Good afternoon,

           As each of you know we are about to reopen per the most recent Supreme  Court’s AO. We have been in touch with BSO, Court Interpreter’s, Clerk’s Office, Court projects, Court Administration, etc. The plan has been developed for all criminal divisions, both county and circuit, as follows,

           1. Effective June 15, 2021, all Judges can use their individually assigned courtroom to hold in person hearings. If you previously scheduled an in person hearing in one of the in person courtrooms ( i.e. 6900, 6750 or 7870) it will be heard in your individually assigned courtroom. The clerk’s office, court interpreter’s and other necessary court personnel will be present in person. Any out of custody change of plea scheduled for Room 3144 will be directed to the division judge’s assigned courtroom to enter the plea. Attorneys, witnesses, and parties shall appear in person unless he/she has been specifically excused by the judge as  to that case. Masks are  required to be worn in the Courtroom. Please have your JA notify all attorneys, court deputies, Interpreters, and other staff as to matters you have previously scheduled to appear in your individually assigned courtroom.

           2. Effective June 21, 2021, all Judges shall use their assigned courtroom to conduct in person hearings. Any currently scheduled circuit criminal FQ, FM and or FS in custody docket will no longer be conducted over zoom. Defendant’s on any FQ, FM, and FS in custody docket will be brought to the division judges to appear in person. County court criminal judges will have in custody defendants brought to their courtroom as before the pandemic. Defendants currently scheduled for individual zoom cart hearings on your own division zoom platform will be brought to your courtroom to appear in person. Masks will no longer be required in the courtroom. If witnesses need to be called by either party, that party must make arrangements to notify them of the in court appearance. Attorneys shall appear in person unless he/she has been specifically excused by the judge as  to that case. BSO will not be providing zoom for in custody defendants on regular hearing dockets.

           3. Effective June 21, 2021, Defendant’s arrested on a 1st Violation of Supervision will be brought to the courtroom as pre-pandemic. Violation of Supervision warrants will continue to be delivered by DOC to Judge Lynch for review.  Violation of pretrial warrants will continue to be delivered by BSO to Judge Kollra for review.

           4. Effective July 6, 2021, proceedings are back to the courtroom for both in custody and out of custody defendants.  Any pandemic created docket will be conducted in your courtroom in person as before. Jury trials shall begin. Jurors are available to conduct trials. The Clerk’s office will be increasing each day the number of jurors summoned until the pre pandemic levels of jurors are available. Remember large special panels need to be pre ordered in advance or will be provided as available. Please review the Supreme Court AO for the case priority. If an in custody trial is not available then you shall try an out of custody case. As before, if you have extra cases ready to go other judges are available to try the case. Please have your JA call other judges all of the cases you set resolve to help.

           5. Effective July 6, 2021, 1st appearance and extraditions shall fully resume in the first appearance court room. Attorneys shall appear in person as pre-pandemic.

           6. Effective August 2, 2021, all court proceedings shall resume as pre-pandemic court appearance.

           Presently the Clerk’s office sets our arraignments, status hearings and calendar calls by notice requiring appearance via zoom. The Clerk’s Office will be adjusting future notice to reflect the in the courtrooms for all hearings. This will take a few weeks. During this time you may still need to conduct some hearings on Zoom because parties/lawyers will have been notified of the date and time of the hearing. However, you should no longer set Zoom hearings.  By the end of July, arraignments, status hearings and calendar calls  should have been noticed for in person hearing and they will not include the Zoom meeting ID.

           You are responsible for reviewing each of your cases and noticing these cases for the courtroom.  This transition will take some time. There may be some resistance and it will have its share of issues. Telephone and email inquiries will increase substantially. Your office must respond to address the inquiries.

Remember it has been a long 18 months plus these changes are the “new normal” and patience is important. Please recognize the enormous task BSO and the Clerk’s office must take in making this change. Additionally, how confusing it may be for individuals who have received multiple dates and changes over the last 18 plus months.

           We will look into a way to use the zoom platform for county and circuit criminal after the Courthouse has reopened successfully.

Andrew L. Siegel

(to all judges)


Mark Bogen, the County Commissioner sponsoring the Jack Tuter courtroom naming proposal, took the time to speak with us a few minutes ago.

He believes the Chief Judge deserves the honor because he has had an outstanding legal career, has done a great job as Chief Judge, and as the main engine in getting the Ceremonial Courtroom built, deserves to have it named after him.

Bogen stated he has never appeared before Tuter as an attorney, and that his law firm, Bogen Law Group, has no pending cases with Tuter presiding. Additionally, when asked why an exception would be made to the Broward County Administrative Code to name it after a living person, Bogen pointed out that the Commission has recently made other exceptions to the traditional naming policy to allow honors for living persons, indicating this is hardly a novel idea.

When asked whether the buck stops with Tuter as the Chief Judge of a circuit with so many highly publicized problems over the years, and, more specifically, as to whether the boss of the 17th Circuit bears any blame or responsibility for the egregious lockdown conditions inmates are still enduring due to the extended closures of the criminal courts and the lack of more than three in-custody dedicated Zoom links roughly fifteen months into the pandemic, Bogen stated he doesn’t have enough facts on these issues, but doesn’t believe Tuter deserves the criticism, and that blame shouldn’t be put on him for these types of problems.

So there you have it.

Stay tuned for public comment at the upcoming County Commission meetings …


Should the County Commission name the new Ceremonial Courtroom in honor of Jack Tuter? Should Tuter accept the honor, if awarded?


18.43. – Naming Broward County-owned Property, Buildings, Structures, and Facilities.

The Board of County Commissioners of Broward County may name any property, building, structure, or facility owned by Broward County, or which Broward County otherwise has the right to name, subject to the following process and parameters:

a. In its sole discretion, the Board of County Commissioners may involve outside organizations in the process.

b. Ideas for names may originate from any organization or individual and should ultimately be in writing for consideration.

c. Property, buildings, structures, and facilities should not be named after living persons.

Tuter resolution to name Ceremonial Courtroom after a living person …
June 15, 2021 Broward County Commission Agenda


Disorder in the court!

The always combative and entertaining APD Gus Martinez, who played a role in toppling Dennis Bailey, had a run in today with Ernie Kollra.

The video isn’t the highest quality, but since it’s already all over the criminal justice community, we thought we’d post it. Click the link above to download and watch.

Chalk it up to Zoom fatigue or otherwise, but in the end Kollra did the right thing, and gave Gus a standing recusal …



Additionally, the ongoing “pregnancy pictures” saga, Bryson v. Scherer, remains stayed, until the Fourth DCA rules on the pending Petition For Writ of Certiorari:

Lastly, from the JAABLOG yesteryear files, “Who is Marni Bryson, and why?,” which sparked a frivolous and unfounded bar complaint, all those years ago:


SS – JAABLOG writer cleared by Florida Bar committee (9/19/2103):


Chief Justice acts to lift courtroom restrictions, continue
remote proceedings, and sets dates to resume speedy trial

TALLAHASSEE – Chief Justice Charles Canady today issued an order allowing courts around Florida to lift requirements to wear masks and distance from others while in courtrooms during proceedings. Improved health measurements, increased vaccination rates, and updated official health guidance all prompted the changes.

“At this time, effective vaccines for COVID-19 are adequately available in Florida for persons ages 12 and older; almost half of this state’s population has been partially or fully vaccinated; and government-issued health standards and guidance provide that fully vaccinated persons do not need to wear face masks or physically distance in most indoor and outdoor settings unless required by federal, state, or local laws, rules, or regulations,” the administrative order states.

The order prioritizes jury trials, with criminal trials taking precedence, by directing most other proceedings be conducted remotely to focus facility and other resources on in-person trials.

“Trial court proceedings shall continue to be remotely conducted, as appropriate, to facilitate the efficient and expeditious processing of cases,” the order states.

Chief judges may drop the mask and distancing requirements in courtrooms during proceedings as soon as June 21, and no later than August 2.

The order further sets a schedule to end the current suspension of speedy trial and extends the emergency authority for remote proceedings.

In March 2020, most in-person court events were suspended because of the dangers posed by COVID-19. Emergency orders issued by Canady allowed for the remote conduct of any court event that could be held that way. Florida’s courts continued to work, using video and phone conferencing to hold court events even through restrictions on in-person proceedings. Judges around the state are expected to dispose of 3 million cases in 2020-2021 by the conclusion of the fiscal year later this month.

Speedy trial provisions will resume October 4 for adult defendants taken into custody before March 14, 2020, and for juveniles. For adult defendants taken into custody after March 14, 2020, speedy trial provisions will resume January 3, 2022.

Chief Justice Canady issued the order 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. Today’s order reflects recommendations made by the Workgroup.


BSO General Counsel Terrence Lynch reports in-person attorney jail visits will resume on Monday, June 7th, at 6:45 AM.

Securus will still be available for attorneys wishing to see clients remotely both now and in the future. One of the few good things to come out of the pandemic is the addition of the secure video visitation platform, but it won’t be free after the coupons on hand run out in a few weeks.

The Zoom carts the PDO was primarily relying on for visitations will be phased out as of June 14th.