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Posted on: March 27, 2020

Suspension of some court proceedings is extended due to virus

Freeman Justice Center in Key West

FLORIDA KEYS, March 25, 2020 – Due to the threat of the spread of the COVID-19 virus, all criminal and civil trials, jury selection and grand jury proceedings are now suspended through April 17.

Florida Supreme Court Chief Judge Charles Canady issued the directive on March 24, following up on earlier directives that limited court proceedings to maintain safe distancing.

“Many court proceedings have been delayed and substantial efforts are being made to enable judges and court personnel to conduct court business remotely or on alternate work schedules. Judges who can conduct court business from a remote location are strongly encouraged to do so.”

However, “nothing in this order … is intended to limit a chief judge’s [in Monroe County, Judge Mark Jones] authority to conduct court business or approve additional court proceedings or events that are required in the interest of justice so long as risks to the health of the individuals involved and the public health are minimized.”

Judge Canady wrote that “all time periods involving the speedy-trial procedure, in criminal and juvenile court proceedings, are further suspended” through April 20. The suspension of time limits under the speedy-trial procedure restores additional days equal to the number stated in a previous administrative order.

A proceeding that has commenced may proceed to completion if the presiding judge, with the approval of the chief judge, determines that completion of the proceedings without delay is required by the interests of justice. In addition, the requirements of the double-jeopardy clause must be considered in criminal proceedings.

For defendants arrested in other jurisdictions for crimes allegedly committed in Monroe, bond conditions will be reviewed in the other jurisdiction “rather than requiring transport of the defendant to the county where any warrant or capias occurred.”

In cases where a defendant will continue to be detained in another jurisdiction for an indefinite period of time, the case can be temporarily transferred to that jurisdiction’s court contingent up the chief judges’ order.

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