The Chief Judge has advised the majority of county court cases will be heard remotely until mid-September when COVID-19 numbers will be reassessed. Arraignments will remain in person. Inmates who are quarantined will appear on Zoom.

The Chief Judge also asked all stakeholders to follow Judge Siegel’s suggestion of setting all felony cases that occurred on or before Dec. 31, 2019 for in-person hearings to set trial dates. Owls will be installed in all circuit courtrooms to assist with Zoom hearings. All cases dated from Jan 1, 2020, forward will be heard on Zoom unless there is an arraignment, evidentiary hearing that requires witnesses, or a trial.

Judges will be directed to limit the number of cases set in the courtroom during in-person proceedings. While Judge Siegel thinks 50 cases per day can be divided up to safely socially distance, that number may change. Inmates who are quarantined will appear on Zoom.

The Chief Judge has also asked our office to continue to work on negotiating cases or releasing defendants on monitors who are not a danger to the community but have tested positive for COVID-19.

It is our office policy that everyone is expected to be here and to practice social distancing. Everyone is required to wear their masks and avoid congregating in common office areas. No in-person meetings; please utilize zoom and telephones.

We need everyone to be a team player and be considerate of your co-workers’ livelihoods and health. Please be considerate of how you conduct yourselves outside of the office— with limiting everyone’s exposure to the virus in mind.

Please be responsible and report if you have had contact with someone who is positive.

Follow the below guidelines if you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19:

If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) OR with someone who was in close contact with someone who has COVID-19:

• People who are fully vaccinated should work from home and get tested 3-5 days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms. Remain in work-from-home status until you get a negative test result OR 14 days following exposure. If you have symptoms, after contact with someone who had COVID-19, remain home.

• People who are unvaccinated and have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 OR with someone who was in close contact, should get tested and stay home for 14 days after your last exposure to that person. You may return to work after day 7 after receiving a negative test (the test must occur on day 5 or later) if you have no symptoms.

• Please continue to follow current CDC guidelines for return to work https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.


Subject: (BACDL) Circuit Criminal In-Person Next Week

I spoke with Judge Siegel today regarding in-person versus zoom hearings. Right now nothing in circuit criminal is being automatically moved to zoom. Everyone needs to appear where they were already noticed to appear (presumably in-person).

Monday we expect to get more news. But for Monday and until further notice, appear wherever you’ve been noticed to appear. This is only for Circuit Criminal. I will update everybody when I get more news.

R. William Barner III, Esq.


Good evening, BACDL. I spoke with Judge Gottlieb today regarding moving forward with in-person versus zoom hearings. All calendar calls, pleas, and any other non-substantive hearings can be conducted on the respective judge’s zoom room. However, this still falls within each judge’s discretion. So do call your judge’s chambers the morning of.  Jury trials, non-jury trials, motions to suppress, and final VOPs will still be moving forward and will still be done in-person. —

R. William Barner III, Esq. 

9 thoughts on “ZOOM! (COVID-19 UPDATE)”

  1. 5


    Interesting. The disorganized and dangerous mess has now been compounded by Admin leaving it up to the individual Judges as to how to proceed going forward? What kind of a sick joke is this. It’s only going to get worse until someone lays down the law in consistent fashion. The Supreme Court needs to take over Asap.

    1. 6


      Have you read the most recent Florida Supreme Court AO? Because it’s the FSC that ordered in-person criminal proceedings. That leaves the individual county chief judges hands tied.

  2. 6


    Most of them couldn’t run a practice (except into the ground). They should hire an outside firm. Tripp Scott or something. Get the place back in order.

  3. 1


    What happens if I have been 5 ft away from some one for 14 minutes that tested positive?

  4. 5


    Does Judge Gottlieb have any idea how ridiculously hard it is to get a call picked up?

  5. 1


    Owls, you say. Have not heard from the CDC that the virus is spread by mice. Anyway installing cats might be a better choice: they are slightly more awake during the day and good for morale.

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