The Docket November 2020 - Page 17


Circuit Civil transitions to two divisions

By JUDGE ANDREA McHUGH 12th Judicial Circuit Court Judge — Civil Division

Due to the creation of the new

division “ Problem Solving
Courts ,” the Circuit Civil Division in Sarasota will be reduced to two divisions beginning January 1 , 2021 . In most cases , current Division E cases will be reassigned to Divisions A and C automatically by the clerk , effective January 1 , 2021 , as follows : cases ending in an even number will be assigned to Division A , Judge Stephen Walker ; and cases ending in an odd number will be assigned to Division C , Judge Andrea McHugh . No order of reassignment will be entered in these cases .
There will be a few cases that deviate from this assignment pattern . For instance , cases will be individually assigned to avoid conflicts , ensure companion cases are heard by the same judge , and equalize caseloads . In these cases , an order transferring division will be entered . These orders should be entered prior to your reading this Docket article . If you have not received a transfer
Judge Carroll rolled up his sleeves to stop the waterfall inside the courthouse after a pipe burst .
order , you may assume that the even / odd case number assignment methodology applies to the case .
Through the end of 2020 , Division E cases will still be heard by Judge Hunter Carroll , and hearings in 2020 should be scheduled before Judge Carroll . You may also start securing 2021 hearing time now , through the normal means of scheduling , in the division in which your case will be reassigned on January 1 , 2021 .
If you already have a trial scheduled in Division E in 2021 , please be mindful that the Pretrial Conference and Docket Sounding dates will remain the same ; however , the start times for those hearings will change .
Good news , UMC ’ s are back for 2021 !
In the spirit of the “ thankfulness ” theme of this month ’ s Docket , Judge Walker and I would like to express our gratitude to Judge Hunter Carroll , the Sarasota Circuit Civil Administrative Judge for the past two years . Judge Carroll ’ s leadership through the pandemic transition was extraordinary , and his dedication and teamwork can best be appreciated in the photo below .

Jury summoning — more art than science

Jury yield is a term used by all Clerks around the

state . Simply defined , it is the number of jurors available to serve from those that were summoned . Determining the right number to summon is more of an art than science .
The Court continues with pre-jury selection precautions . Health and safety protections are in place and prospective jurors are screened in accordance with the Supreme Court Administrative Order along with the Chief Judge ’ s Order . The following pre-screening and sanitizing continues : n Temperature Check – Each person entering the courthouse will receive a temperature check , and anyone with a temperature at or above
Karen E . Rushing Clerk of Court and County Comptroller
100.4 degrees will be denied entry . n Social Distancing – A distance of at least six feet must be maintained between all individuals in all areas of the courthouse . n Face Coverings – A face covering over the nose and mouth must be worn by everyone in the courthouse . n Screening Questions – Each person seeking entry into the courthouse will be asked health screening question to determine if entry into the courthouse will be authorized . The screening questions can be found on the 12th Judicial Court ’ s website .
n Cleaning Protocol and Barriers – Heightened cleaning protocols have been established to disinfect surfaces , and physical barriers are in place to support distancing . As we prepared for the first criminal jury trials in mid-September , there was a great deal of collaboration and planning with the Court and other stakeholders . What goes into selecting the exact number or prospective jurors to summon is a bit of an art without a pandemic , but Covid-19 continues to contribute to a great deal of uncertainty for many people . Typically , consideration is given to : n How many prospective jurors will be exempt by law ? n How many prospective jurors will be entitled to excusal by law ? n How many prospective jurors will request postponements ? n How many prospective jurors will fall ill on the report date ? n How many prospective jurors will simply not report as summoned ? n How many prospective jurors will be traveling , especially during holiday times ? n How many prospective jurors will be needed to meet the needs of the Court calendars ?
With all these variables , I am pleased to report that See CLERK , Page 18
The Docket · November 2020 17