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Felony case management procedures were developed in Lee County in January of 2008, with the intent to expand best practices to other counties to promote uniformity in practice throughout the 20th Judicial Circuit.  Procedures were established to improve predictability, efficiency and timely disposition of felony criminal cases in the circuit court and to ensure compliance with provisions and aims of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure.  Differentiated Case Management techniques allow courts to tailor the case flow process to the requirements of individual cases. The main concepts of Differentiated Case Management are: (1) Setting case tracks, based on criteria that determines the necessary case events and time goals (2) Enhanced organization of court events by using a Pretrial Scheduling Order (3) Close case monitoring to ensure that the case progresses in the most efficient manner

Prior to or at felony arraignment, the State Attorney’s Office assigns all new felony cases opened by the Clerk of Court a “track” designation. The ASA or Judge can assign standard track cases to an “early intervention docket”. Those cases not assigned an EID date are given a case management hearing date from felony arraignment. Prior to this CMC Hearing, the State Attorney’s Office agrees to provide the defense with a score sheet, discovery and plea offer.

At the case management conference, the Judge determines whether the court will accept an agreed upon plea offer. If no agreement is reached, the Judge sets time goals for any additional discovery and depositions. The Judge will set a plea date, a pretrial conference date or a trial date as the next court event.

Before the pretrial conference hearing, a pretrial officer will inquire from the prosecution and defense counsel if the time goals set by the Judge have been accomplished, will determine any causes for delay and will report such to the Judge. At the Pretrial Conference, the Judge will ensure that the case is progressing as scheduled. A plea can be accepted at this hearing, a plea date can be scheduled, a trial date can be scheduled approximately 30 to 60 days out or, or for those cases determined as complex by the Judge, an additional pretrial conference can be scheduled.

Since inception, the Court, the State Attorney, the Public Defender and the defense bar have collaborated with a view towards a just and efficient disposition of criminal cases.

» View the DCM Administrative Order 3.25


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