Community Court continues to help the homeless overcome their obstacles, recently helping two with cancer obtain treatment, complete community service and graduate!

County Court Jurisdiction Changes

On January 1, 2020, changes in Florida state law and the Florida Rules of Procedure will go into effect, changing where a variety of court actions are heard.

  • County court jurisdictional thresholds increase to $30,000 on January 1, 2020.
  • Small claims cases as of January 1, 2020, will include amounts in dispute up to $8,000.
  • Filers will be required to include a civil cover sheet specifying the dollar amount in dispute in cases exceeding $8,000 in value.
  • The new law maintains current rules that limit the provision of subsidized court mediation services to county court cases with an amount in controversy up to $15,000.
  • State law provides that on January 1, 2020, appeals of county court orders or judgments with an amount in controversy greater than $15,000 will be heard by the district courts of appeal until January 1, 2023, when the provision repeals.

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Fifty-seven children were adopted into thirty loving families in Broward County on Saturday, November 23, 2019, as the Seventeenth Circuit held its 17th annual adoption day event in the downtown Fort Lauderdale courthouse.
Several agencies and staff collaborated to make this program a success, once again. Twelve judges were on-hand to finalize the adoptions throughout the day. Those participating were: Judge Bowman, Chief Judge Tuter, Judge Bristol, Judge Izquierdo, Judge Gundersen, Judge Schulman, Judge Gamm, Judge Porth, Judge Levenson, Judge Phillips, Judge Olefson and Judge Feld.
Congratulations to everyone who participated and to the many families that adopted a child!

Last Friday, the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit and the Broward County Bar Association hosted its annual New Attorney Orientation at the central courthouse. The new attorneys were able to hear from a panel of judges, each representing a different division, about what to expect as an attorney, and what’s expected of them by the judiciary. After the panel discussion, the group got a tour of the judicial complex.

This morning, representatives from two of the three branches of government met at the central courthouse in downtown Fort Lauderdale to discuss legislative issues and priorities over coffee and light breakfast. Several senators, house representatives, and legislative aides sat down with members of the 17th Circuit judiciary for a casual dialogue about initiatives, priorities and updates. A special thanks to the Broward Legislative Delegation for their involvement in this event.

The Twelfth Unified Family Court Summit took place November 15, 2019 in the Jury Room of the Main Judicial Complex. Over 250 people registered for the Summit, titled Child and Elder Abuse. The morning speaker, Patricia Dailey Lewis, Executive Director of the Beau Biden Foundation, is internationally known for training in the area of child abuse. The presentation included the Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children training and information pertaining to grooming and vulnerable children. The afternoon speakers’ focus was regarding abuse of adults –  specifically neglect, exploitation and the elderly.  Presentations included Eldercaring Coordination, Elder Mediation, and the Mandatory Reporting Process.

Thank you to all the participants and attendees!

Last week during a jury trial recess, Judge Frink left the bench to chat with some visiting students in his courtroom. Teens in the Introduction to Law class at Fischer High School at David Posnack Hebrew Day Schools were touring the central courthouse and stopped in to observe a slip and fall jury trial. When court recessed close to lunch time, Judge Frink came over to talk with the students and answer their questions about the legal profession and the judiciary.

Judge Robert Diaz hosted his 61st Nova Street Law Mock Trial this past weekend in the central courthouse. Lawyers and judges volunteered their time on Saturday for the event with more than 300 middle and high school student participants. Twice a year the Street Law Mock Trial is held to help give the students a chance to be trial lawyers. Thank you to everyone who participated!

The Broward Bar Young Lawyers Section, along with Judge Navarro and Judge Diaz, joined “Read for the Record” at Stephen Foster Elementary School last week. They read a book to first graders and kindergarten classes. The same book was read to students all over the United States on the same day.