I hope this message finds you all well and taking the appropriate precautions to keep yourselves and your families safe.
Following the advice of health and government organizations, and following the direction of the Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice, we have cancelled all but emergency and constitutionally required court proceedings in an effort to reduce the number of people coming to court and therefore, do our part to reduce the spread of coronavirus disease COVID-19.
While the courts are closed, our mission-critical teams of judges and staff are working to identify and lay the groundwork for moving to virtual court appearances through the use of technology.
This is a significant undertaking with many details to consider - identify technology platforms, expand bandwidth, acquire licenses, acquire webcams and other hardware, train our personnel and court users. We must also consider questions such as: what is the role of the Clerk, how do we integrate court reporters, the record, and court interpreters; how is a record created and transmitted, how are orders created and transmitted, how can individuals be sworn and documents or evidence be presented. These are important questions that require thoughtful and deliberative analysis of our existing court processes as we transition to new digital processes.
We are working as quickly as possible to come back online with comprehensive, workable, accessible solutions. We ask for your patience. Many of you in the past have asked for continuances of court events due to illness, or workload, or other unforeseen contingencies. You ask us to understand. We are asking you for your understanding in this brief continuance of court operations so that we can deliver to you the justice that Miami-Dade deserves in a manner that protects the health of our community and our judges and staff. We will be online again as soon as possible.
Thank you and stay safe,
The Honorable Bertila Soto, Chief Judge
Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida