Office of the Chief Judge
Florida courts are comprised of 20 judicial circuits. The Seventeenth Judicial Circuit is the second largest judicial circuit in the State of Florida. Each circuit is administered by a Chief Judge who is elected by a majority of the judges in the circuit and serves for two-year terms. Chief Judge Jack Tuter was elected as the chief judicial officer of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit in 2017. The Chief Judge’s administrative responsibilities emanate from the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration.
All Chief Judges in the State report to the Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court regarding judicial administrative matters. The Chief Judge’s primary responsibility is for the efficient and proper administration of the circuit and county courts. The Chief Judge is responsible for implementing a plan for the prompt disposition of cases; assignment of judges, other court officers, and executive assistants; control of the dockets; regulation and use of courtrooms; mandatory periodic review of the status of inmates of the county jail; and, consideration of statistical data. The Chief Judge also enters administrative orders to properly direct the court’s day-to-day affairs and appoints committees to serve in an advisory capacity.
After retirement, judges may seek approval from the Supreme Court of Florida to serve as senior judges on temporary assignment to hear, conduct and try cases for the court. Senior judges of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit assist the judiciary by serving in judicial sections which are temporarily vacant, presiding over a variety of cases heard in the circuit and county courts, and temporarily help with special assignments to alleviate backlogs of dockets.
Magistrates and Hearing Officers
Magistrates and hearing officers are utilized in Florida’s courts to assist the judiciary in the effective and timely disposition of cases. All magistrates and hearing officers serve at the pleasure of the chief judge. Magistrates hear cases and make findings of fact and recommendations in a Magistrate’s Report to judges in the Family and Probate Court. Hearing Officers generally hear child support matters. Once a magistrate has filed a report with the sitting judge, either party in the case may appeal by making exceptions to the magistrate’s findings and recommendations. If there are no exceptions to the report, the judge generally enters an order approving the decision of the magistrate.
The Chief Judge can be contacted at:
201 SE 6th Street
Fort Lauderdale, 33301