General Dependency Policies and Procedures
1. As the Florida Legislature has determined that time is of the essence in dependency cases and has required the courts to give priority to dependency cases over all but capital and speedy trial cases, registry attorneys are expected to give priority in scheduling to their dependency cases, and are expected to resolve calendar conflicts in favor of their dependency cases.
2. Registry attorneys throughout the Eighth Circuit are expected to be available for the regular dependency docket days in each county in which they accept appointment.
3. Registry attorneys for dependency cases in Alachua County are expected to be available on Thursday for the regular dependency docket. Additionally, registry attorneys are expected to be available on Tuesdays and Fridays as necessary for special dockets and adjudicatory hearings.
4. Registry attorneys for dependency cases in Alachua County are required to be available on a rotating basis to represent parents during shelter hearings as needed. Shelter hearings are normally conducted at 11:30 AM in courtroom 3D of the Alachua County Family and Civil Justice Center. A Master Calendar will be maintained by the dependency judge’s judicial assistant and each attorney on the registry will be assigned to certain days, on a rotating basis. Appearance at the shelter hearing does not guarantee appointment to represent the parent. If the parent qualifies for court appointed counsel through the registry, the case will be assigned in accordance with the registry list.
Telephonic Appearance Procedures
1. To request a telephone appearance for a hearing, please email the request to Candace Thomas, as well as to the attorneys for all parties.
2. All requests for telephone appearance must be received by Wednesday at noon for the regular Thursday dependency dockets in Alachua County, and must be received at least 24 hours in advance of any other hearings. All requests for telephone appearance must include the telephone number at which the party can be reached at the time of the hearing, the full name of the party, case number, and time/date of hearing.
3. If the request for telephone appearance is granted, you will be notified by email. The Clerk of the Court will call the party from the courtroom during the hearing for the telephone appearance. The caller ID for the courtroom phone will indicate “unknown caller”, so please inform the party to expect a call with this designation at or near the time scheduled for the hearing.
4. If the request is for an attorney to appear by telephone, please indicate in the email the reason for the request, and please indicate whether the client is aware of the request and has consented to the attorney appearing by telephone. Requests for attorneys to appear by telephone will be granted in emergency circumstances only; attorneys will not be permitted to appear by telephone due to routine calendar conflicts or travel issues.
5. If the request is for a parent to appear by telephone, please indicate the reason for the request, such as the parent being incarcerated at a distant facility or the parent residing in another state.
6. If telephone appearance for an upcoming hearing was already authorized in a previous order, please indicate this in the email, and please provide the telephone number at which the party can be contacted during the upcoming hearing.