to login to zoom when it’s their turn, or to sit in a zoom “waiting room” while the hearing is proceeding. This rule prohibits witnesses from listening to someone else’s testimony and also prohibits a witness from discussing their testimony, or that of another witness, with anyone except for authorized communication with an attorney. Anyone who violates this rule will be subject to contempt sanctions, which may include incarceration or fines, or both.
  4. Recording a court proceeding, except by a certified court reporter or the 12th Circuit Digital Recording System, is strictly prohibited and will result in contempt sanctions.
  5. Proper attire is required. Business casual is acceptable.
  6. Please ensure you are attending this hearing in a distraction free environment. Turn off ringers and alerts that make noise. Make sure zoom displays your first and last name.
  7. Let the attorney or judge finish speaking before answering questions. When an objection is made, stop talking and let the judge rule on the objection. Mute your microphone when not being addressed.
  8. There are icons on the zoom screen that allow a person to raise their hand or ask for a break.
  9. Procedure for disconnection: If disconnected, attempt to re-enter the meeting. If you are unable to rejoin, contact your attorney by phone or email, or contact the judicial assistant.


Before the hearing, send to the division email, in PDF format and copy to all other parties or counsel of record: *

  1. Each exhibit, labeled “Petitioner 1” or “Respondent A” and so on with the case number on the exhibit label.
  2. Confer with opposing counsel to determine what exhibits are stipulated to and what evidentiary objections each side is maintaining. Avoid duplicate exhibits.
  3. Practice using the screenshare function on zoom and have your exhibits readily accessible on your computer to screenshare during the hearing if necessary.
  4. Provide your witnesses with exhibits prior to the hearing whenever possible.
  5. For documents that are not previously marked as evidence and provided, but which may be necessary to view during the hearing, please have them available on your computer drive so that you may use the screenshare function on zoom.

*For more than 100 pages of material, please deliver a hard copy or a thumb drive to the Judge prior to the hearing*

If you wish to observe or attend by remote means please contact the Judge’s office for further instructions.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Return to Judge List