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Courts, clerks implement jury trial suspension order by Chief Justice Canady

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Supreme Court Justice Charles T. CanadyChief Justice Charles Canady on March 13 suspended jury trials throughout the State Courts System in the interest of public health. Clerks of court and trial court administrators throughout the state will act to implement the administrative order and notify all who have been called for jury service.

The suspension of jury trials extends to March 27 with provisions for subsequent orders to change the date.

The action further authorizes local judges to conduct legal proceedings remotely by suspending rules restricting the use of technology for those purposes. Florida’s governor declared a state of emergency and Florida’s surgeon general has declared a public health emergency.

“(I)t is the intent of this order temporarily to suspend grand jury proceedings, jury selection proceedings, and criminal and civil jury trials, and to temporarily suspend procedural requirements and limitations that could hinder efforts to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on the courts, court participants, and all the people of Florida,” Chief Justice Canady’s order states.

Clerks of court and court administrators are acting immediately to cancel summonses for jury service.

“Clerks will work to immediately implement the recent Supreme Court Administrative Order throughout the state. We are working through our statewide association, Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers, to provide information to all 67 county clerks and coordinate, where possible, any additional information on jury service to the public,” said Stacy Butterfield, Polk County Clerk of the Circuit Court and County Comptroller, who also serves as president of the Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers. “Florida’s clerks will continue to issue summonses to avoid delay to future court processes once the suspension of all jury trials is lifted. If you receive a summons, Florida’s clerks recommend contacting the respective clerk’s office to confirm whether you are required to appear.”

The work of Florida’s courts and clerks of court goes on. Hearings, filings, and other work of the judicial branch and clerks of court continues. Only jury trials are suspended by the order. Courthouses, clerks of court, and chief judges around the state are taking steps as advised by public health officials to minimize transmission of infectious disease. Citizens are urged to refer to websites of public health agencies, counties, clerks of court, and courts for details on recommendations and requirements that may be in place in their communities.

View the administrative order In re: COVID-19 Emergency Procedures in the Florida State Courts


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