M.C. Blanchard Judicial Building
190 Governmental Center, Sixth Floor Chambers
Pensacola, FL 32502
Effective January 1, 2015, the Escambia County Clerk of Court will no longer accept proposed orders through the Florida Court E-Filing Portal. All proposed orders must be submitted directly to the presiding judge, either by U.S. mail or e-mail (in MS Word format) at .
Judicial assistants are neither qualified nor able to provide legal advice to anyone.
Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.250 establishes as a presumptively reasonable time period for the completion of a felony case, 180 days (between arrest to final disposition). Rule 2.545 mandates that the trial judge take charge of all cases at an early stage in the litigation and control the progress of the case until the matter is determined. Further, a trial court must apply a firm continuance policy as continuances should be few and good cause required, per rule.
Accordingly, time is of the essence at any stage of the case. In considering any motion to continue, attention will be given to efforts made by either side to avoid the continuance such as setting and scheduling depositions well in advance of any future trial date, as well as conducting any investigation early on to avoid last-minute disclosure of witnesses. Trial counsel are encouraged to develop a discovery plan at the early stage of the case and take active measures to implement that entire plan, prior to seeking any necessary continuance.
Commencing January 1, 2019, Division A will no longer schedule VOP hearings on a contested and uncontested docket. Instead, all VOP hearings scheduled after arraignment shall be set for a contested hearing. Parties and counsel must be prepared for contested violation of probation hearings that are scheduled after arraignment. Counsel are encouraged to discuss with each other whether a matter will in fact be contested after arraignment but both sides should be prepared in the event an evidentiary hearing is required. If the continuance is necessary, such request should be brought to the attention of the court by way of motion prior to the hearing.
Counsel are encouraged to state within any motion, the position of opposing counsel to the relief sought.
Counsel are encouraged to provide detail and authority within the body of any motion. As a general observation, motions that contain sufficient detail and are well briefed and cited with legal authority may be more persuasive than those that are lacking.
This Court will schedule a pretrial conference pursuant to rule 3.220(o) upon request of either party.
For those matters in which a hearing is requested, counsel must email the Division A judicial assistant (and copy all other trial counsel or pro se parties where possible) and request a hearing for motions that have been filed and identify the amount of time necessary. The judicial assistant will provide available dates within which to choose. Counsel for all parties and pro se litigants should monitor their email and respond within a short reasonable time to those dates and times which do not present a conflict. If there is difficulty in establishing a mutually agreeable hearing date, any party may request that the court establish a hearing date on its own.
For any non-evidentiary motion for which a hearing is not required, this Court will consider taking up the motion without oral argument and establish a briefing schedule upon the request of any party.
Appearance of counsel by telephone is a convenience. It will be the responsibility of the attorney appearing by telephone to obtain consent and confirm the technical requirements to appear in that manner.
This court prefers to review pending motions and responses prior to the hearing. This avoids oral argument serving as primarily an educational function and instead, it promotes oral argument to address specific questions by the court and legal arguments raised by the other side. Moreover, opposing memorandums of law filed on the eve of a hearing are discouraged. In addition, the last moment filing of an opposing brief to a motion filed weeks or months ago may not be processed and therefore brought to the attention of the court for review prior to the hearing. Accordingly, and absent good cause, emergency motions, and where otherwise permitted by rule, any briefs and memoranda filed less than seven days prior to a hearing may not be considered. As a general rule, the strength of any legal argument should be able to withstand the test of time.