Overview

The First Judicial Circuit is comprised of Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton Counties.  Each judicial circuit has a Chief Judge who is responsible for the administration of the court.  The First Judicial Circuit’s Chief Judge is the Honorable Linda L. Nobles.  Robin M. Wright serves as the First Circuit’s Trial Court Administrator.  
     
The circuit court is Florida's trial court of general jurisdiction. Each of the state's 20 judicial circuits incorporates one or more counties. Circuit courts have exclusive original jurisdiction in all of the following: actions in which the matter in controversy exceeds $15,000, exclusive of interest and costs; proceedings relating to the settlement of estates; guardianship; involuntary hospitalization; determination of incapacity; and other matters concerning court of probate; in all cases in equity including all cases relating to juveniles except traffic offenses. In criminal matters, the circuit courts have original jurisdiction in all felonies and in all misdemeanors arising out of the same circumstances as a felony that is concurrently charged. Also, circuit courts preside over all cases involving the legality of tax assessment, in the actions of ejectment, in all actions involving the titles or boundaries or rights of possession of real property, and in other actions not heard by county court. Family cases such as dissolution of marriage, child custody, visitation, domestic violence, and juvenile dependency cases are all heard in the Circuit Court.
 
The circuit court handles appeals from the county court except those appeals that may be taken to the district court of appeal.  Twelve circuit judges are assigned in Escambia County, six circuit judges are assigned in Okaloosa County, four circuit judges are assigned in Santa Rosa County and two circuit judges are assigned in Walton County.
 
The county courts are Florida's trial court of limited jurisdiction. There is a county court in each of the 67 counties with the county boundaries serving as the territorial jurisdiction.
 
County courts have original jurisdiction in all criminal misdemeanor cases where there is not a concurrent felony, and in all violations of municipal and county ordinances. In civil matters, county courts have original jurisdiction in all actions of law in which the matter in controversy does not exceed the sum of $15,000, exclusive of interest and costs, and which is not within the exclusive jurisdiction of the circuit courts. County court judges also serve as committing magistrates. There are five county judges in Escambia County, three county judges in Okaloosa County, two county judges in Santa Rosa County and one county judge in Walton County.