JK Divisional Instructions

ALL ATTORNEYS APPEARING IN DIVISION JK ARE EXPECTED TO COMPLY WITH DIVISIONAL INSTRUCTIONS

Court Schedule

Monday: Trials/Special Set Hearings
Detention/Shelter Hearings – 1:30 p.m.
Tuesday: Delinquency Docket – 8:30 a.m.
Detention/Shelter Hearings – 1:30 p.m.
Trials/Special Set Hearings
Wednesday: Dependency Docket -- 8:30 a.m.
**Crossover Docket -- 8:29 a.m.
Trials/Special Set Hearings
Thursday: Trials/Special Set Hearings
Friday: Delinquency Docket – 8:30 a.m.
Detention/Shelter Hearings – 1:30 p.m.
Trials/Special Set Hearings

Docket Days

All attorneys and parties are expected to be in Court promptly at 8:30 a.m. in order to facilitate pre-hearing negotiation and resolution of docket matters. The Court will take the bench at 8:45 a.m. or as soon as the attorneys advise the Courtroom Deputy that they are ready, and in no case later than 9:00 a.m.

When Court is in session, please keep any in-court conversations to a minimum and conduct those that must take place as quietly as possible.

Crossover Docket

In order to facilitate coordination on placement and services for crossover youth, delinquency attorneys and dependency attorneys are expected to meet and confer prior to every substantive hearing involving a crossover youth.

Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, delinquency and dependency matters involving crossover youth shall be scheduled on Wednesdays. The Court will call all crossover matters prior to other dependency matters.

Trials/Special Set Hearings

All attorneys and parties are expected to be ready to proceed at the time their matter has been scheduled by the Court.

Telephonic Appearance

Parties and attorneys may appear telephonically if the appearance is in compliance with Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.530 and with prior notice to the Court.

Communications with the Court

Unless otherwise directed, all out-of-court communications with the Court are to be through the Court's Judicial Assistant (JA), Shilah James, at sjames@pbcgov.org. All case-related correspondence must be copied to all parties and shall be limited to scheduling matters or providing pleadings and draft orders for the Court's review. Any case-related emails from non-attorney litigants will be filed in the Court file and sent to all attorneys of record. The Court will not accept case-related calls.

Motions/Special Set Hearings

Judge Bell will review all pleadings and case law in advance of all special set hearings. Please ensure all materials are sent to JA James per the instructions below in order to allow the Judge's timely consideration prior to Court.

Motions must be filed and docketed with the Clerk BEFORE a hearing time is requested. Upon the filing of a motion, an email request for a hearing must be sent to JA James at sjames@pbcgov.org, with a copy to all parties. Please include the case name and number, the amount of time anticipated for the hearing, the number of anticipated witnesses, and a copy of the Motion for the Court's review. The Clerk's Office does not provide copies of motions to the Judge.

Upon review, the JA will provide available hearing dates and times. The moving party then is to coordinate with all other parties. Once the parties have agreed on a date and time, the moving party will confirm with the JA, who will reserve the time on the Court's calendar. The JA will then send an email with the confirmed date and time of hearing, and the moving party will be advised to file a Notice of Hearing. Notices of Hearing may be filed only after a confirmation email with the hearing date and time has been received from the JA.

In addition, all Notices of Hearing must include a certification by the moving party that either counsel has conferred with all pertinent parties who may be affected by the relief sought in the motion in a good faith effort to resolve the matter without a hearing or narrow the issues raised; or counsel has made reasonable efforts to confer with all pertinent parties but has been unable to do so. Reasonable efforts require at least three (3) good faith attempts to meet and confer by the moving party.

Each party is responsible for arranging for interpreters and any courtroom technology needs prior to the hearing. An email confirming that all such arrangements have been made must be sent to JA James at least two (2) days prior to the scheduled hearing.

Unless otherwise directed by the Court, written Responses to a Motion are to be filed at least five (5) days prior to the scheduled hearing, and written Replies at least two (2) days prior. Please provide copies of all pertinent case law for the Court's review at least two (2) days prior to the scheduled hearing. Counsel may highlight or otherwise mark key language in cases and exhibits.

All written filings and copies of case law are to be emailed to JA James at sjames@pbcgov.org, with copies to all parties.

Emergency and Priority Motions and Hearings

For Emergency Motions and Hearings, please refer to Administrative Order 5.806.

If a party has a priority matter that does not qualify as an emergency, please advise JA James at the time a hearing is requested.

Continuances

Parties are encouraged to advise the Court and file any motions for continuance as soon as the need for a continuance becomes apparent. Absent an emergency, a Motion for Continuance of any specially set hearing, including trials and adjudicatory hearings, must be in writing and filed at least one (1) week prior to the scheduled hearing date. The Court must approve all continuances. The Motion must note the agreement or objection of all parties to the continuance, or must include an explanation of reasonable efforts made to meet and confer.

Pre-Trial/Adjudicatory Hearing Procedures

Prior to any calendar call or other hearing at which a trial or adjudicatory hearing is to be set, the parties shall meet and confer to ensure that 1) all discovery has been exchanged; and 2) there is no agreeable resolution short of trial/adjudicatory hearing.

At the time of the trial-setting hearing, the parties should be prepared to inform the Court how much Court time they anticipate needing for the trial/adjudicatory hearing and for pre-trial Motions.

Each party is responsible for arranging for interpreters and any courtroom technology needs prior to the hearing. An email confirming that all such arrangements have been made must be sent to JA James at least two (2) days prior to the scheduled hearing.

All parties have a continuing obligation to disclose any subsequently discovered evidence and witnesses.

After the Court has set a trial or adjudicatory hearing, unless otherwise ordered by the Court, the parties shall abide by the following schedule:

Dependency

  1. Witness and Exhibit Lists: To be filed and exchanged no later than one (1) week after the trial-setting hearing.
    1. Witness Lists shall include the names, positions, and contact information of each potential witness. They shall also identify any potential expert witnesses and their areas of expertise.
    2. Exhibit Lists shall include all Business Records and Notices of Intent to Introduce Business Records; and all records for which Judicial Notice is sought and Notices of Intent to rely upon those records.

    Any party desiring to use an exhibit or witness which is not included on their initial Witness or Exhibit List must promptly give the Court and the parties a description of the exhibit, or the witness's name and contact information, and an explanation for the late discovery.

    Absent specific agreement by the parties or a showing of good cause or prevention of manifest injustice, the parties will be limited at trial to the witnesses and exhibits disclosed in their initial Witness and Exhibit Lists.

  2. Pre-trial Motions: To be filed no later than two (2) weeks after the trial-setting hearing. The parties shall follow the Instructions relating to Motions/Special Set hearings for all Pre-trial Motions. Pre-trial Motions include:
    1. Child Hearsay and Child Testimony motions
    2. Frye motions
    3. Motions in Limine
    4. Objections to proposed Exhibits, including objections to any Business Records and Judicial Notice records.
    5. Objections to proposed Witnesses, including Experts

    Absent specific agreement by the parties or a showing of good cause or prevention of manifest injustice, any motions not timely filed will be deemed waived.

  3. Responses to Pre-trial Motions and Objections: To be filed no later than three (3) weeks after the trial-setting hearing.
  4. Joint Case Brief: To be filed no later than four (4) weeks after the trial-setting hearing. The parties are ordered to meet and confer regarding the Joint Case Brief, which shall be drafted jointly and include:
    1. Statement of the Case: A concise, impartial and accurate statement of facts.
    2. Procedural History: A listing of those items in the court docket that may be pertinent at trial.
    3. Order of Proof: A joint proposed order of witnesses and evidence to be presented at trial.
    4. Stipulations: All stipulated facts that require no proof at trial and can be read into the record.
    5. Issues: A statement of issues of law and fact that the parties agree will need to be determined at trial.
  5. Case Law: Any case law pertinent to legal issues which may arise at trial is to be emailed to JA James no later than four (4) weeks after the trial-setting hearing. Counsel may highlight or otherwise mark key language in cases. Copies of the highlighted cases must be provided to all parties.
  6. Business Record and Judicial Notice Record Redactions: The parties are ordered to meet and confer regarding any Business Record/Judicial Notice objections. All agreed redactions are to be blacked out from records; any proposed redactions on which the Court will be asked to rule are to be highlighted. A set of redacted records is to be delivered to JA James no later than four (4) weeks after the trial-setting hearing.
  7. Pre-trial Hearing: Not less than ten days before any adjudicatory hearing on a termination of parental rights, the Court shall conduct a pre-trial status conference to determine the order in which each party may present witnesses or evidence, the order in which cross-examination and argument shall occur, and any other matters that may aid in the conduct of the adjudicatory hearing. A pre-trial status conference may be scheduled prior to any other adjudicatory hearing at the request of the parties.

    Unless otherwise scheduled by the Court, argument on any proposed redactions of records shall be heard at the pre-trial status conference.

Delinquency

The parties are on notice that it is the Court's intention to try any cases in which a youth is held in secure detention within 21 days of arrest.

  1. Witness and Exhibit Lists: Witness and Exhibit Lists are to be exchanged prior to calendar call. Any party desiring to use an exhibit or witness which is not included on their initial Witness or Exhibit List must promptly give the Court and the parties a description of the exhibit, or the witness's name and contact information, and an explanation for the late discovery. Absent specific agreement by the parties or a showing of good cause or prevention of manifest injustice, the parties will be limited at trial to the witnesses and exhibits disclosed in their initial Witness and Exhibit Lists.
  2. Pre-trial Motions: Pre-Trial Motions are to be filed prior to calendar call so that they can be set for hearing at the calendar call. Pre-trial Motions include:
    1. Motions to Suppress
    2. Child Hearsay and Child Testimony motions
    3. Frye motions

    Absent specific agreement by the parties or a showing of good cause or prevention of manifest injustice, any motions not timely filed will be deemed waived.

  3. Business Records and Judicial Notice: Notices of Intention to Introduce Business Records and Judicial Notice records are to be filed within two (2) days of calendar call. Objections to the introduction of such records are to be filed within two (2) days of the filing of any Notices.
  4. Jury Instructions: Agreed Jury Instructions are to be emailed to JA James no later than 48 hours prior to the first day of trial. If the parties do not agree on instructions, they must send alternative instructions to the Court.
  5. Motions in Limine: Motions in Limine are to be filed and emailed to JA James no later than 48 hours prior to the first day of trial.
  6. Legal Issues: Memoranda of law and case law pertinent to any legal issues anticipated by the parties are to be emailed to JA James no later than 48 hours prior to the first day of trial, with copies to all parties. Counsel may highlight or otherwise mark key language in cases. Copies of the highlighted cases must be provided to all parties. If any party is going to rely on case law at trial that has not been previously provided, copies must be provided to the Court and to all parties.

Orders

All Orders are to be emailed to JA James at sjames@pbcgov.org, with a copy to all parties. Include the case name and number, and attach the Order in Word format for the Court's review.

Agreed Orders:

Upon agreement of all pertinent parties, an Agreed Order may be sent to the Court for review in Chambers. If the Agreed Order is time-sensitive, please note "Time-Sensitive" in the subject line of the email, and the date by which the Agreed Order is requested in the body of the email.

All Agreed Orders are to be entitled "Agreed Order" with the subject matter of the order. In addition, the Agreed Order must include: 1) a listing of all parties and attorneys of record agreeing to the relief sought in the Order; and 2) the factual and legal basis for the relief sought. If the Agreed Order is time-sensitive, include the basis for priority review in the Order. Submissions of Agreed Orders that do not include this information will be returned for re-submission.

In Dependency matters, absent good cause and prior approval by the Court, the Court will not accept Agreed Orders for Case Plan Approvals.

Post-Hearing Proposed Orders:

After the Court has ruled at a Hearing or Trial, unless otherwise ordered by the Court, the attorney for the prevailing party shall prepare a proposed Order. In Dependency matters, unless otherwise ordered by the Court, the Department of Children and Families shall prepare a proposed Order. The proposed Order shall be circulated to all parties for accuracy prior to submission to the Court.

The proposed Order shall be provided to the Court no later than fourteen (14) days from the date of the hearing, unless otherwise ordered by the Court or unless leave of court for an extension is granted. If any party disagrees with the Proposed Order, that party must send an alternative proposal to the Court by the same deadline. If no alternative proposed Order is received by the Court, any objection not previously placed on the record will be considered waived.

All proposed Orders are to be entitled "Order" and include the subject matter of the order. In addition, the Proposed Order must include: 1) a listing of all parties and attorneys of record who were present at the hearing; 2) if evidence was taken, a recitation of each exhibit admitted, and the names and positions of all witnesses with a summary of testimony; and 3) an accurate recitation of the factual and legal findings of the Court. Submissions of Proposed Orders that do not include this information will be returned for re-submission.