No jury trials until vaccine-Hybrid Pilot Program Underway

A few days ago, Administrative Judge Jennifer Bailey submitted a letter with an operational plan update for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Civil Division. The operational plan explores a Zoom/live hybrid trial and other methods to ensure the best balance of safety and justice.

At this point, jury trials pose difficult problems in balancing safety and justice and are very limited under the Florida Supreme Court operational guidance. It is predicted that jury trials will not commence until there is a vaccine and that virtual hearings will continue in the foreseeable future.

Here’s the letter, dated June 29, 2020: Judge Bailey Circuit Civil Update

Pilot Program:

Miami-Dade Circuit Courts are one of five jurisdictions chosen by the Florida Supreme Court to explore how jury trials may proceed in the pandemic environment. The pilot project is currently underway, exploring a Zoom/live hybrid trial, subject to COVID conditions, and thus, limiting the number of people in courtrooms.

We will have a better idea of our ability to schedule additional trials once the pilot program is completed. Jury trials will still be limited by facility issues.

It’s important to move, value and resolve cases to prevent falling in the backlog:

Judge Bailey also includes information and suggestions on how to move the case along in an easy-to-read, Q&A style format.

Given the limited availability of in-person jury trials for the foreseeable future, it’s encouraged to consider creative alternatives that will move your case to resolution.

Litigants are suggested to follow Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.200, and schedule case management conferences to fully evaluate cases (without waiting for a trial date) and to move cases along. Otherwise, your case may become part of a backlog that will take years to clear.

Case management plans and orders help set the necessary deadlines for discovery, depositions, and mediation. You can schedule a case management conference for a virtual hearing.

Important websites we recommend monitoring:

For Criminal Cases:
You can access the court docket and your case information online by entering your case number or the defendant’s name and date of birth into the Miami-Dade County Criminal Justice Online System. Here are the links:
Click here -> Criminal Traffic for cases.
Click here -> Misdemeanor Crimes for cases.
Click here-> for Rules of Court for Remote Access Courtroom.


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