Judge Chris Patterson, Chief Judge of the 14th Judicial Circuit, which includes Gulf County, announced Tuesday that all court operations would take place electronically.
While courthouses in the circuit are open and operating, many, as in Gulf County, are closed to the public in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Until further notice, Patterson had ordered the following policies implemented.
• Until further order, all in-person hearings have been suspended.
• Until further order, all jury trials and grand jury proceedings are suspended. Some noncritical proceedings that cannot be done telephonically or by video are suspended and continued.
• A circuit-wide moratorium is imposed on in-person foreclosure sales.
• A circuit-wide moratorium is imposed on the service of writs of possession.
• All judges in the circuit are designated as juvenile judges along with their regular duties to ensure the prompt disposition of juvenile detention matters.
• For at-risk children, the Court has adopted a policy of electronic parent-child visitations in keeping with Florida law.
• For individuals ordered into State-mandated counseling, all in-person counseling is suspended, and counseling shall continue utilizing electronic means.
The Court is continuing to seek new technologies to allow for greater access to the court and to permit the rescheduling of non-critical proceedings.
The Fourteenth Judicial Circuit provides timely updates to its website at www.jud14.flcourts.org, Twitter @14THJUDFL, and Instagram @14THJUDFL to keep the community informed.