Courts in South Florida have been effectively closed since mid-March of this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic.
Right now, Courts in Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and Palm Beach County are operating as follows:
1) Miami-Dade County is beginning to hold Zoom hearings in regular divisions, for matters such as calendar calls (soundings) and pleas. Emergency matters and first appearances are still being held virtually.
2) Broward County has been holding virtual Zoom hearings for some time now. First appearances and emergency matters are being held as well, with regular division matters, such as calendar calls and pleas, being held via Zoom. Attorneys and defendants will be noticed by mail for these hearings.
3) Palm Beach County has resumed more in-court operations than Miami-Dade and Broward, There are more in-court hearings, such as pleas and case disposition hearings being held live, as opposed to Zoom. However, Attorneys and Defendants may still be able to appear via Zoom if they choose.
Jury trials do not look like they are resuming in the foreseeable future. It is possible that criminal jury trials will not resume until 2021.
Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney serving Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach.