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Coronavirus changing Miami-Dade court proceedings, jail visits

Court wants to minimize people in courtrooms; many hearings will be remote

MIAMI, Fla. – The Miami-Dade court system is not shutting down in the wake of COVID-19, but it is going remote wherever it can. The court wants to minimize the appearance of people in the courtroom and limit transportation of inmates and juveniles to courts.

Miami-Dade County public defender Carlos J. Martinez said that his staff would not be working at the jail. “They will be working out of the courthouse or out of my office,” he said.

Family members will not be allowed to visit inmates at the Miami-Dade County Jail. Dan Junior, Miami-Dade Corrections Director said that the jail is also being sanitized in order to prevent an outbreak.

“There are no confirmed COVID-19 cases within our jail facilities,” said Junior at a press conference on Friday. Local 10 asked if any of the inmates had been tested for coronavirus. Junior said that no inmates have been tested.

“Miami-Dade is a strong resilient community and we have faced the potential of devastating hurricanes of the past and we’ve come through all of that. Now we’re preparing for a potential storm of a different type,” said Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Miami-Dade State Attorney, during a press conference Friday.

In civil matters, the court is moving to as many remote or telephonic hearings in as possible. This includes family, circuit civil, county civil and probate cases. The order begins Monday, March 16, for a period of two weeks ending on March 30.

For criminal, dependency, domestic violence cases, Baker Acts and Marchman hearings, the following procedures apply:

Felony Criminal and Misdemeanor Criminal: Bond hearings will continue as they normally do. Arraignment hearings will be heard but the defendant’s presence is not necessary. If the defendant does not appear and there is no written plea, the case will be reset to a future date. Emergency hearings will be scheduled as needed.

Traffic: There will be no appearances at pre-trial conferences, they will be re-set to a future date.

Domestic Violence: Civil Injunction (restraining order) hearings will continue. For criminal domestic violence cases, bond hearings will continue as they normally do. Arraignment hearings will be heard but the defendant’s presence is not necessary. If the defendant does not appear and there is no written plea, the case will be reset to a future date. Emergency hearings will be scheduled as needed

Delinquency: Detention hearings will be handled remotely. Arraignment hearings will be heard but the defendant’s presence is not necessary. If the defendant does not appear and there is no written plea, the case will be reset to a future date. Emergency hearings will be scheduled as needed. Telephonic/remote hearings will be held as needed.

Dependency: Shelter hearings will take place as they normally do. Emergency hearings will be scheduled as needed. Telephonic/remote hearings will be held as needed.

Baker Acts and Marchman Act hearings will proceed as usual.

Information at www.jud11.flcourts.org and social media @miamidadecourts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


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