The Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, one of twenty circuits in Florida, follows the directives of the Florida Supreme Court and the Chief Judge of the Circuit. On September 9, 2020, the Circuit met the Florida Supreme Court requirements needed to move from Phase 1 to Phase 2 ( of four phases). The Circuit shall remain in Phase 2 until the Chief Judge determines that the Circuit meets the Florida Supreme Court’s requirements needed to transition to Phase 3. It is important to know that the Florida Supreme Court phases are distinct and independent of the phases associated with the Governor’s plan for Florida’s recovery. The Governor’s recent Executive Order moving Florida counties into Phase 3 does not usurp the Chief Judge’s decision with regard to the courts. While in Phase 2, masks remain mandatory for all persons entering any of the five courthouses.
Chief Judge Krista Marx has announced that on October 14, October 27, November 4, and November 17, the Circuit will summons jurors for service. The Circuit, working with the County, the Clerk, and the Sheriff, have taken extraordinary measures to protect the health of persons summonsed for jury service. Potential jurors will enter a security door, separate from the public, and will be provided with personal protective equipment throughout their service. The seating in the jury selection room is properly spaced, according to the Centers for Disease Control guidelines. The trial courtrooms are outfitted with plexiglass and the jury deliberation rooms contain both plexiglass and air “scrubbers,” which are devices that eliminate airborne microorganisms. Additionally, all areas utilized by jurors will be frequently sanitized. With these safety procedures in place, jurors should feel confident that the Circuit is taking every precaution to ensure they can fulfill their important constitutional duty, safely.