AOSC 22-18 | IN RE: WORKGROUP ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF AN ADDITIONAL DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL
WHEREAS, pursuant to Article V, section 9, of the Florida Constitution, and rules 2.240 and 2.241, Florida Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration, the Supreme Court of Florida in In re: Redefinition of Appellate Districts and Certification of Need for Additional Appellate Judges, Case No. SC21-1543, determined that a sixth appellate district should be created in Florida, that accompanying changes should be made to the existing boundaries of certain other districts, and that seven new appellate judgeships were needed for the continued effective operation of the newly aligned district courts of appeal; and
WHEREAS, in accordance with Article V, section 9, of the Florida Constitution, the Florida Legislature considered the Court’s recommendations and enacted Committee Substitute for House Bill 7027 (2022 Reg. Sess., Enrolled), which the Governor approved on June 2, 2022; and
WHEREAS, the establishment of an additional district court of appeal and the accompanying realignment of other appellate districts requires thoughtful planning and preparation in the State Courts System to ensure that the work of the appellate courts continues without undue disruption; and
WHEREAS, it is recognized that some matters related to establishment of an additional district court of appeal will be within the purview of the chief judges as chief administrative officers of the respective district court pursuant to rule 2.210, Florida Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration, or a judge designated by the Chief Justice to serve as the interim chief administrative officer for the Sixth District Court of Appeal, while other matters will have implications across the court system and therefore warrant consistent application on a branch-wide basis; and
WHEREAS, matters related to establishment of an additional district court of appeal, including unanticipated issues that will no doubt arise during the course of establishment, will benefit from analysis by and insights from a group of district court judges and staff, even if ultimately determined to be within the purview of individual chief judges or a judge designated by the Chief Justice to serve as the interim chief administrative officer for the Sixth District Court of Appeal;
NOW THEREFORE, the Workgroup on the Implementation of an Additional District Court of Appeal is hereby established for the purpose of identifying and making recommendations on the various operational and fiscal matters that are necessary to ensure the ongoing effective and efficient functioning of Florida’s district courts of appeal through this transition, such as human resources; interim and permanent facilities; equipment; technology, security, fiscal, and administrative services; case processing and disposition; and interim governance issues.
The Workgroup may consult with other court system committees and justice system stakeholders as it deems necessary and appropriate. If the Workgroup identifies an issue that appears to be within the jurisdiction of another court system committee, it shall notify the chair of the other committee in writing with a copy to the Chief Justice and State Courts Administrator, for consideration if the other committee determines the matter is within the authority conferred upon it by rule or administrative order. The Workgroup may propose, for consideration by the Supreme Court, statutory changes and amendments to rules of court procedure related to the establishment of a sixth district court of appeal and the accompanying changes to the existing boundaries of certain other districts.
In order to respond quickly as issues arise relating to the realignment of Florida’s appellate courts, the Workgroup shall present its recommendations to the Chief Justice through the State Courts Administrator as they are developed. The Chief Justice will address issues, consistent with the Chief Justice’s authority as chief administrative officer for the judicial branch pursuant to rule 2.205, Florida Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration, that are identified by the Workgroup or are otherwise identified. The Workgroup shall share in writing any of its recommendations on implementation actions that are determined to be exclusively within the authority of the chief judges or a judge designated by the Chief Justice to serve as the interim chief administrative officer for the Sixth District Court of Appeal with the respective judges for their assistance and consideration and provide a copy to the Chief Justice and State Courts Administrator.
Among other activities, the Workgroup shall:
1. Submit by August 19, 2022, a preliminary list of operational issues for which the Workgroup recommends consistent statewide implementation versus discretion in implementation by each district court of appeal pursuant to rule 2.210, Florida Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration. The Workgroup may supplement these issues as necessary.
2. Submit by August 19, 2022, a recommended timeline for completion of critical operational activities in advance of the January 1, 2023, effective date of the district court boundary changes and new judgeships.
3. Submit no later than November 30, 2022, any recommendations that require action by the Supreme Court in advance of the January 1, 2023, effective date of the district court boundary changes and new judgeships.
The following persons are appointed to serve on the Workgroup for a term that expires on June 30, 2023:
Mr. Daniel DiGiacomo
Appellate Court Marshal
The Honorable Brian D. Lambert
The Honorable Robert Morris
Ms. Kristina Samuels
Appellate Court Clerk
The Honorable Meredith L. Sasso
The Honorable John K. Stargel
The Honorable Dan Traver
Additionally, the following persons are appointed to serve as ex officio non-voting members for a term that expires on June 30, 2023:
The Honorable Jonathan D. Gerber
Chair, Legislative Committee
Florida Conference of District Court of Appeal Judges
The Honorable Stevan Northcutt
Chair, Appellate Court Technology Committee
The Honorable L. Clayton Roberts
Chair, District Court of Appeal Budget Commission
Judge Sasso shall serve as Chair of the Workgroup. The Chair may establish ad hoc subgroups, not limited to members of the Workgroup, as necessary and to report back to the full Workgroup. Staff support shall be provided by the Office of the State Courts Administrator.
DONE AND ORDERED at Tallahassee, Florida, on June 7, 2022.
Chief Justice Charles T. Canady
John A. Tomasino, Clerk of Court