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Court leadership reviews health conditions, focuses on flexibility in response to changing local pandemic circumstances

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Additional orders extending or modifying these measures will be issued as warranted to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on the judicial branch and its participants

Chief Justice Charles Canady

Chief Justice Charles Canady

Chief Justice Charles Canady and leadership of the State Courts System continue to monitor health conditions throughout the state and remain alert to guidance provided by state and federal health agencies, including updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations issued July 27.

Provisions to respond to changing health conditions are included in Canady’s June 4 administrative order. The order encourages the continuation of remote court proceedings. Canady directs “each chief judge of a judicial circuit should take all necessary steps to support the remote conduct of other trial court proceedings with the use of technology in accordance with this administrative order and other applicable standards and guidance as may be adopted by the Chief Justice or supreme court.”

This order allows individuals to wear masks in courtrooms and allows participants to request physical distancing. It also includes procedures trial courts may follow to conduct jury trials remotely if all parties consent.

Chief Justice Canady and other judicial branch leaders are actively reviewing available health data and the work of courts throughout the state. Florida’s courts have continued operating during the period of the pandemic and worked to fulfill the judicial branch’s responsibilities to the people.

Canady’s most recent administrative order includes language anticipating regular review of and appropriate reaction to changing circumstances. This wording echoed similar declarations in many of the more than four dozen orders and amendments he has issued while adapting to changing circumstances. Additional orders extending or modifying these measures will be issued as warranted to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on the judicial branch and its participants, according to the court.

Chief Justice Canady issued all the orders under his authority as the chief administrative officer of the State Courts System. In 2020 he created the Workgroup on the Continuity of Court Operations and Proceedings During and After COVID-19 to provide recommendations to the Chief Justice.

All state court coronavirus emergency orders and advisories are linked on the Florida Supreme Court’s website: https://www.floridasupremecourt.org/Emergency

Bar members should also monitor The Florida Bar’s COVID-19 webpage,  where the Pandemic Recovery Task Force is providing extensive medical/health information and other pertinent information for Florida’s legal community

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