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New order suspends jury trials and other deadlines through the end of May

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Supreme Court Justice Charles T. CanadyChief Justice Charles Canady issued a new emergency order April 6 suspending jury trials in Florida and extending other state legal deadlines through the end of May because of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

This action lengthens a prior order that had set the ending date for emergency pandemic court procedures at mid-April.

The April 6 order combines provisions of several previous administrative orders into a single document. It emphasizes the need for courts to continue applying social distancing and to use remote technology to help keep people safe while also honoring legal requirements.

Among other things, the April 6 order:

  • Suspends all jury selection proceedings and grand juries.
  • Lists other essential and critical proceedings that state courts must continue to perform with appropriate health safeguards, while limiting hearings in other cases.
  • Suspends speedy trial rules for criminal matters and noncriminal traffic infractions.
  • Suspends a rule requiring clerks of court to immediately issue paperwork to sheriffs when a final judgment is made in eviction cases.
  • Extends emergency changes to notarization and oath requirements.
  • Extends health-related limits on court-ordered family visitation involving children in the custody of the Florida Department of Children & Families, including allowing visitation by remote electronic means in some instances.

The chief will review this and other COVID-19 orders as the pandemic emergency develops and will extend them for longer periods if needed.

This and other emergency orders and advisories are being linked on the Florida Supreme Court’s website: https://www.floridasupremecourt.org/Emergency

The Florida Bar has built a comprehensive COVID-19 web page that offers the latest news, from Supreme Court orders, CLE, and practice management guides, to legal aid and consumer resources.

“COVID-19, the New Coronavirus, Information and Resources,” may be accessed at floridabar.org/covid19 or through a banner at the top of floridabar.org.

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