“Slow and gradual”

UPDATE IIMonica Hofheinz email to all SAO Units at 4:11 PM:

Today a meeting was held with the Chief Judge and other Courthouse stakeholders. It was determined, based on the downward trend of COVID-19 stats that our court system is getting closer to moving into Phase II and we will begin transitioning over the next few weeks and into October.

Phase II – limited in-person contact is authorized for certain purposes and/or requires use of protected measures.

The courthouse will not be opening to the full public or jurors just yet and virtual hearings will continue. Some measures are being installed in the courtrooms for phase II testing purposes.

Two Zortemp 1000 full body scanners with option for foreheads or wrists will be installed and tested at the West Courthouse entrance. Handheld scanners will be used at the 3rd floor rotunda entrance and Regional Courthouse entrances.

For SAO staff, we may be instituting the use of handheld no-contact thermometers at a future date.

We are beginning to bring back several support staff to work in the building with alternating schedules as the work on cases and mail has increased. Maintaining our alternating schedule will help with our social distancing. Everyone is still required to wear their mask, maintain 6 feet apart and not gather in groups.

The elevators are still a problem which has not been resolved.

The next meeting and update will be sometime early October. Stay vigilant and safe everyone.

UPDATE I – Response to a PRR requesting Supreme Court/17th Circuit recent operational plans, received at 4:05 PM:

The Office of the State Courts Administrator has concluded the operational plans in its possession are confidential and exempt, as explained below. That said, the 17th Circuit has its administrative orders about operational and due process procedures available on its website: http://www.17th.flcourts.org/coronavirus-covid-19-updates/

The base operational plan provided to the OSCA is also on its website. You can find the link in the attached document.

In regard to operation plans held by the OSCA: A judicial circuit’s operational plan is a record containing information that directly relates to the physical security of property owned or leased by the state. All such records, including portions thereof, are confidential and exempt from public access pursuant to Rules 2.420(c)(7), and (8), Florida Rules of Judicial Administration, and sections 119.071(3)(a), and 281.301, Florida Statutes, and as such will not be released by the Office of State Courts Administrator.

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Original JAABLOG post at 2:40PM

Firm reopening dates have apparently not been set following today’s stakeholders’ meeting, with a concern expressed over other circuits having reversed course back to Phase I after attempting aggressive Phase II implementation. The PDO and SAO are also said to be in agreement with a slow and gradual reopening plan, specifics of which could be announced after Supreme Court review of a recently submitted 17th circuit proposal. We’re chasing that plan down at this time, but we’re told November or mid-November may still be the operative dates …

FRIDAY AT NOON

Lawyers and all others interested in traffic cases are invited to attend a 12:00 PM Zoom meeting tomorrow, September 18th at 12:00 PM with John Fry, head of the traffic infraction program for the 17th Circuit.

Pursuant to this Administrative Order signed by Jack Tuter on Monday, changes to the way pretrial hearings and traffic trials are handled during the pandemic and beyond are coming, with the potential for things to get cheaper for all those looking to work out tickets pretrial, and much more expensive if resolved via plea on the day of trial …

The meeting ID: 561 587 919.

RUMOR HAS IT …

… the courthouse will remain closed through October, with an expected reopening date of November 2nd. Jury trials are likely to be suspended until after the new year.

We’re told there’s a meeting Friday to discuss reopening, so wait and see if the information above is accurate …

SS – Broward public defender who was fired the day after losing a bid for her boss’s seat has landed a new job — as a prosecutor

FUN WITH PRR’S

The Florida Bar has turned over the closed Brenda v. Blog file, pursuant to a public records request. As with other closed files we’ve received from them, it seems wildly incomplete, with loads of duplications of documents, emails, and newspaper articles that would have already been in the possession of the parties. Whether or not the obviously missing information is deemed work product or otherwise somehow exempt, remains to be seen.*

For whatever reason, an interesting email was included, possibly by mistake, pictured below. Full information leading up to the request that’s the subject of the memo is not included, and there’s nothing provided that explains how the hiring of a 1st Amendment outside counsel issue was concluded. In any event, all those who believe Brenda v. Blog was being driven by Tallahassee and not Brenda, have seemingly been proven correct …

So there you have it. Interested parties to Brenda v. Blog included Adria Quintela, at the time head of lawyer regulation in Tallahassee and now a law professor at FSU, who was also involved locally in the Bobby Diaz and Marni Bryson focused complaints back when Ken Marvin was in charge. Also “Josh,” believed to be Josh Doyle, the Executive Director of the Bar, and Jack Tuter, together with unnamed “numerous Broward County judges,” all ostensibly in support of Brenda’s attack on the only unfettered, 1st Amendment defending courthouse blog on the planet …

SS – GC dismisses Forman’s complaints

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* While the above post was being written, the following email was received concerning the missing components of the file:

Rule 3-7.1(a), Rules Regulating the Florida Bar states that “[A]ll records including files, preliminary investigation reports, interoffice memoranda, records of investigations, and the records in trials and other proceedings under these rules, except those disciplinary matters conducted in circuit courts, are property of The Florida Bar. All of those matters are confidential and will not be disclosed except as provided in these rules.”

Subsection (b) them identifies what the Bar considered the “public record” subject to disclosure – “[T]he public record consists of the record before a grievance committee, the record before a referee, the record before the Supreme Court of Florida, and any reports, correspondence, papers, recordings, and/or transcripts of hearings furnished to, served on, or received from the respondent or the complainant.”

You have previously been provided the entire public record.

SS – Sandy D’Alemberte on Brenda v. Blog

SUN SENTINEL ON AMY BLOOM/ALEX ARREAZA