Kerra A. Smith

Type: 
County Judge
County: 
Escambia County
Division: 
II
Judicial Assistant: 
Angela Fountain
Address: 

M.C. Blanchard Judicial Building
190 Governmental Center
Pensacola, FL 32502

Phone: 
850-595-4430

Divisional Email Address: 


DIVISION PREFERENCES

GENERAL INFORMATION

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. Judicial Assistants may assist with procedural and scheduling inquiries only.

SUBMITTING MOTIONS AND SCHEDULING HEARINGS

Any matter to be considered by the Court should be in the form of a motion filed with the Clerk of Court. Copies should be provided to all parties of record and to the Court by email to . The moving party is responsible for coordinating a hearing with opposing counsel and the Court after the motion has been copied to all the parties. Merely filing a motion will not bring the matter before the Court. 

Moving counsel should contact the Judge's office and request available hearing dates. Counsel should be prepared to provide the style of the case and case number, the type of hearing to be scheduled, the names of the attorneys involved, and the amount of time that will be needed for the hearing. If a hearing needs to be set before or after a specific date, please indicate this before dates are offered. After a hearing date has been coordinated with all parties, the moving party should notify the Judge's Office so that the hearing can be placed on the Court's calendar.  Please do not rely upon leaving a voicemail or sending an email to secure a hearing date as the particular time may no longer be available. A hearing date is not finalized until confirmation is received from the Court's Judicial Assistant.     

Generally, the Court has two hearing dates designated for criminal motions during each trial cycle. Motions that require witness testimony will 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 24 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 counsel states within the motion that the parties have conferred and agree to the entry of the order, or if opposing counsel indicates approval by initialing the proposed order.

HEARING CANCELLATIONS

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. Written Notice of Cancellation or Notice Withdrawing the Motion will be necessary and may be sent via email to Angela.Fountain@flcourts1.gov.

SUBMITTING PROPOSED ORDERS

Effective January 1, 2015, the Escambia County Clerk will no longer accept proposed orders through the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal.  Proposed orders on stipulated or unopposed motions, and time-sensitive matters, should be submitted to the Judge's office via the divisional email address  in Microsoft Word format.   If a hearing is required on a Motion, proposed orders should not be provided prior to the hearing.

RESETTING COURT DATES

Any request to reset an arraignment date or traffic appearance must be in writing accompanied by documentation supporting the reason for the request. Requests and supporting documents may be emailed to  or faxed.  Faxes exceeding ten (10) pages should not be sent without prior approval from the Judge's office.  After review, the requesting party will be contacted with a decision. 

If a case has been set for plea day, a jury or judge trial, or a hearing on a motion, a 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 or not the parties have an objection to the request.  Motions to Continue should be filed at least two days prior to the scheduled date and be accompanied by a Proposed Order.  The Proposed Order should contain the correct reset dates.  

Any party requesting a reset or continuance in advance of the scheduled date should plan to appear in Court unless or until the Judge's office provides confirmation that the matter has been reset or continued.

WAIVERS OF APPEARANCE

Any request to waive an appearance of the Defendant should be in writing and submitted at least two days prior to the scheduled hearing date.

PRETRIAL CONFERENCES

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 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 or her attorney, unless the warrant is set aside for sufficient reason, as determined by the Judge.  Any request to set aside a warrant should be made in the form of Motion filed with the Clerk of the Court and copied to opposing counsel.