Williams, J. - Divisional Instructions


The Divisional Email Address is for limited communication as detailed below.  Do NOT attempt to communicate with the Magistrate's Office by email for any reason, unless you are expressly authorized to do so by the General Magistrate or the Magistrate's Assistant.  Emails will only be accepted if approved by the General Magistrate or the Magistrate's Assistant.

Procedures for Judicial Reviews/Permanency Hearings before General Magistrate James Williams while Non-Essential Hearings are Suspended Pursuant to Administrative Order 12.515 (Mitigating Measures in Response to COVID-19)

Pursuant to Administrative Order 12.515, all non-essential court proceedings may proceed either in-person or remotely, subject to: 1) the presiding judicial officer’s discretion, 2) any limitations on remote conduct imposed by the United States or Florida Constitution, a statute, or rule of court, and 3) the participants’ access to technological resources. 

Judicial reviews and permanency hearings are non-essential hearings. While non-essential hearings are suspended, all Judicial Reviews/Permanency Hearings that are held will be conducted using communications equipment. 

Any hearings that cannot be effectively conducted remotely with all parties using communication equipment will be continued or re-set to a later date depending upon the circumstances. If counsel believes that a particular hearing falls into this category, please e-mail the Magistrate's Assistant (CAD-JRScheduling@pbcgov.org) and all counsel of record as soon as practicable.

For hearings that can be effectively conducted remotely with all parties using communication equipment, the following procedures will apply:

  1. Unless otherwise specified, we will be using Zoom to conduct all hearings remotely. Zoom supports participation by both internet users (audio and video) and telephone users (audio only). A Zoom conference can occur with some participants appearing via the internet and others appearing via telephone.
  2. Zoom conferences can be accessed with an internet browser or by downloading the Zoom application on your computer, tablet, or cell phone. Downloading and installing the Zoom application takes a few minutes, so this must be done in advance of the hearing.
  3. Attorneys are strongly encouraged to use Zoom via the internet (browser or application) rather than appearing by telephone. Please note that video participation requires a camera and audio participation requires a microphone.
  4. Using Zoom via the internet (browser or application) allows witnesses to appear via video. Pursuant to AOSC20-16, witnesses appearing by audio-video equipment can be sworn in remotely.
  5. Anyone without internet access can call into the Zoom conference with a normal telephone. The toll-free phone number for accessing the Zoom conferences is 1-888-475-4499. The meeting ID: 821 3909 8859 must be entered after dialing the phone number. Counsel will be responsible for providing their clients with this meeting ID. This meeting ID will be used for all hearings before the magistrate.
  6. Given the nature of these remote proceedings, it is very important that hearings begin and end on time. Any hearing that cannot be completed in the allotted time (generally 30 minutes) may be continued or reset.
  7. All attendees MUST mute themselves when they are not speaking.
  8. All attendees MUST remember that this is a court proceeding and must dress and act accordingly.
  9. Incarcerated Parties: All appearances by inmates must be remote.
    Palm Beach County Jail, Department of Corrections, and out-of-county jails: Counsel is responsible for setting up telephonic appearances. An Order to Transport should be submitted for each scheduled hearing, which should include the inmate's information, location, and the static Zoom information (see number 5). If an Order is not filed by the day of a scheduled hearing, please contact the Magistrate's Assistant (CAD-JRScheduling@pbcgov.org) as soon as possible so that Magistrate's office can attempt to coordinate the appearance with urgency.
  10. Interpreters: Please make all interpreter services requests at Court Interpreters page.