FLORIDA KEYS, April 7, 2020 – Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady on April 6 issued a new emergency order 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. Courthouses are closed to the general public.
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; and suspends a rule requiring clerks of court to immediately issue paperwork to sheriffs when a final judgment is made in eviction cases.
It also extends emergency changes to notarization and oath requirements; and 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 Justice 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 can be found at www.floridasupremecourt.org.
Governor Ro DeSantis declared a statewide State of Emergency on March 9 to limit the threat of spreading COVID-19. Locally, only people who live in Monroe County, own property in Monroe County, work in Monroe County and delivery vehicles are being allowed into the county. Documentation must be presented at mile marker 112.5 of U.S 1 on the 18-Mile Stretch and on Card Sound Road, where local authorities have set up checkpoints.