County Court Courier
Volume 3, Number 9
Conference of County Court
Judges of Florida
Room 209, Old Court House,
324 S. Ft. Harrison Avenue
Clearwater, FL 34616
Message from the President, Judge Hubert Grimes
Articles,Humor,& Upcoming Events
Message from the
by Judge Hugh Grimes
As the first installment of the
president's corner, I find it fitting to share excerpts of my
swearing in message given at the Annual Business Meeting in Key
Largo on July 25th. A great portion of the credit for the success
which the conference has achieved in the last two years is
directly attributable to the leadership of outgoing president,
Bob Zack. He has done a wonderful job and I pray I will be able
to continue with similar and even greater success while building
on the foundation he has left. His wife, Carol, has been a
tremendous "help mate" and supporter for Bob and
deserves a warm applause for her patience and support during his
tenure as Conference President.
I wish to point out the three
hallmarks of my anticipated tenure as President -Education,
Fairness and Leadership. As a Conference, we exist primarily
as a vehicle for educating both our membership and those persons
and entities who assist us in performing the jobs for which we
have been elected back home. We will continue to pursue high
quality educational programs for the Conference and work to
expand our offerings where appropriate, both within the existing
structure and through programs offered by the state court system.
In carrying out our jobs back
home and in operating this conference, we must always be
concerned that persons appearing before us not only be treated
fairly, but that they can leave our courtrooms with the
perception that they were treated fairly whether they win or
lose. We must continue to emphasize the highest ideals of
fairness and professionalism in accordance with the oaths we took
In providing leadership, we must
never forget the canon that instructs us of our responsibility to
improve the administration of justice. Unfortunately, too many of
us see our jobs of judging as only moving cases along. However,
each of us have talents that far exceed judging - whether it be
teaching a youngster or colleague or putting a new idea together
which will steer people away from crime and into becoming
productive members of society. Leadership provides ideas as to
how we can make our communities better than they were when we
arrived on the bench. We have a duty to create programs and
promote ideas which will enhance the administration of justice
and serve our communities to the best of our abilities.
My leg of this relay is to
encourage, motivate, and coordinate the overall efforts. The
success of this leg of the race is dependent on both you and I
working together for the mutual goals of the conference.
Each of us as judges have worked
hard and have been fortunate to occupy our respective positions.
It took hard work plus something more. None of us should ever
forget that even as there are many of you who could perform this
job as Conference President, there are many persons who have the
intelligence to do the job of a County Judge and would jump at
the opportunity. Therefore, we should never take the attitude of
arrogance or cynicism concerning the challenge of our jobs or the
system of which we are a part.
I truly believe that our
challenge is to recognize our task and the public we serve and
not become cynical towards the people or the process. Be
encouraged so that you may encourage, be strong that you may
survive, be at peace that peace may always be with you, stay
healthy that your tenure may be long and prosperous. Together we
can make a difference through fairness, education and leadership.
by Judge R. Earl Collins, Chair
The Conference Committee met at
11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 24, 1996, at the Ocean Reef Club,
Key Largo, FL. Approximately 17 persons were in attendance and
the following discussions and recommendations transpired.
(1) The following meetings have been scheduled and approved:
Fall Workshop - Oct. 30 - Nov. 1, 1996, Sarasota, FL.
Winter Educational Conference - Jan. 15-18, 1997, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.
Summer Conference - July
9-12, 1997, Naples, FL.
(2) Proposed Spring Workshop in
Tallahassee, FL., April 23-25, 1997. This proposal was later
approved and a cocktail reception has been scheduled on April
23rd for the House, Senate, Supreme Court, and other guests. More
1. The Conference Committee has been divided into committees, such as: Bulletin Board, Security, Summer Banquet/Entertainment, Children's Program, Exhibitors, etc.
2. Recommendation to eliminate the Winter banquet later approved at the Executive Board Meeting.
3. Recommended that coffee/drink breaks display notices that morning and afternoon drink breaks are for REGISTERED JUDGES ONLY. No spouses! No children!
Liaison Committee Report
by Judge Judy Goldman, Chair
The Committee meeting focused on
J.A. educational opportunities and the great need for
reimbursement in many counties. Upon Committee motion, the
Executive Board adopted a formal position supporting all J.A.'s
receiving reimbursement for educational conferences to the extent
possible; and, at the very least, that reimbursement be provided
for substantial representation from all counties. Conference
President Grimes will relay our position to all Chief Judges.
JAAF President Linda Maina
addressed the Committee regarding increasing sick pay and annual
leave time consistent with State Attorney offices throughout the
State. An update will be provided at the Fall Board Meeting.
Civil Rules Committee
by Judge Ronn Legendre, Chair
The committee discussed the proposed increase in the jurisdictional amount for Small Claims Court from $2,500 to $5,000. The Florida Supreme Court has heard oral argument on this issue and will issue an opinion. The Florida Bar Board of Governors voted for the increase without considering any committee reports. The Florida Bar Small Claims Committee had opposed the increases.
The committee heard a report
from the June meeting of the Fla. Bar Civil Rules Committee as
a. A rule change was discussed to determine whether a Motion For Protective Order is an automatic stay.
b. The new rule regarding service of process by mail.
c. Changes in replevin forms.
d. New Eviction Summons. The supreme court requested Spanish and Creole translations.
e. Drafting a form for final judgment of replevin.
of lawyers advising a witness not to answer at deposition.
The committee was reminded to
use final judgment forms that permit post judgment interest on
The committee discussed awarding
a contract interest rate on final judgments instead of the
Comptroller's rate. The committee also discussed the amounts of
attorney's fees awarded by judges around the state in evictions
and condo lien foreclosures.
Sentencing Committee Report
by Olin W. Shinholser, Chair
The sentencing committee met on
July 24, 1996. The committee discussed various new laws pertinent
to sentencing including the new statutes on battery, DUI and
public defender appointment. Committee members have been asked to
bring with them to the fall board meeting copies of any
administrative orders, documents or other items that will be
utilized in their respective circuits for implementation of the
new public defender appointment/assessment statute. All members
of the conference are requested to submit to the sentencing chair
copies of any information pertinent to the implementation of the
new statute. The committee will then disseminate the information
to members of the conference.
The committee noted that the DUI impoundment
statute has been declared unconstitutional by the Second District
Court of Appeal.
by Judge Aymer L. "Buck" Curtin, Chair
The Criminal Rules Committee met
on Thursday, July 24, 1996 with eight (8) members in attendance.
The increased use of video
technology was again discussed. The Court Technology User
Committee has been studying/developing technology and will
address policy issues that need to be established in order to
implement the available technologies. The Judicial Management
Council is also addressing emergency technologies in long range
planning for the Courts.
Judge Venzer, Dade County and
Judge White, Escambia County, have agreed to draft two different
proposals dealing with Juvenile Criminal Traffic offenses. One
proposal will deal with consolidating criminal traffic offenses
involving juveniles with any of the misdemeanor/felony offenses
arising out of the same transaction. The second proposal will be
more comprehensive. Any judge having an interest in assisting
with this effort is encouraged to contact Judge Venzer and Judge
White. The proposals will be considered at the Board Meeting in
Sarasota in October.
There being no further business
the meeting was adjourned.
by Judge Terry P. Lewis, Chair
The Education Committee meeting
was well attended on July 23rd in Key Largo, Florida. The
Committee approved a tentative schedule for Winter 1997
Conference Education Program. There will be plenary sessions
Wednesday afternoon on Civil Law Update, Americans With
Disability Act, and Criminal Law Update. Thursday's program will
contain three tracks for most of the day, including a criminal
track of criminal law review, probation, civil courses on jury
trial issues, discovery violations, consumer issues and domestic
relations, and a course on professionalism. Friday's session will
be plenary with a course on pro-active community relations for
Our Subcommittee on materials
continues its work on a uniform bench book for county judges.
Progress is slow, but steady, as would be expected on this
project. If you would like to contribute with this project,
please get in touch with Judge Beth Bloom of Dade County.
Traffic Court Rules
by Judge Brian P. Kay, Chair
The traffic court rules
committee met on July 24, 1996. A discussion occurred concerning
various new statutes as well as proposed rule changes. No formal
action was taken nor were any recommendations made to the board.
Trial Court Selection
by Judge G. J. Roark, III, Chair
The Trial Court Selection
Committee met on July 24 at the summer conference. After a review
of the history of the committee and the current status of the
issues the committee was created to address, its members
unanimously decided to recommend placement on an inactive status
pending further activity. This committee was created as an
advisory body, and its existence is not mandated by the bylaws.
The chair wants to thank all of
those who spent time researching single member district
litigation and single tier court systems, and who worked
tirelessly on the issues of merit selection and retention.
Hopefully this work will have some impact on these issues in the
Claims Committee Report
by Judge Tom
B. Freeman, Chair
The meeting was held on Tuesday,
July 23, 1996 at the County Judge's Conference in Key Largo at
the Ocean Reef Resort.
The Committee discussed the
recent efforts to change the jurisdictional limits in Small
Claims litigation. The general feeling of the members is that
they are not in favor of an increase to the jurisdictional limit.
The Committee also discussed the
supplemental procedures involved in collection procedures and the
fact that they are becoming increasingly time consuming.
Should you have any matters to
be considered before the Committee please contact me at my
Management Long Range Planning Committee Report
by Judge Peter D. Blanc, Chair
The Long Range Strategic
Planning Committee met for a two hour session on July 23, 1996.
The goals for the meeting were three-fold. First, the committee
finalized a Draft Vision Statement for the Conference. Second,
the committee attempted to clearly and specifically identify
strategic issues impacting our Conference. Those issues were then
divided into internal and external categories. Internal issues
relate to our Conference's ability to provide services to its
members while external issues focus on our Conference's
relationship with other stakeholders. Finally, the committee
attempted to identify the objectives of the Conference in
relation to each of the strategic issues.
The proposed vision statement
which will be presented to the Board of Directors as part of the
comprehensive Long Range Strategic Plan is as follows:
THE CONFERENCE WILL EXIST FOR AND SERVE THE
FLORIDA JUDICIARY, CREATING A UNIFIED ORGANIZATION
WHICH FAIRLY AND EFFECTIVELY REPRESENTS THE INTEREST
AND NEEDS OF ALL JUDGES IN THIS STATE, WITH THE GOAL
OF ENHANCING AND IMPROVING THE EFFECTIVENESS
OF THE FLORIDA
The Conference identified three primary internal strategic issues. They are:
1. The involvement of Conference members.
2. The diversity of Conference membership.
3. The expectations of Conference members.
A variety of objectives which
are encompassed by these strategic issues were identified and
will be incorporated into the final draft of the Long Range Plan.
Three primary external strategic issues were also identified. The external strategic issues are:
1. Effective input into the statewide Judicial Management Council's Long Range Strategic Plan.
2. Our Conference's relationship with others (i.e. other conferences, the Bar, the Public, the Supreme Court, the Legislature).
3. Professionalism and public
Again a variety of objectives
encompassing these strategic issues were identified and will be
encompassed in a Long Range Strategic Plan.
The next step for the committee
is to specifically identify all objectives necessary to properly
address these strategic issues and to then identify the specific
tasks that should be undertaken in order to reach each of the
objectives. If kept on track, the Long Range Plan should be ready
for presentation to the Board of Directors at the Winter
Conference and to the general membership immediately thereafter.
Anyone with comments, constructive criticism, or suggestions
related to the Long Range Strategic Plan may contact Palm Beach
County Judge Peter D. Blanc at the Palm Beach County Courthouse,
205 N. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach, FL 33401, or any other
member of the committee. Work continues.
THE MINUTES OF THE SUMMER EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETING WILL BE DISTRIBUTED AT THE FALL
"BUILDING BRIDGES TO THE FUTURE" FLORIDA CHAPTER NBA 1996-1997
by V. Lynn Whitfield, President
CHAPTER NATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION
An old man traveling a lone highway,
Came one evening cold and gray,
To a River deep and dark and wide,
Because there was no bridge at the other side
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream was really no trial for him;
And when he reached the other side,
He built a bridge
to span the tide.
"Old man," said one man standing near,
"You waste your time building here,
You'll never come this way again,
Why build this
bridge out here, my Friend?"
The builder lifted his old gray head,
And to the cynic he thoughtfully said,
"On the path I safely trod today,
There follows a youth who must come this way,
This sullen stream which was no trial for me,
To that care-free youth a pitfall may be,
While I'll never pass this way again
I build this
bridge for him, my friend."
MARITAL DISCORD AND ITS EFFECT ON THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE
The following dialogue is
reported to have occurred when a Washington State Patrol Trooper
pulled over a car near Marysville.
DRIVER: What's the problem, officer?
TROOPER: Do you know how fast you were
DRIVER: 55 MPH (The speed limit)
TROOPER: I clocked you at 68 MPH.
DRIVER: You couldn't have. I've been
going 55 MPH for the last
several miles. I know because I was watching the speedometer.
Whereupon, the DRIVER'S
WIFE pipes up:
WIFE: That's not true. You know very well you've been speeding for miles.
TROOPER: And sir, you're not wearing your seat belt.
DRIVER: I was wearing it when I was driving. I just unfastened it to get my driver's license out of my pocket.
WIFE: That's not true. You know very well you haven't had that seat belt on since we left home.
TROOPER: Ma'am, does he always lie like that?
WIFE: Oh, no sir! Just when he's
been drinking excessively.
People Say The Darndest Things In Court
by Karl Grube, County Judge
In the course of teaching at the National
Judicial College during the past 14 years, I have had the
pleasure of meeting hundreds of judges from many jurisdictions,
both foreign and domestic. Several of these judges have been kind
enough to supply me with excerpts of courtroom dialogue that they
had the foresight to preserve. I am pleased to present the two
which follow. In offering these excerpts it is not my intention
to offend anyone or diminish the seriousness of any court
proceedings. None of the incidents portrayed occurred within the
jurisdiction of the State of Florida.
Defendant's Motion for
DEFENDANT Judge, I want you to
appoint me another lawyer.
THE COURT And why is that?
DEFENDANT Because the P.D.
isn't interested in my case.
THE COURT (to public defender)
Do you have any comments on defendant's motion?
PUBLIC DEFENDER I'm sorry your
honor, I wasn't listening.
The Wrong Voir Dire
COUNSEL Can you participate in
a case in which the ultimate result might be death by lethal
JUROR They do that up in
Huntsville, don't they? Yeah, I guess I could do it if it was on
COUNSEL And (next juror) you,
JUROR Yes, but, I think it's
COUNSEL And you, sir?
JUROR It should be left up to
the victims' families rather than the courts.
COUNSEL You know that my client
is charged with robbing a Seven-Eleven, tying up two employees
and shooting them both in the head as he fled. Now if the state
offers you evidence to prove these facts, would you--
JUROR He's gone!!!!!
Mark Your Calendars
Oct. 30 - Nov. 1, 1996,
Winter Educational Conference
Jan. 15-18, 1997,
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.
July 9-12, 1997,