M.C. Blanchard Judicial Building
190 Governmental Center, Sixth Floor
Pensacola, FL 32502
The Code of Judicial Conduct precludes judicial assistants from making substantive inquiries of the judge on behalf of any attorney or litigant involved in any action. The Code prohibits all judges from considering ex parte (one side only) communications.
Judicial Assistants are neither qualified nor able to provide legal advice to anyone. However, they are more than happy to assist with procedural and scheduling inquiries only.
Any issue to be considered by a judge should be in the form of a motion filed with the Clerk of Court with copies provided to all parties of record. It is the responsibility of the moving party to set the motion for hearing.
ALL PROPOSED ORDERS SHOULD BE IN MS WORD (.DOCX) FORMAT EMAILED TO THE JUDICIAL ASSISTANT ALONG WITH COURTESY COPY OF THE MOTION THAT HAS BEEN FILED.
Should you need to contact the Judge’s office, please send an email to her judicial assistant. You must copy the other party with any email you send to the Judge’s office. Please make sure to include your case number in the subject line of your email.
Pleadings filed without appropriate legal authority may be stricken or denied as facially insufficient.
In the interest of judicial economy and in order ensure communication between the parties, the Court expects responsive pleadings to be filed when opposing a properly noticed matter. If a hearing is set sixty (60) days or more out, the responsive pleading should be filed no later than two (2) weeks prior to the hearing. When a hearing is set more than thirty (30) days out, but less than sixty (60), the responsive pleading should be filed no later than (10) days prior to the hearing. If a hearing is set less than thirty (30) days out, a responsive pleading should be filed no later than five (5) days prior to the hearing. If an emergency hearing is set, or otherwise a hearing is set quickly by agreement of the parties, no written response is required, although appreciated. Failure to comply may result in sanctions.
PLEASE NOTE: ANYTHING FILED WITHIN ONE WEEK OF THE HEARING DATE SHOULD BE COURTESY COPIED TO THE JUDICIAL ASSISTANT.
All civil hearings will be held via Zoom videoconference until further notice, with exception of Civil Jury Trials.
Recording the proceeding is not allowed by anyone except the court reporter or the court.
To schedule a hearing, please send an email to the judicial assistant and copying all counsel of record in the following format: CASE NUMBER & TITLE IN THE SUBJECT LINE ONLY
The body of the email should include the following:
MOTION(S) TO BE HEARD
AMOUNT OF TIME REQUESTED
Hearing requests are processed in the order in which they are received. Once all parties have agreed and confirmed the date and time of the hearing with the judicial assistant, the party seeking the hearing is to prepare and file a Notice of Hearing. A hearing date is not finalized until confirmation is received from the Court’s Judicial Assistant. Once confirmed, the Judicial Assistant will provide the Zoom videoconference information, if applicable.
Case law for consideration at a motion hearing should be provided at least five (5) days prior to the scheduled hearing to the judicial assistant via email or hand delivery. If documents exceed twenty (20) pages, delivery must be via hand deliver to the judicial assistant.
The opponent on any motion set for a hearing shall file a written response, including any legal authority the opponent intends to rely upon, with the Court no later than two (2) business days prior to the hearing.
No additional motions should be added to the existing hearing time without first coordinating this request with the judicial assistant and other counsel/parties.
If it is determined that a scheduled hearing is no longer necessary, please notify the Judicial Assistant immediately via email. A Notice of Cancellation must be e-filed, and a courtesy copy should be emailed to the judicial assistant.
All proposed orders/judgments must be in Microsoft Word format and emailed to the judicial assistant.
If an attorney or the Defendant requests that the original date be reset for good cause, the date may be moved within the same week. Any requests to reset an arraignment date or traffic appearance outside of the original Arraignment week must be submitted in writing accompanied by documentation supporting the reason for the request, with copies provided to the State Attorney. Requests and supporting documents may be emailed to the Judicial Assistant. After review, the requesting party will be contacted with a decision.
PLEA DAY/MOTIONS TO CONTINUE
If a case has been set for Plea Day, a jury or judge trial, or a hearing on a motion, written Motion to Continue will be required in order to continue the proceeding in advance of the scheduled court date and avoid the parties being required to appear in Court. The Motion should contain a statement that the moving party has consulted with the parties of record and state whether the parties have an objection to the request. Motions to Continue should be filed at least two (2) business days prior to the scheduled court date and be accompanied by proposed order. The proposed order should contain the correct reset dates.
WRITTEN WAIVERS OF APPEARANCE
The Court will waive appearance of Defendant for Plea Day if a Notice of Written Waiver of Appearance is signed by the Defendant and e-filed through the Florida E-Portal at least three (3) days prior to Plea Day. Waivers of Appearance will not be allowed for Final Plea Days.
SUBMITTING MOTIONS AND SCHEDULING HEARINGS
Any matter to be considered by the Court should be in the form of a motion and e-filed through the Florida E-Portal. The moving party is responsible for coordinating a hearing with opposing counsel and the Court after the motion has been e-filed and copied to all parties. Merely filing a motion will not bring the matter before the Court.
Moving counsel should e-mail the Judicial Assistant copying all counsel/parties involved on the case and request available hearing dates. The e-mail should include case number, style of the case, type of hearing to be scheduled, and the amount of time needed for the hearing. A hearing date is not finalized until confirmation is received from the Court’s Judicial Assistant.
Motions that require witness testimony will need to be scheduled no less than ten (10) days out to allow time for subpoena service. New motions may not be added onto hearings for previously scheduled motions in the same case unless this has been cleared with opposing counsel and the Court. The Court will not hear motions which have not been properly scheduled. Case law should be provided at least forty-eight (48) hours prior to a hearing on the motion. All pretrial motions should be heard prior to jury selection absent a showing of good cause.
A hearing may not be necessary if the motion is stipulated. These matters can be expedited if moving party states within the motion that the parties have conferred and agree to the entry of the order.
If a motion that has been set for hearing is to be withdrawn, conceded, or continued, the Judge’s office should be notified as soon as is practical. A Notice of Cancellation of Hearing or Notice Withdrawing the Motion should be e-filed through the Florida E-Portal with courtesy copy sent to the Judicial Assistant.
All proposed orders/judgments should be in MS Word (.doc) format and emailed to the judicial assistant.
Verification that proposed agreed orders are agreed to must be provided for all agreed orders submitted to the Court. Any agreed order submitted without the required verification will NOT be processed and verification will NOT be requested.
Pretrial conferences are scheduled through the Judge’s office upon request only. The party wishing to schedule a pretrial conference must contact the Judge’s Judicial Assistant via email for available dates and times and coordinate the conference with opposing counsel. The Defendant’s appearance is not mandatory, if waived in writing by the Defendant.
FAILURES TO APPEAR
All warrants issued for a Failure to Appear will remain outstanding until an appearance is made by the Defendant before the Court or via his/her attorney, unless the warrant is set aside or recalled for a sufficient reason, as determined by the Judge.
Pleas In Absentia
Attorneys must be present for Pleas in Absentia and an original fingerprint card is required to received prior to setting the plea in absentia on the court docket. The attorney or defendant may contact the Clerk of Court to confirm receipt of the fingerprint card prior to contacting the Judge’s office to have the case added on an active docket. All Pleas in Absentia must include a legal acknowledgment and waiver of all rights, degree of offense, name of offense, maximum sentence, agreed upon sentence (including if adjudication is withheld or not), and acknowledgement of Habitual Traffic Offender designations/requirements on qualifying offenses. If the negotiated sentence contains only fines and/or costs, and the payment is not rendered with the executed form, the form must include a date by which payment must be rendered and, if not complied with, acknowledgement the payment will be reduced to a civil judgment lien (non-traffic cases) or will suspend the defendant’s driver’s license (traffic related cases).
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INJUNCTIONS
Please contact the Domestic Violence Coordinators at (850) 595-4492 or (850) 595-4498 for all matters involving hearings on domestic violence, repeat violence, dating violence, sexual violence or stalking injunctions.