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Court Participants

In addition to the judges, depending on the type of case under consideration a number of other parties will participate in court proceedings.


Senior Judges

Senior judges are retired judges who serve on an "on call" basis to assist in the absence of another judge or with heavy dockets. Criteria set forth by the Florida Supreme Court must be met before a senior judge can be called to hear a case.

CURRENT 20TH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT SENIOR JUDGES

  • Hon. Franklin G. Baker
  • Hon. John W. Dommerich
  • Hon. William C. McIver
  • Hon. Daniel R. Monaco
  • Hon. Donald Pellecchia
  • Hon. Thomas Reese
  • Hon. James H. Seals
  • Hon. Hugh Starnes
  • Hon. Radford Sturgis
  • Hon. James R. Thompson

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General Magistrates

Attorneys who have been licensed to practice law for at least five years are appointed by the court to function as quasi-judicial officers. These individuals perform some judicial functions including; conducting trials, holding evidentiary hearings, perform complex case management, conduct Marchman and Baker Act hearings, and research legal issues.

CURRENT 20TH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT GENERAL MAGISTRATES

Charlotte County

  • Lisa S. Porter

Collier County

  • David Friedman
  • James McGarity
  • Amy Wilson

Lee County

  • Robert Crongeyer
  • Marianne Kantor
  • Steven Studybaker

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Hearing Officers

THE 20TH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT HEARING OFFICERS

Child Support

  • Sharon Kaskie

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Clerk of Courts

The Clerk of the Court is the official record keeper of court business. The supreme court, the district court of appeal and the circuit court each have a clerk's office which records and preserves all business of the court. Every county has a clerk of the court that files all official transactions of business for the county and circuit courts and is responsible for jury management. Examples of items filed in the clerk's office include traffic tickets, records of land transactions, marriage licenses, probation fees, and records of trial proceedings. The clerk of the circuit court is elected by the voters in each county for a four year term. The clerks of the supreme court and the district court of appeals are appointed by the members of the court they serve. Under the Florida Constitution, the clerk of the court is a constitutional officer and is aided by a staff of deputy clerks who assist the clerk and judges in the daily operation of the court.

CURRENT 20TH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT CLERK OF COURTS

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State Attorney

Each judicial circuit in Florida has a State Attorney who appears in circuit and county court representing the State in all suits, applications or motions, civil or criminal in which the State is a party. Typically this involves the prosecution of state law violations. The State Attorney in each circuit is a constitutional officer elected by the voters within the circuit for a four year term. To be eligible for election a candidate must be a member of the Florida Bar for at least five years prior to taking office. The State Attorney is empowered with the sole discretion to prosecute crimes and civil actions. This means that if the victim in a criminal matter wishes to "drop the charges," the prosecution may still proceed and even compel the victim to testify. State attorneys are supported by a staff of assistant state attorneys (who must be members of the Florida Bar), investigators and clerical personnel.

CURRENT 20TH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT STATE ATTORNEY

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Public Defender

There is an office of the public defender in each of the twenty judicial circuits in Florida. These offices represent indigent persons charged with crimes in county and circuit courts (misdemeanors and felonies). The State Constitution provides that the public defender is a constitutional officer and a member of the Florida Bar for at least five years. The public defender is elected by the voters within the circuit for a four year term. A public defender is appointed by the presiding judge to represent a defendant (person charged with a crime) at trial, after a determination has been made that the defendant is without funds to hire a private attorney. A defendant may be ordered by the court to pay the cost of the public defender. A lien may be placed on the defendant and their estate. The public defender is assisted by assistant public defenders (members of the Florida Bar), investigators, witness interviewers, and clerical personnel.

CURRENT 20TH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT PUBLIC DEFENDER

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Attorneys

Every attorney who practices law before a Florida court is required to be a member of the Florida Bar Association. The Florida Bar is comprised of persons who are admitted by the Florida Supreme Court to practice law in the state. Its purpose is to instill in its members the principles of duty and service to the public, to improve the administration of justice and the science of jurisprudence. Created by the Supreme Court, the Bar establishes rules for the practice of law and governs the practice of law in Florida. The range of items governed by the Bar is from admission requirements to disciplinary sanctions of attorneys. The primary manner the Bar uses to achieve its purpose is through education of its membership and the public. The Bar strives for better educated members to enhance the professionalism of services, while attempting to educate the public on legal rights and protect the public from unscrupulous members of the Bar. For more information about the Florida Bar, please call or write:

The Florida Bar
The Florida Bar Center
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Phone: 850-561-5600

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Staff Attorneys

Staff attorneys assist judges and work solely for the court. Communications between staff attorneys and judges are confidential pursuant to Florida Rules of Judicial Administration 2.420. Staff attorneys are not available to the public, and are prohibited by the rules of ethics from offering legal advice to members of the public or from engaging in any form of ex parte communication with parties to pending actions.

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Bailiffs

Bailiffs are responsible for security within the courtroom, maintaining order in the courtroom, sequestering the jury, securing evidence during a trial, and calling court to order.

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