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Message from Chief Judge Bertila Soto Regarding Coronavirus Disease COVID-19 [March 10, 2020]

 

 

 

 

Message from Chief Judge Bertila Soto

 

The Miami-Dade County Courts are open for business. We have been closely monitoring developments relating to the coronavirus disease COVID-19, and we are in regular meetings and collaboration with our court and government partners to ensure continued access to the courts while keeping in mind the health of the members of the public who use our courts as well as our judges and court staff.

All Miami-Dade Courts continuity of operations plans are being reviewed and appropriate steps are being taken to ensure these plans remain ready to implement immediately should the need arise.

In addition, the Miami-Dade Courts are working closely with Miami-Dade County’s Internal Services Department to implement more frequent cleaning at all court locations of “high contact” surfaces such as the small item collection containers used at the security checkpoints and shared workspaces, tables and doorknobs, elevators, as well as high traffic areas such as public bathrooms. Hand sanitizer dispensers have been placed in lobbies throughout all courthouses for use by the public and court staff, and educational materials regarding the coronavirus disease COVID-19 are also being placed in public areas.

 

Proactive Measures

Where appropriate, judges may consider implementing proactive preparedness steps for future court proceedings, such as the following:

- For criminal cases:

       o Setting hearings and trials involving out of custody defendants farther out in the calendar year, provided all parties are in agreement and legal time limits are not impacted

       o Considering requests for defendant releases from jail with GPS monitoring or other monitoring arrangements, if appropriate based on the type of case and recommendations made by the attorneys in the case

       o Having inmates transported from jail to the courtroom only when their presence is needed, provided all parties are in agreement
    

- For civil cases:

       o Attorneys and parties should check judges’ web pages for updates on remote appearance policies: https://www.jud11.flcourts.org/About-the-Court/Judges/Judicial-Directory. At this time there is no change in typical operations.

  

The courts may consider additional preparedness steps in keeping with the recommendations of government and health authorities.

Please continue to monitor the Centers for Disease Control Advisories at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html and our website and social media for any future changes in our court operations: www.jud11.flcourts.org and @miamidadecourts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

 

Thank you,

 

The Honorable Bertila Soto, Chief Judge
Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida

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