The Pandemic’s Impact on Your Criminal Defense Case: Part 1 (December 2020)
Florida’s local bar associations are a key information source during the pandemic. As we end 2020 and head into 2021, here is an example of how the court system is keeping prosecutors and defense lawyers informed about ever-changing courtroom protocols:
“A Message from the Honorable William F. Stone
Please see Judge Stone’s Felony Court dates for the remainder of the year:
- November 30, 2020 – Felony VOP Docket, Non-Incarcerated (AM), Incarcerated (PM)
December 1, 2020 – Felony Pretrial Conferences, Non-Incarcerated (All Day)
December 2, 2020 – Felony Pretrial Conferences, Non-Incarcerated (AM), Incarcerated (PM)
December 4, 2020 – Felony Pretrial Conferences, Non-Incarcerated (AM), Incarcerated (PM)
December 7, 2020 – Felony Sentencing & Miscellaneous, Non-Incarcerated (All Day)
December 8, 2020 – Felony Sentencing & Miscellaneous, Incarcerated (AM)
December 9, 2020 – Felony Docket Day, Non-Incarcerated (All Day)
December 10, 2020 – Felony Docket Day AND Felony Miscellaneous, Incarcerated (All Day, following Judge Grinsted’s Court)
December 11, 2020 – Felony Miscellaneous Docket, Non-Incarcerated, (All Day)
You may confirm information about your client’s case by checking the Clerk’s website.
Appearance may be in person or via Zoom. However, Judge Stone strongly encourages everyone to appear remotely if at all possible. Below is the Zoom Information for all of Judge Stone’s Felony Dockets:
ZOOM Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/2811655804
Or, to appear by phone, call one of the ZOOM numbers listed, (1 (312) 626-6799) or (1(929) 205-6099 and enter the Judge’s ZOOM Meeting ID when prompted, 2811655804.”
To these experienced eyes, this looks like a court system ready to shut down and go back into Phase I. The judge “strongly encourages everyone” to use remote appearances virtually all of the time.
Ruby red and science hostile Lee County went back into Phase I just last week. If you are even slightly familiar with Florida, Lee County is not a liberal political stronghold. Quite the opposite virtually none of the locals wear masks and many do not believe the COVID virus is anything different than the flu.
Therefore, if Lee County is going back into Phase I then I expect most courts in Florida to go back into Phase I before the end of 2020. This will definitely affect most criminal defense cases.