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Differentiated case management procedures were developed in Lee County in 2008. The 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 Procedures. Techniques allow for management of cases according to their nature and complexity with early disposition of appropriate cases to allow for individual judge management on more complex cases. The Case Management Unit provides direct support to the judiciary presiding over felony cases.

Pretrial officers/case managers assist the court in facilitating case progression by:

  1. Monitoring case processing time goals and standards.
  2. Communicating to stakeholders a heightened awareness of particular statutes.
  3. Ensuring representation of counsel.
  4. Tracking case events while coordinating scheduling for motions, grouping appropriate cases together and consolidating pending cases for same defendants.
  5. Ensuring a manageable number of cases are scheduled for each court session.

There are five circuit judges assigned to the felony division, resulting in a five week rotation schedule, as follows:
Week 1- Case management Week- Arraignments, Case Management and Pretrial Conferences
Week 2- Motions Week
Weeks 3, 4 and 5: Trial Call/Trial Week 1, 2 and Complex Trial Week

Division Information:
Division D - Honorable Robert Branning
Case Manager- Pretrial Officer Alison Smith,

Division E - Honorable Bruce Kyle
Case Manager- Team Lead Candy Caughey,

Division F - Honorable Nicholas Thompson
Case Manager- Pretrial Officer Frank Kanaski,

Division R - Honorable J. Frank Porter
Case Manager- Pretrial Officer Kimali Ryan,

Division S - Honorable Margaret Steinbeck
Case Manager, Pretrial Officer Destini Turner,

Tracks and Time Goals:
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. Below is a graph to understand the track flow process in all Felony Criminal Cases.

Case Flow Process

To help better understand, below is a graph to illustrate the process of a criminal case and what to expect at the various hearings:

Key Terms:

Early Resolution Court (ERC) - This docket is used for the quick disposition of many 3rd degree felonies. The ERC calendar is held twice monthly and presided over currently by a Senior Judge, the Honorable Hugh Starnes. The State Attorney's Office (SAO) refers cases to the ERC calendar based on the charge as well as the defendant's criminal record. This docket was developed to help the regular felony track judges concentrate more time on cases seeing motions and trials rather than cases easily resolved with a plea at their first hearing. The ERC date provided at Arraignment is often earlier than the normal Case Management Conference (CMC) date that a defendant would be provided. Most cases on the ERC calendar resolve with either a plea to probation, Felony Diversion, PreTrial Intervention, jail time, or a nolle prosse.

Nolle Prosse/Nolle Prosequi/Nol Pros - A term used in reference to a formal entry upon the record made by a prosecutor in a criminal action in which that individual declares that he or she wishes to discontinue the action as to certain defendants, certain issues, or altogether. In Latin, nolle prosequi "we shall no longer prosecute".

Speedy Trial - In criminal prosecutions, the right of a defendant to demand a trial within a short time since to be held in jail without trial is a violation of the "due process" provision of the 5th Amendment (applied to the states by the 14th Amendment). Each state has a statute or constitutional provision limiting the time an accused person may be held before trial. In Florida, a person charged for a felony arrest, the law has set 175 days as a reasonable time for affording a speedy trial. Charges must be dismissed and the defendant released if the period expires without trial. However, defendants often waive the right to a speedy trial in order to prepare a stronger defense, and if the accused is free on bail he/she will not be hurt by the waiver.


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