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Vision
The Vision of the Administrative Office of the Courts, Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, is to provide
the best service to the Judiciary and Public by:
earnestly working together to achieve the highest goals,
providing innovative responses to our communitys needs,
assisting the Judiciary in fulfilling its constitutional role,
encouraging the exchange of information throughout Court
Administration and with those we serve,
honoring excellence in individuals and teams,
continually seeking improvement, and
drawing upon our diversity as a source of vitality.
OUR COVER THEME
The turn of the century brought some unique
challenges for the Administrative Office of
the Courts. Maintaining our focus, the
judiciary and the staff were busy with a
multitude of activities to build the public trust
and confidence in the judicial system. The cover
photo illustrates these activities, in a manner
consistent of days gone by, but also includes the
technology of today. In some ways, the
responsibilities of the court remain steadfast
with tradition; yet, as public demand increases,
the role of the court expands.
Summer Intern, Eunice Kindred, a student
at Harvard University, designed the cover
photo.


Contents
1
Geographical Boundaries
2
The Chiefs Perspective
ircuitC 3
Highlights
4
Administrative Leadership
Judicial
5
Constitutional Officers
7
Judiciary
Thirteenth
10
Circuit Courts
15
County Courts
17
Judicial Resources and Support
20
Legal Department
21
Administrative Office of the Courts
Central Office
Court Operations
Mediation & Diversionary Programs
Court Communications & Technology Services
Court Facilities
Court Personnel Resources
Fiscal Affairs
Employee Recognition Banquet
In-Service Training
39
Cour-ts in the Community
40
In Memoriam



GEOGRAPHICAL BOUNDARIES
The Thirteenth Judicial Circuit is the fifth largest trial jurisdiction in
Florida and is composed entirely of Hillsborough County, the fourth
most populous county in the state. The rapid growth throughout the
state in the 1970s and 1980s tapered off in the 1990s, but still exceeds
national growth rates. Hillsborough Countys population nearly
doubled between 1970 and 1999 to almost one million; today, the U.S.
Census Bureau estimates the population to be 998,948.
Located midway along the west coast of Florida, Hillsborough County has 1,048 square miles of inland
water; this county is the size of Rhode Island. Incorporated cities are Tampa, Temple Terrace and Plant
City. Hillsborough Countys share of metropolitan area population growth increased from about 1/3 in the
1970s to over 1/2 in the late 1990s. Tampa is the largest city of Floridas West Central Coast; it is the hub
of finance, insurance, real estate, professional sports and cultural activities. As our population increases,
so does the caseload in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit. The courts strive to meet the growing demand for
services in our community.
1
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
2000 Annual Report


THE CHIEFS PERSPECTIVE
Turn of the Century Marks the Beginning of a New Millennium
There was a great deal of pomp and circumstance that surrounded the
celebration of this new year. The clocks did not stop as many skeptics
proposed; in fact, if anything, time seems to move more swiftly.
The revisions of Article V of the Florida Constitution have required our
staff to work diligently on issues ranging from quality assurance measures
to budget inventory and cost comparisons from state and county funding.
We have also continued implementation of our courthouse facilities
project, with renovations to our present buildings and coordination with
architects for the new space.
We have witnessed many other changes within our judiciary this year,
with illness of some and retirement of others. Senior judges were
instrumental in the administration of justice during this transitional
period. Judge James Moody was elevated to the federal bench, while
Judge Ed Ward, Judge Ralph Steinberg and Judge Gasper Ficarrotta
retired from the bench. The absence created by the death of Judge Diana
Allen was especially painful. She was a tremendous asset to this
community.
On a brighter note, we welcomed the newest members of our judiciary,
Judge Herbert Baumann to the circuit bench, as well as Judge Eric Myers
and Judge Mark Wolfe to the county bench. Governor Bush also appointed
Judge Marva Crenshaw to the circuit bench. Earlier this year, Judge
Richard Nielsen, Judge William Levens, Judge Charlene Honeywell and
Judge Wayne Timmerman were appointed to the circuit bench, while
Judge Robert Foster was elected to the circuit bench.
As you review the highlights of this year, I hope you can see evidence of
our commitment to increase access to the courts and build public trust
and confidence in the judicial system. Justice will continue to prevail in
the new century, but will require a great deal of labor as we expand our
services to meet the publics demands. Under the leadership of your new
chief judge, the Honorable Manuel Menendez, judges and staff continue to
work toward increasing access to the courts for each one of Hillsborough
Countys citizens.
While I look forward to my future endeavors, I can tell you without
hesitation that I will miss this place. You will be well served by Chief
Judge Menendez, my former colleagues, and our staff. Like me, each one
of them is appreciative for the opportunity to serve you and promises to
continue to live up to the vision and values of this organization.
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
2
2000 Annual Report


HIGHLIGHTS OF 2000
Hillsborough County has experienced exponential growth, and demands for court services are much
different from what we would have anticipated even a decade ago. Yet we face some of the same
important issues now that we have in the past. While we respond to an increased demand in the
diversity of services, our focus is on access to justice. These are just a few of our accomplishments this
year.
Drug Court Graduation Broadcast
In recognition of some of the graduates of our drug court
programs, distinguished guests, including Governor Jeb
Bush, gathered to participate in a statewide, coordinated
drug court graduation on May 18, 2000.
Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners
recognized National Drug Court Month and Drug Court
Recognition Day by proclamation. Tampas Mayor Dick
Greco also urged city residents to join him in recognizing
the practitioners and participants who make drug courts
work, as well as the contribution drug courts have made in
reducing drug usage and crime.
Judge Evans, Judge Foster, Governor Bush,
Jim McDonough, Judge Espinosa and
Chief Judge Alvarez.
Virtual Trial Courtroom
Unveiled on May 1, 2000, in Courtroom 1 in the Main
Courthouse, the Virtual Trial Courtroom is expected to be
most useful in complex litigation cases in which a
substantial amount of evidence is presented.
Representatives from the Courts Business Center and
Xerox were on-site at the ceremony to provide demonstra-
tions of the available technology.
Family Intake Video Produced
Intended to guide pro se litigants through some of the legal
issues experienced during divorce, this video was
produced by the Administrative Office of the Courts and
the Hillsborough County Bar Association. WTVT FOX 13s
Kelly Ring narrated the video.
A specialized section of the Criminal Justice Division was
established to handle cases involving allegations of sexual
battery; unlawful sexual activity with certain minors; lewd
or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of
an elderly person or disabled adult; abuse, aggravated
abuse and neglect of a child; contributing to the
delinquency or dependency of a child; sexual performance
by a child; protection of minors; and prohibition of certain
acts in connection with obscenity or computer pornogra-
phy.
Office of Public Information Established
While there have been individual and programmatic efforts
to address public awareness, there was no centralized
effort until the creation of this program. The office
coordinates written publications, internet web-pages,
Town Hall meetings, and produces multimedia presenta-
tions, including a monthly television magazine show which
airs on local government access channels.
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
3
2000 Annual Report


ADMINISTRATIVE LEADERSHIP
The Chief Judge and the Trial Court Administrator work together to ensure the efficient and effective
operation of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit.
Chief Judge of the Circuit Court
Chosen by circuit and county judges in the circuit, the Chief Judge has the
responsibility of administrative supervisor over all courts, judges and
officers of the court in the circuit. As administrator of the circuit, the Chief
Judge is responsible for:

developing an administrative plan for the circuit to run
efficiently and properly,

assigning judges to courts and divisions and determining the
length of each assignment,

assigning judges to temporary duty within the circuit,

appointing an administrative judge in any court division of
the circuit,

regulating the use of courtrooms, examining dockets in the
circuit and requiring status reports of the actions on the
dockets, and

examining the status of every inmate in the county jails.
Trial Court Administrator
Assisting the Chief Judge in carrying out administrative
duties related to the operation of county and circuit
courts within the circuit, the Trial Court Administrator
performs a range of functions, from management of
court programs to facilities management. Other duties
include jury and witness management, public informa-
tion, case flow management, information systems, court
reporting, technology, certified process servers, dispute
resolution alternatives, interagency coordination,
analyses in criminal justice areas, judges certifications,
program performance audits, development of policies
and procedures, new program and service proposals,
contract negotiations and other administrative duties
associated with day-to-day court operations.
For more information on court programs under
Chief Judge Alvarez and Trial Court Administrator
supervision of the Trial Court Administrator,
Mike Bridenback.
see pages 21-37.
Chief Judge F. Dennis Alvarez is a lifetime resident of Tampa. He graduated from Jesuit High School and continued
his education at the University of South Florida, where he received a B.A. in Business. He earned his Juris Doctorate
from South Texas College of Law. His career began in private law practice, and he later prosecuted cases with the
State Attorneys Office. He returned to a successful law practice until 1980 when he was elected to the position of
county judge; four years later he was elected to the circuit court bench. Judge Alvarez served as Chief Judge from
1988 until his retirement in 2001. While much of Chief Judge Alvarez time was devoted to administrative duties, he
also presided as a judge in the Juvenile Drug Court division in 2000.
Mike Bridenback has served as Trial Court Administrator since 1994. Originally from Bonifay, Florida, his career has
always been in the criminal justice field. After graduating from Florida State University with a B.A. in Criminology, he
worked first with Governor Askews office and subsequently with the Office of State Court Administrators. Mike also
earned a Masters degree in Public Administration from Florida State University. During his seventeen-year tenure
with the Office of State Court Administrator (OSCA), he devoted time to the development of mediation services
throughout the state, which is now an integral part of the court system. After several promotions within OSCA, he
served as Chief of Court Services until his appointment here as Court Administrator.
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
4
2000 Annual Report



CONSTITUTIONAL OFFICERS
Responsibilities related to the courts include ensuring that the courts orders, judgments or directives
are carried out within the parameters allowed by law; maintaining the courts records; collecting and
disbursing the court fines, fees and assessments; and collecting and disbursing court-ordered child
support and alimony payments.
The courts section has several departments, including: Jury Services, Foreclosure Services, Circuit
Civil/Family Law, Appeals, Traffic, Mental Health, County Civil, Probate, Guardianship & Trust,
Juvenile, Misdemeanor County and Domestic Violence.
Clerk of the Court
Richard Ake was appointed Hillsborough County Clerk of the
Circuit Court in 1985 by then Governor Bob Graham. Originally
from Moultrie, Georgia, he joined the clerks office in 1961. Since
serving as the head of this agency, he has drawn opposition only
once.
Assuring that effective, quality legal representation is efficiently provided to all indigent persons, the
court appoints the Office of the Public Defender. Beyond that, at Ms. Holts direction, this office has
taken additional efforts to identify the causes of criminal behavior in an attempt to reduce the rate of
repeat offending and promote positive change in the lives of those at risk of entering the criminal
justice system.
Public Defender
In fiscal year 1999-2000, the Office of the Public Defender was
appointed to 67,230 cases. This office represents approximately 75%
of the criminal cases filed in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit.
Julianne M. Holt
A lifelong resident of Tampa, Julianne M. Holt was first elected
Hillsborough County Public Defender in 1992. Ms. Holt attended
South Texas College of Law, where she graduated Summa Cum
Laude. She is also a graduate of Leto High School and the
University of South Florida. Prior to her election to this office,
Ms. Holt had her own law practice where she handled both
criminal and civil cases.
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
5
2000 Annual Report




CONSTITUTIONAL OFFICERS
The Sheriff enforces criminal laws, attends to the courts of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit and is keeper
of all the persons imprisoned in the county jails. The Court Services Section of Hillsborough County
Sheriff
Sheriffs Office (HCSO) provides law enforcement and bailiff support for the circuit, responds to and
provides security and welfare of more than 48,000 inmates appearing in court and is also
responsible for meals, transportation and overnight accommodations for jurors.
Sheriff Cal Henderson was elected to this office in 1992. He is a
native of Tampa and graduated from the University of South
Florida, where he earned both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of
Arts degree with honors. He began his law enforcement career
in 1965 with the Tampa Police Department. He was hired by
HCSO as a patrol deputy in 1969 and rose through the ranks,
serving as Colonel in charge of the four divisions of the Enforce-
ment Operations Department until he took office as Sheriff. He
ran unopposed in his second and third terms.
Bailiffs took more than 3,600 people into custody on court orders or arrest
warrants at the courthouse in 2000.
Representing the people in both capital and noncapital prosecutions for violations of state laws and
related matters in state courts is the responsibility of the State Attorney. He prosecutes criminal cases
and serves as chief advisor to the grand jury; he represents the public interest in all criminal matters
and cases that affect the community safety, peace and welfare; and he conducts and coordinates all
criminal investigations with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies concerning violations of
state law.
John F. Rudy was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush as
Hillsborough County State Attorney in July, after the death of
former State Attorney, Harry Lee Coe III. Rudy took a leave of
absence from his private law practice to accept the responsibil-
ity of interim leadership until January, when the newly elected
official began service. His diversified experience includes over
thirty years as a prosecutor and private attorney both in the
Tampa Bay community and in Washington, D.C. A native of
Orlando, he was a founder of a local Tampa law firm. He
received a Bachelors degree from the University of North
Carolina and his law degree from American University.
Mark Ober was elected State Attorney in November 2000. He
graduated from the University of South Florida and also earned a
law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston. A
former prosecutor, Ober worked eleven years for the Hillsborough
State Attorneys Office. He handled misdemeanor, juvenile and
felony crimes before becoming Chief of the Career Criminal,
Major Crimes, Special Prosecution and Homicide Division. Prior
to his election, Ober was in private practice as a trial lawyer.
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
6
2000 Annual Report





















JUDICIARY
The majority of jury trials in Florida take place before one judge in circuit court. The circuit
courts are sometimes referred to as courts of general jurisdiction, in recognition of the fact that
most criminal and civil cases originate at this level. In contrast, the majority of non-jury trials
in Florida take place before one judge in county court. A large part of this courts work
involves citizen disputes, such as traffic offenses, misdemeanors and relatively small monetary
disputes.
There are twenty judicial circuits in Florida, each with a varying number of judges, dependent
upon population and caseload of the particular area. Judges are elected by the voters in
nonpartisan, contested elections and serve for six-year terms. In the event a judge cannot
serve the remainder of his or her term, the governor of Florida appoints a judge to that position
on the bench. As part of his administrative duties, the chief judge assigns each judge to serve
in a specific division; every attempt is made to honor the request of each judge.
CIRCUIT JUDGES
F. Dennis Alvarez
James D. Arnold
Rex M. Barbas
James M. Barton, II
Herbert J. Baumann, Jr.
Debra K. Behnke
Robert H. Bonanno
Marva L. Crenshaw
Jack Espinosa, Jr.
Katherine G. Essrig
Donald C. Evans
Gasper J. Ficarrotta
Ronald N. Ficarrotta
Barbara Fleischer
Florence Foster
William Fuente
Dick Greco, Jr.
Gregory P. Holder
Cynthia A. Holloway
Charlene E. Honeywell
7
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
2000 Annual Report



















JUDICIARY
CIRCUIT JUDGES
Chief Judge Alvarez passes the gavel to Chief Judge Menendez.
Claudia R. Isom
William P. Levens
Perry A. Little
Richard A. Nielsen
Vivian C. Maye
Manuel Menendez, Jr. Bob Anderson Mitcham James S. Moody, Jr.
J. Rogers Padgett
Sam D. Pendino
Daniel L. Perry
Susan Sexton
Robert J. Simms
Ralph Steinberg
Ralph C. Stoddard
Chet A. Tharpe
Wayne S. Timmerman
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
8
2000 Annual Report
















JUDICIARY
COUNTY JUDGES
Judges, Court Administrator and Chief Justice Charles T. Wells
discuss Article V issues.
Charlotte Anderson
James V. Dominguez
Gaston J. Fernandez
Frank A. Gomez
Walter R. Heinrich
Manuel A. Lopez
Elvin L. Martinez
Eric R. Myers
Joelle Ann Ober
Raul C. Palomino, Jr.
Denise Pomponio
Cheryl K. Thomas
Christine K. Vogel
Mark R. Wolfe
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
9
2000 Annual Report

CIRCUIT COURTS
CIRCUIT COURTS have general trial jurisdiction over matters not assigned by statute to the county courts
and also hear appeals from county court cases. Thus, circuit courts are simultaneously the highest trial
courts and the lower appellate courts in Floridas judicial system. There are twenty judicial circuits in the
state. Comprised entirely of Hillsborough County, the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit is the fifth largest
jurisdiction in Florida.
CIRCUIT COURT FILINGS
54,000
53,000
52,000
51,000
50,000
49,000
48,000
95 96 97 98 99 00
Circuit filings have increased almost 10% since 1995. The most dramatic rise
in filings was in the Criminal Justice and Trial Division (18%) and the Civil
Division (14%).*
*Data is received from the Florida Supreme Court Summary Reporting System (SRS) Report,
which is used as a base for workload measures for judges. This data is based on information
received from the Clerk of Court and is most accurate as of the run date of the report.
Jurisdiction of this court division includes professional malpractice, products liability, real property/
foreclosure, auto negligence, eminent domain, condominium, contract and civil indebtedness and
other civil matters in excess of $15,000. In addition, jurisdiction includes appeals from final adminis-
Division
trative orders of local government code enforcement boards and the majority of appeals from county
court.
Civil
There are ten judges assigned to this division.
Honorable Robert H. Bonnano is the Administrative Judge.
General
FAST FACTS FROM GENERAL CIVIL
FILINGS
DISPOSITIONS
Personal Injury 2,842
Jury Trial 111
Contract 1,580
By Judge 5,300
Property 3,852
Settlement 3,055
Other 1,552
Other 498
TOTAL 9,826
TOTAL 8,964
Mortgage foreclosures represented 39% of filings; auto
negligence followed with 18% of filings.
10
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
2000 Annual Report

CIRCUIT COURTS
Jurisdiction includes felonies and all misdemeanors arising out of the same circumstances as a felony.
These offenses include capital murder, noncapital murder, sexual offenses, drugs, robbery, burglary,
Division
theft, forgery, fraud and worthless checks, and other crimes against persons or properties that are
classified as felonies.
Trial
There are eight judges assigned to this division.
and
Honorable J. Rogers Padgett is the Administrative Judge.
FAST FACTS FROM CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND TRIAL
Justice
DIVISION
FILINGS
DISPOSITIONS
Violent Crimes
2,783
Pleas
11,120
Criminal
Property Crimes
5,976
Trial
296
Drug Crimes
4,254
Other
2,820
Other Felonies
1,489
TOTAL 14,236
TOTAL 14,502
REOPENED
6,046
Pre-Trial Intervention
Division)
Designed to deal with first time felony drug offenders in 1992, this Pre-Trial Intervention Drug Court
program is a 12-18 month drug rehabilitation program for defendants charged with third-degree
Trial
felony offenses, such as grand theft, uttering a forged instrument, or possession of cocaine/drugs.
Participants in this diversionary program must be willing to waive speedy trial. Upon successful
and
completion of the program, the initial charges are dismissed, giving the defendant a chance to start
Divisions
over. Before a defendant may enter the program, he or she must be approved by the judge, the State
Justice
Attorneys Office, the Department of Corrections Pre-Trial Intervention Program and Drug Abuse
Drug
Comprehensive Coordinating Office (DACCO). The program exceeded capacity in 2000, with more
than 279 participants.
and Criminal
Sixty-seven percent of participants graduate from this program, which exceeds the national average.
the
Eighty-one percent of those graduates who have been out of the program for twelve months have not
Court in
re-entered the criminal justice system.
Drug
Drug cases represented 29% of all cases within the
Adult (*included
Criminal Justice and Trial Division, the largest
percentage of any categories listed in this division.
Based on the success of the diversion program and the fact that forced treatment has been proven to
be as effective as voluntary treatment, the Drug Court Division was established in 1994 for more
serious drug offenders who requested treatment and agreed to plead guilty to the charges against
them.
Certified addictions specialists work for the Administrative Office of the Courts to provide the judge
with recommendations for structured treatment plans.
There are three judges assigned to this division.
Honorable Donald C. Evans is the Administrative Judge.
Juvenile Drug Court Division
The first program of its kind in Florida, this division was initiated in 1996 as a diversionary program to
address the problem of substance abuse among youth, in response to learning that 60% of the youth at the
Juvenile Assessment Center had illegal substances in their systems at the time of booking.
11
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
2000 Annual Report

CIRCUIT COURTS
More than 1,600 offenders are under the supervision of the two drug divisions, receiving
intensive judicial and community supervision, in addition to drug treatment and regular drug
testing.
More than 87% of the youth who successfully complete the program do not re-enter the
criminal justice system; meaning less than 15% are arrested again. Of those juveniles who
decline to participate in the program, more than half of them are arrested again.
Trust
Petitions alleging incapacity are filed in this division; judges must then make decisions regarding the
need for and extent of guardianship. Guardians assist incapacitated people in meeting the essential
and
requirements for their physical health and safety, in protecting their rights, in managing their
financial resources and in developing or regaining their abilities to the extent possible. The probate
process involves collecting a decedents assets, liquidating liabilities, paying necessary taxes and
Probate
distributing properties to heirs.
There is one judge and one Special Master assigned to this division.
Honorable Susan Sexton is the Administrative Judge.
Health, al
FAST FACTS ON GUARDIANSHIP, MENTAL HEALTH,
Ment
PROBATE AND TRUST
FILINGS
DISPOSITIONS
Probate 2,456
By Judge 3,153
Guardianship 461
Before trial 2,231
Trust 49
94% of cases reopened were
TOTAL 5,384
Other Mental Health 2,102
Guardianship cases because
TOTAL 5,068
Guardianship,
of statutory requirements for
reviews.
REOPENED 4,481
Judges must make decisions regarding the custodial placement of children and determine issues
related to the best interests of the child before the court. Jurisdiction includes matters concerning
Division
children who have been allegedly abandoned, abused, neglected or surrendered for adoption. The
Office of the Attorney General represents the Department of Children & Families. Parents are also
entitled to legal representation; they may secure a private attorney or the court may appoint legal
counsel on their behalf. In addition, the Guardian ad Litem volunteers speak up for children
involved in dependency proceedings.
Dependency
There are two judges assigned to this division. A Senior Judge was also assigned to hear Judicial
Reviews. Honorable Debra K. Behnke is the Administrative Judge.
Juvenile
To truly improve the court process
for children, the judicial branch
FAST FACTS FROM DEPENDENCY DIVISION
must collaborate with child
advocates from a variety of fields.
FILINGS
1,646
Therefore, an interdisciplinary
Reopened
6,664
group meets in conjunction with the
Dispositions
687
Other
annual Dependency Summit to
Foster Care Reviews
9,704
work on improving Floridas
Shelter Hearings
1,382
dependency court system. The
Termination of Parental
203
local Dependency Court
Rights Filed
Improvement Team meets each
month and was chaired by Judge
Behnke in 2000.
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
12
2000 Annual Report


CIRCUIT COURTS
Delinquency matters include juveniles who have
committed a felony or misdemeanor, been found
in contempt of court or violation of a local
Division
ordinance other than a traffic offense. The State
Attorneys Office files charges against the
juvenile, alleging a criminal offense has occurred.
Entitled to legal counsel, a private attorney or the
Public Defender advises the juvenile throughout
Delinquency
the legal proceedings. The Department of
Juvenile Justice provides case management
services.
Juvenile
There are two judges assigned to this division; in
addition, a special Rocket Docket was used this year.
Honorable Perry A. Little is the Administrative
Mark Ober, Judge Little, Chief Judge Alvarez, Judge Espinosa
Judge.
and Julianne Holt participate in Judicial Town Hall Meeting
where FOX 13s Warren Elly served as moderator.
FAST FACTS FROM DELINQUENCY DIVISION
The Rocket Docket launched in
COMPLAINTS
10,998
July 1999 as an attempt to clear a
PETITIONS
5,218
staggering backlog of juvenile
delinquency cases, which were
REOPENED
1,655
heard by Chief Judge Alvarez.
DISPOSITIONS
With an average of 139 cases each
Dismissed prior to petition
5,876
month, prosecutors, public
Petitions disposed
7,061
defenders, law enforcement and
Certified to criminal 45
Direct Files to felony
314
Department of Juvenile Justice
staff processed more than 1,800
OTHER
cases in thirteen months.
Detention Hearings 6,096
Jurisdiction includes domestic relations, adoptions, domestic violence, dissolutions of marriage, child
support, custody, alimony, visitation and related matters. One party must file a petition initially, which
identifies them as the petitioner and the other party is the respondent. The parties may or may not be
Division
represented by legal counsel.
Law
FAST FACTS FROM FAMILY LAW DIVISION
There are six judges, three general masters
and two support hearing officers assigned to
FILINGS
Dissolutions
6,013
Family
this division. Two judges were also assigned
Domestic Violence
5,623
to hear Domestic Violence injunctions.
Other
6,017
Honorable Ralph C. Stoddard is the
TOTAL
17,653
Administrative Judge.
REOPENED
Modified
3,461
Other
4,366
TOTAL
7,827
DISPOSITIONS
By Judge 13,790
Before hearing
906
Other
1,901
TOTAL 16,597
13
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
2000 Annual Report


CIRCUIT COURTS
Because of the various disciplines involved in family law proceedings, Judge Stoddard chairs the
Family Implementation Team (FIT) to identify and resolve systems issues.
Dissolutions of Marriage represented
34% of the filings in this division;
Simplified Dissolutions represented
less than 1% of those filings.
Judge Stoddard reviews supervised visitation tape.
Included within the Family Law Division, judges in this division preside over issues related to
domestic violence and repeat violence. Any person who is the victim of domestic violence or has
reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim, may petition the
Division)
court for an injunction for protection against domestic violence. The court can order the
Law
respondent to leave the home and/or require that individual to complete a batterers intervention
program.
Division
Family
the
Domestic Violence and Repeat Violence represented 31% of filings in the Family Law
Violence in
Division.
Domestic (*included
To meet the needs of citizens within specific boundaries, the East Division of the Circuit Court was
established in 1979. The courthouse is situated in the northeastern corner of Hillsborough County,
in Plant City.
Division
One full-time circuit judge is assigned in Plant City to handle a varied docket, including general
County
civil, family law and probate cases. There are no felony or juvenile cases handled in the East
County Division. One full-time and one part-time county court judge is also assigned to handle a
East
varied docket, including county civil and criminal cases, consisting of both misdemeanor and traffic
offenses.
Honorable Bob Anderson Mitcham is the Administrative Judge for the circuit division, while the
Honorable Christine K. Vogel is the Administrative Judge for the county division.
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
14
2000 Annual Report



CIRCUIT COURTS COUNTY COURTS
Cases are generally assigned to this division, if
associated with the portion of Hillsborough County
that is:
Division
located east of Highway 301, or
County
the cause of action occurred in this area, or
the property is located in the area.
East
Courthouse in Plant City
COUNTY COURTS sometimes referred to as the peoples courts, are often involved in citizen disputes,
less serious criminal matters (misdemeanors), and small monetary disputes less than $15,000. County
judges are sometimes appointed as circuit judges to address areas in the circuit court as special needs
and caseload dictates.
COUNTY COURT FILINGS
250,000
240,000
230,000
220,000
210,000
200,000
95 96 97 98 99 00
County court filings increased almost 23% from 1995 - 1999. While there was
an almost 22% increase in civil infractions during this time period, other
criminal traffic filings decreased. The most significant rise in filings was in the
County Criminal division (27%). Information from the Clerk of the Court was
unavailable for 2000 at the time of this report.
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
15
2000 Annual Report


COUNTY COURTS
Florida statutes mandate that inmates have the right to appear before a judge within twenty-four
hours of their arrest. A fiber optic link connects the jails and the courthouse via closed circuit
television. These hearings are conducted through the use of the Court Video Network enabling
Division
inmates to appear in court without having to leave the secure confines of the jail, avoiding transporta-
tion costs and reducing the security risks.
First Appearance or Emergency Criminal Court
Division conducts live two-way video
Emergency
preliminary presentations on all criminal cases,
bond and ROR motions, arraignment hearings
for incarcerated defendants, misdemeanor
violation of probation hearings for incarcerated
defendants and other emergency criminal
matters.
Judge Heinrich speaks to defendants at the jail.
HCSO Orient Road Jail is the designated facility to book and process inmates.
HCSO estimates 57,000 individuals were processed last year; approximately 50% of
all detainees are released on bond/ROR within 24 hours of their arrest.
Jurisdiction includes civil actions, matters in equity, and landlord-tenant disputes in which the matter
in controversy does not exceed $15,000. The parties may elect to have a trial by the judge or have a
jury trial; juries include six jurors and two alternates.
Four judges are assigned to this division.
FAST FACTS FROM COUNTY CIVIL DIVISION
(excludes civil infractions, such as traffic violations)
FILINGS
DISPOSITIONS
Small Claims 9,660
Jury Trial 54
Evictions
8,919
By Judge 5,969
Other
5,065
Settlement
7,941
TOTAL 23,644
Other
6,533
TOTAL 20,497
REOPENED 6,301
Jurisdiction includes misdemeanor cases, criminal traffic offenses and county ordinance/municipal
violations. The parties may elect to have a trial by the judge or the jury; the jury consists of six jurors
and two alternates.
Division
Six judges are assigned to this division.
Honorable James V. Dominguez is the Administrative Judge.
Criminal
Jurisdiction includes all misdemeanor domestic violence charges filed and any new charges or
probationary charges of a participating
defendant. The State Attorneys Office
County
Since 1990, Civil Traffic Hearing Officers hear cases
represents the state; the defendant is
related to parking tickets and civil traffic infraction
entitled to legal representation; if he or
arraignments that do not involve personal injury.
she cannot afford an attorney, the Public
Since 1993, Special Masters for Animal Control hear
Defender is appointed as legal counsel.
cases related to Hillsborough County Ordinances
One judge is assigned to hear these cases;
Numbers 83-5 and 92-6.
the judge is included in the County
Criminal Division.
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
16
2000 Annual Report







SUPPLEMENTAL JUDICIAL RESOURCES AND SUPPORT
General Masters and Support Hearing Officers
General Masters and Support Hearing Officers are quasi-judicial officers who conduct formal court
hearings, take testimony and evaluate evidence. At the end of each hearing, he or she prepares a
written report which contains recommendations as to what action the judge should take in the case.
Either party may file written exceptions to reports within ten days. If no exceptions are filed, the
court typically enters an order approving the recommendations.
The chief judge appoints a special master, pursuant to an administrative order, to hear and consider
Baker Act and Marchman Act proceedings. These proceedings are related to involuntary placement
for treatment based on a severe mental, emotional or behavioral disorder or substance abuse. The
chief judge also appoints general masters, pursuant to Florida Family Rules of Procedures to hear and
make recommendations on post-judgment family law matters and specific prejudgment temporary
relief family law matters. This program was established in 1993 by an administrative order.
The general masters and hearing officers serve under the direction of the administrative judge of the
Family Law Division. The special master serves under the direction of the administrative judge of the
Guardianship, Mental Health, Probate and Trust Division.
In addition, the chief judge also appoints hearing officers for proceedings related under Title IV-D of
the Social Security Act involving the establishment, modification and enforcement of support, foreign
orders and determinations of arrears including those of assistance debt owed to the state.
GENERAL MASTERS
Roxie Crowell
Marshall Farkas
Wes Pardue
SPECIAL MASTER
Nick Ficarrotta
CHILD SUPPORT HEARING OFFICERS
Michael Coffee
Joe Navarra
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
17
2000 Annual Report



SUPPLEMENTAL JUDICIAL RESOURCES AND SUPPORT
Senior Judges
Retired judges who wish to remain active and offer assistance to this circuit are approved for recall by
order of the Florida Supreme Court. These senior judges are vested with all necessary powers to complete
judicial assignments. They are used for lengthy trials or special category cases; educational, professional
or personal absence of a presiding judge; vacancies; and cases requiring out-of-circuit judges.
Horace A. Andrews
Roland Gonzalez
Edward R. Bentley
John P. Griffin
Richard W. Carr
Judges
Edward A. Hinson
Frederick A. DeFuria
Robert F. Michaels
Carl C. Durrance
Thomas A. Miller, Sr.
Senior
Burton C. Easton
William A. Norris
Daniel L. Gallagher
Robert W. Rawlings, Jr.
Vincent E. Giglio
Harry Stein
John M. Gilbert
Judge Gallagher presiding over cases in Plant City.
County Judges on Special Assignment
County judges are sometimes appointed as circuit judges to address the circuit court as special need and
caseload dictates at:

first appearance division and civil domestic violence,

overflow trial dockets in circuit court, or

absence of the presiding judge.
This year, Judge Eric Myers was temporarily assigned to the Family Law Division, while Judge Raul
Palomino was also assigned to that division to hear domestic violence cases.
Civil Traffic Hearing Officers and Special Masters for Animal Control
Independent contractors are appointed by the chief judge to hear all civil traffic infractions except those
filed in conjunction with criminal traffic offenses or cases involving personal injury or death or cases
transferred to a county judge pursuant to Florida Statutes. In addition, these hearing officers also hear
cases related to county ordinances for water violations or animal control.
Daniel L. Castillo
Bruce Curry
David Dee
CTHO
Maurice Feller
William Foster
Donald Gillette
Damon Glisson
Vicki Kaufholz
Lawrence Lempert
Nancy Lorenzo
Vicki Reeves
Kim Seavy
Bradley Souders
J. Benton Stewart*
*Alternate
CTHO Officers receive training required by statutes.
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
18
2000 Annual Report




SUPPLEMENTAL JUDICIAL RESOURCES AND SUPPORT
Judicial Assistants
Each judge in the circuit and county courts has a
judicial assistant to manage office operations and
coordinate case activity. Commonly referred to as
a J.A., these employees work under the direction of
the individual judge. Administrative duties include
scheduling court proceedings, preparing court
orders, coordination of support personnel,
providing information to the public and court
system employees and maintaining the judges
private library.
Judicial Assistant Sharron Cosby talks with Marty Merrell
during roleplay in an In-Service Training.
Bailiffs
Law enforcement officers, under the direction of
the Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office, the bailiffs
ensure that the safety and the dignity of the court
are never compromised. Specifically empowered
to maintain the security of the jury, the bailiffs
duties also include protection of courtroom
personnel and the public, assistance to witnesses
and custody and transportation of all prisoners.
Bailiff David Bowers talks about order in the court.
County Security
Hillsborough County Security Service provides
support at the courthouse 24-hours-a-day,
7-days-a-week. Personnel provide protection for
visitors, employees and property, they respond to
requests for assistance, handle lost-and-found
items, and enforce parking regulations on county
property.
Hillsborough County Security at the Plant City courthouse.
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
19
2000 Annual Report



LEGAL DEPARTMENT
Legal staff
Under the leadership of court counsel, the Legal Department fulfills
many roles within the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit. The court counsel
and legal staff have the following responsibilities:
Court Counsel David Rowland volunteers
on the set of the Justice Files.

represent the judiciary in all legal matters, including
ethics, trial procedure, and case management,

provide legal advice to the Chief Judge, Court
Administrator and court managers,

legal research projects, including post-conviction relief
motions,

prepare or assist with orders on pending cases and
administrative orders,

assist with case management.
Administrative Orders in 2000
Full text and a complete list of administrative orders issued in 2000 and other existing orders can be found
at our website: fljud13.org

S-2000-108
Jimmy Ryce Act Case Assignment and Reporting

S-2000-114
Trial Division in the General Civil Division

A-2000-049
Assignment of Judges to all Circuit and County Divisions

S-2000-064
Court Reporter Services and Fees

S-2000-071
Provision of Interpreters by the Court Interpreter Center

S-2000-083
Professional Fees for Criminal Cases

S-2000-113
Suspension of Standard Bond Amount When Arrestee is on Felony Probation

S-2000-002
Mandatory Parenting Courses in Family Law Cases

S-2000-073
General Procedures for Family Law Cases Court Ordered to Mediation and Post
Judgment Family Matters

S-2000-107
Assignment and Transfer of Child Support Cases

S-2000-115
General Masters and Hearing Officers

S-2000-102
Circuit Criminal Division H (Sex and Child Abuse Offenses)

S-2000-117
Drug Division

S-2000-118
Uniform Administration Procedures for Circuit Court Criminal Justice and
Trial Divisions

S-2000-042
Amount of fees to Court Appointed Attorneys in Involuntary Placement Hearings
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
20
2000 Annual Report



ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE COURTS
To assist the Trial Court Administrator in
fulfilling his responsibilities, the Administrative
Office of the Courts (AOC) employs staff to
serve in various departments, including:
Central Office, Fiscal Affairs, Court
Communications & Technology Services, Court
Facilities, Court Operations, Court Personnel
Resources and Mediation & Diversion Services.
Each one of these departments is dedicated to
assisting the Chief Judge and other members
of the judiciary in carrying out constitutional
and administrative duties.
Senior staff members meet monthly to address management
issues.
The Court Administrator and the Chief Deputy Court Administrator are located in the Central Office.
With the assistance of other staff members, this office provides a variety of services that impact all
Office
departments and the overall court system. These services include policy development, court facilities
planning, interagency coordination, court security and emergency planning, analyses of criminal
justice areas and grant funding applications. Other services include contract negotiators, certification
Central
of Process Servers and management of the Courthouse Information areas.
This year increased quality assurance measures
have been instituted for programs in preparation of
Article V funding. A Performance Measures Team
was created to provide leadership in developing
mission statements in various areas and promoting
progress toward outcome measures.
In addition, staff coordinated with internal
departments, Hillsborough County departments
and the architects and consultants regarding the
construction and renovation of the Courthouse
complex. Staff also met with members of the
Hillsborough County Legislation delegation to
discuss issues related to Article V funding.
Nancy Yanez, Chief Deputy Court Administrator,
reviews plans with Hillsborough County architect
Bill Hand.
Recognizing that communication is the key to increasing education about the court system and
expanding access to the courts, greater emphasis has been placed on interacting with the public.
Traditional written publications, newsletters (Courts Connection and Legal Pad) and Annual Report
Information
will continue to be distributed and will also be available via the intranet and Internet. Focus was also
broadened to multimedia presentations, allowing us to deliver our message in different formats.
Public of Working in conjunction with the Courts Business Center, staff wrote and produced a video,
Administrative Office of the Courts at Work. The presentation was used during conversations with
members of the Hillsborough County Legislative Delegation and later played on Government Access
Office
Television for the general public to view.
21
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
2000 Annual Report



ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE COURTS
Development of a monthly news magazine show,
Justice Files, was a major task in 2000. The
premiere edition of the show aired on both
Hillsborough County Television and City of Tampa
Television in March 2001. The Judicial Town Hall
Meeting on Juvenile Delinquency was also
produced for government access television.
In-service topics included Personal Safety and
Security in the Courthouse, An Overview of the
Department of Corrections, Violence in the
Workplace, Verbal De-escalation: Working with
Agitated and Potentially Aggressive People, The
Role of the Judicial Assistant in the Family Law
Video expands multimedia presentation.
Division, and a mandatory training session, Sexual
Harassment in the Workplace.
The Senior Management Team oversees the operation of specialized court divisions, certain
quasi-judicial resources and programs that have been established to meet the needs of the
judiciary and the public of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit. Leaders in developing innovative
responses to improve aspects of the court system, the Senior Management Team works in close
Operations
concert with one another.
Court
In 2000, the team established the newest court division: Sex Crimes and Child Abuse.
As child welfare moves toward privatization, they were also involved in the development of
Hillsborough Partners. In addition to providing consultation and guidance to Program
Coordinators, this group represents the AOC at community meetings, including:

Public Safety Coordinating Council,

Floridas Family Court Administrators, and

Dependency Court Improvement projects.
This team is responsible for managing
contracts for privatized services, including
court reporting and misdemeanor probation.
In addition, they are responsible for the
administration of the Civil Traffic Hearing
Officer Program.
Senior Court Operations Consultants Jeff Rainey and
Marty Merrell review architectural plans with staff.
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
22
2000 Annual Report



ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE COURTS
This program operates under the direction of the Senior Management Team; direct services are
provided contractually through eight providers. Monitoring is provided through a contract with
iolence
the Department of Public Health at the University of South Florida to ensure that treatment criteria
V
is consistent and state guidelines are met. In addition, staff serve on the community Domestic
Violence Task Force, which was formed to provide an effective coordinated community response to
domestic violence.
Domestic
All alleged batterers entering the program are screened by a local provider, The Spring, Inc.
Based on the screening assessment, they are classified by level and enter a treatment program.
While Hillsborough County provides funding for operating expenses, participants in the program
are required to pay treatment providers based on a sliding fee scale.
More than one-third of participants complete
a treatment program. Demographics reveal
81% of offenders are male, while 19% are
female.
Judge Palomino and Judge Pomponio meet with
Domestic Violence providers.
One of the increasing challenges in court administration is the ability to ensure access to justice in
a linguistically diverse court environment. Competent foreign language professional interpreters
Center
assist the judiciary by expediting brief court proceedings, including arraignments, bail-bond
hearings and other pre- and post-trial activities.
One in seven defendants in this circuit is Spanish speaking. Staff interepreters covered
Interpreter
8,320 cases in 2000.
Court
FAST FACTS FROM COURT INTERPRETER CENTER
Staff Spanish 8,320
Spanish Freelancers 5,646
Others 468
Sign Language 231
Staff and freelance interpreters provide services in 42 foreign languages and dialects. The most
commonly-used languages in this circuit include Spanish, American Sign Language, Haitian
Creole, Vietnamese and Korean. The program is a member of the Court Interpreter Advisory
Workgroup (CIAW), which was created by the Office of State Courts Administrator for the purpose
of establishing a formal Court Interpreter Certification Program for the State of Florida.
In March 2000, staff hosted a two-day Orientation Program for interpreters in Tampa; these
training events are held several times a year in various sites around the state. Staff from this
program were also featured in a Tampa Tribune article in September 2000.
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
23
2000 Annual Report


ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE COURTS
Established in 1993 through a collaborative effort between local
law enforcement agencies, the Department of Children &
Center
Families, the Child Protection Team, mental health providers,
Public Defenders Office and State Attorneys Office, this
program was created to protect children from being
Justice
re-traumatized by the system. While the impetus was to provide
s
forensic interviews in child abuse investigations, the program
has expanded to meet the needs of the community and our
judiciary.
Children
In 2000, the Childrens Justice Center became the hub for court programs related to children. To
provide increased access to services, the CJC operates more than 60 hours per week.
Supervised Visitation Program provides judges in Family Law and Dependency divisions an avenue
of assessing the best interest of the child before the court when there is conflicting information by
the parties. This service provides a place of safety for the child without jeopardizing the rights of
parents and children to have contact with one another. With grant funding from Victims of Crime
Act, the CJC has enhanced services in domestic violence cases. Beginning in October 2000, staff
provided case management services to 54 clients.
This program was a charter member of the Florida Network of Supervised Visitation Centers, which
was established in 1997; Trish Waterman, CJC Program Coordinator, presently serves as the Vice
President of this organization.
Division
FAST FACTS FROM SUPERVISED VISITATION
Civil
2000
1500
County
1000
500
0
1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
Community Outreach provides professionals from local justice system organizations an opportunity to
receive training through funding from the National Childrens Alliance. Staff from the CJC also
participated in local training at the Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office, Tampa Police Department,
Plant City Police Department, Temple Terrace Police Department, Hillsborough County School
Resource Officers, and Hillsborough County Security on issues related to talking with children about
child abuse allegations. In April, staff from the program distributed blue ribbons in the lobby of the
Main Courthouse; the Blue Ribbon Campaign symbolizes the need to prevent child abuse and
neglect.
Because of the dramatic increase in services, renovations in the Main Courthouse were
completed in 2000. Working with the CAC Foundation, a nonprofit organization, plans also
include renovation at the 700 Twiggs Street building.
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
24
2000 Annual Report


ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE COURTS
Childrens Advocacy Center provides multi-disciplinary collaboration for forensic interviews and
co-locates case management services which are provided by the Child Protection Team. The
program has been a charter member of the National Childrens Alliance since 1994. It was also a
founding member of the Florida Network of Childrens Advocacy Centers, which was established
in 1997. Staff has served on the Board of Directors; presently, Jeff Rainey, Senior Court Operations
Consultant, serves as the president of this organization.
97% of agency representatives completing satisfaction surveys believed the number of
interviews was reduced as a result of CAC services in 2000.
Child Custody Investigations provides Family Law judges with social investigations related to
child custody matters. These reports are designed to increase understanding of the family
dynamics and to help determine the ultimate custody and visitation issues for the child and the
parents.
Drug Courts offer a compelling choice for individuals whose criminal justice involvement stems
from alcohol or drug use: participation in treatment. These programs increase the public safety of
Hillsborough County residents by reducing crime and costs of criminal activity by diverting
Programs
substance abuse offenders into community-based treatment programs under extended, intense
community and judicial supervision.
Court
Certified addiction specialists work for the AOC to provide the judge with recommendations for
Drug
structured treatment plans. Court staff are in constant communication with treatment providers to
keep the judges advised of available treatment slots. Staff works with multi-disciplinary agencies
to provide coordinated management, monitoring and evaluation of the system.
Excerpt from testimony by Charles at
Drug Court graduation ceremony.
Someone told me dont give up. I didnt
give up. I kept on fighting. I kept on
pushing. Every time I kept falling on my
face. My judge didnt give up on me
because I didnt give up on myself and
now Im here today to thank you, Judge
Evans . . . I like him today, he saved my
life, he really has . . . (Life) is beautiful. I
want to live like normal people live.
Today I got a steady job; today I got a
checking account, today I got a savings
Mike Bridenback, Governor Bush and Chief Judge Alvarez
account. Today on my job I handle cash
with Drug Court Staff.
money. Today, I am somebody.
A drug court establishes an environment that the participants can understand a system in which
clear choices are presented and individuals are encouraged to take control of their own recovery.
More than 2,600 offenders receive intensive judicial and community supervision, in
addition to drug treatment and regular testing.
25
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
2000 Annual Report

ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE COURTS
Drug Court Divisions were created for the more serious drug offenders who requested treatment
and agreed to plea to the charges against them. It is the largest drug court in Florida and was the
second post sentence drug court established in the nation. The first division was established in
1994; it was expanded to a second division in 1998.
In March 2001, these divisions had 2,291 cases involving 2,325 defendants.
Pre-trial Intervention, established in 1992, is designed to deal with first time defendants. Before
participants can enter this 12-18 month diversionary program, they must be willing to waive their
right to a speedy trial and be approved by a multi-disciplinary panel, which includes the State
Attorneys Office, Department of Corrections and the treatment agency. The Department of
Corrections dedicates five officers to this program.
The majority of defendants who enter the
67% of participants in PTI graduate, which
program successfully complete this
exceeds the national average. Recidivism rates
diversionary program. The leading reasons
indicate that 81% of graduates are not
for termination include recommendation of
rearrested.
the treatment provider or by request of the
offender.
Juvenile Drug Court was initiated in 1996 as the first diversionary program in Florida to address
the problem of substance abuse among youth. To be eligible for this diversionary program, the
youth must have no history of prior felony arrests, must waive the right to a speedy trial and have
an adult support unit. The teen must be willing to commit to a 12-month contract, which includes a
minimum 10-month treatment program.
Successful completion of the program includes clean urine screens for six months, completion of
court sanctions, enrolled in school or employed if education is completed and no other pending
charges.
Statistical reviews indicate that more than 85% of
graduates from Juvenile Drug Court do not
re-enter the criminal justice system.
Given the rapid growth of the aging population and the needs for improving access to the courts
for our senior citizens, AOC established the first Elder Justice Center, EJC, in the nation in 1999.
Center
The mission of this program is to remove barriers and enhance linkages between older adults, the
court system and medical, social and legal services. The goals include:
Justice

providing a designated facility,

coordinating access to existing agencies,

providing public education, and
Elder

providing short term case management service.
Through grant funding from the Retirement Research Foundation, EJC is working with the
University of South Florida on a three-year research project related to the elderly involved in court
proceedings.
26
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
2000 Annual Report



ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE COURTS
Staff has made more than 100 presentations at senior expos and other community forums about the
services at the EJC, guardianship prevention and the prevention of re-victimization of crime. Judge Susan
Sexton, April Hill, former EJC Program Coordinator, and Angie Smith, Senior Court Operations Consultant,
presented Establishing an Elder Justice Center, at the Florida Conference of Circuit Judges. A similar
training event was presented by Joan Montagno, EJC Program Coordinator, and Angie Smith at the
National TRIAD Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Staff reviewed 1,393 cases from the Guardianship
Division in 2000 and provided recommendations to
the judge for court action when deemed
appropriate.
Staff talked with more than 3,500 seniors, care
givers, social workers and members of the
community since its inception in October 1999.
In Florida, 80% of all family law cases have at
Unit
least one party who does not have an attorney.
This self-help program was created in 1995 to
ake
provide support to the judiciary and Pro Se
Int
litigants involved in family law issues; in 1998
the unit was expanded to include assistance
Family
with dependency issues. Thirty-six packets
with step-by-step instructions are available to
assist the parties in navigating procedurally
through the court system. Staff members
screen cases and review files for correct
pleadings and related legal documents in
accordance with the law to allow judges to
hear their case in a more timely and effective
manner.
When asked if they would use the Family
Intake Unit to help them if they had to do their
case over, 83% of survey respondents said
they would choose this program rather than
an attorney.
FAST FACTS ABOUT FAMILY INTAKE UNIT
The number of Pro Se
Walk-in Issues
litigants seeking help,
including walk-ins and
1997 1998 1999 2000
telephone assistance
Custody 413 579 1,042 1,560
increased almost 15% from
Dissolution 1,952 2,789 3,982 4,664
Name Change 169 186 277 294
last year, to 27,445. Staff also
Paternity 206 419
assisted Pro Se litigants by
Support 638 981 2,143 2,915
setting 2,660 cases for
Visitation 199 274 413 603
hearings in the Family Law
Misc. 4,406 3,326 2,345 3,313
TOTAL 7,777 8,135 10,408 13,768
Division.
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
27
2000 Annual Report


ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE COURTS
Representing the best interest of Hillsborough
Countys abused, abandoned and neglected
Litem
children throughout their involvement with the
ad
legal system, volunteers are recruited, trained and
supervised by this program.
Volunteer responsibilities include:
Guardian

investigating backgrounds of the child
and family,

working with agencies that provide
services,

protecting the child from insensitive
FAST FACTS ABOUT GUARDIAN AD LITEM
questioning,
195 active volunteers carried a caseload of 327

acting as the childs spokesperson,
cases in 2000.

presenting written court reports.
77 new volunteers were certified in 2000.
The program held the Second Annual Recognition Banquet to honor volunteers and program
supporters. Lynn Adams, volunteer since 1996, was recognized as the GAL of the Year; Freda Williams
received the Judges Award. The Hillsborough County Bar Association and the Guardian ad Litem
Guild held their annual Barrister Charity Ball in March 2000 at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel.
This black tie event benefits the GAL program. As tradition dictates, the program held its annual
Holiday Toy Drive in December at Sacred Heart Academy. Thousands of toys were donated by
employees of USAA, GTE, the Temple Terrace Police Department and Paula Jackson Triumph
Moto-Guzzi.
Staff of the Indigent Screening Unit provides judges with financial information to assist in the
determination of eligibility for services for the Public Defender or county funding for domestic violence
and
treatment and monitoring. ISU staff visits three jail locations to interview staff and complete affidavits
of indigency and application for appointment of the Public Defender. In addition, they interview
Unit
defendants via video teleconference and telephone to determine eligibility for county funding to take
anger management classes determined by Hillsborough County guidelines.
Center
Screening Aid
In 2000, ISU interviewed 23,768 defendants.
itness
Indigent W
Staff of the Witness Aid Center provides information on the status of trials and court appearances
regarding any changes affecting their appearance in circuit, county, juvenile and traffic courts.
The amount of time spent waiting in court is reduced by the WAC, which reduces the payments by
Hillsborough County for witness appearances. In addition, they assist civilians and law
enforcement with mileage reimbursement and witness fees after appearance.
Witness Aid Center contacted citizens and law enforcement 385,364 times in 2000.
In addition to these services, these staff members assist citizens by providing information and
directions at the Information Booth in the Courthouse Annex. Estimates indicate more than 65,000
people are assisted from this location each year.
28
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
2000 Annual Report


ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE COURTS
With several alternatives to the formal court
process for first-time juvenile misdemeanant
offenders, referrals for these programs are received
Programs
from the judge or the State Attorneys Office.
Specific sanctions address the needs of individual
defendants and families. Major advantages of this
example of restorative justice is that restitution for
the victims is always collected in full, defendants
Diversionary
are required to make an apology, as well as serve
meaningful community service work.
Juvenile
Teen Court students assist in Virtual Trial Courtroom
opening ceremony.
In recognition of outstanding student volunteers, this program hosted their annual awards ceremony
in May 2000. Three students received awards:

Mike Everitt, Bloomingdale High School

Bo Banwo, Blake High School

Fred Coleman, Brandon High School
Theda James, Assistant Public Defender, and Pam Leonard, Court Counselor, were both recognized for
their outstanding contributions to the program since its inception.
The gateway offense for teens is shoplifting. Petit theft was the most
commonly alleged crime, representing 60% of referrals.
Juvenile Arbitration includes staff and certified arbitrators who hear cases of first-time offenders and
determine appropriate sanctions, which typically include victim restitution, community service and
educational assignments. Each case is reviewed every five weeks to assess compliance with the
specific sanctions.
Arbitration received 3,000 referrals in 2000, representing 28%
of complaints filed in the Delinquency Division.
Sanctions each month averaged 965 community service work hours.
Teen Court provides alternative sanctions to offenders by using volunteer attorneys to serve as judges
and student volunteers to serve as attorneys, bailiffs, clerks and jurors. Referrals received are from
school-related offenses. The State Attorneys Office and the Public Defenders Office assisted with
twelve training sessions for the student volunteers. To ensure that juries were a realistic peer group, a
JV court was established to encourage middle school students to take an active role in this
diversionary program.
29
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
2000 Annual Report


ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE COURTS
With a marked departure from traditional presentation of demonstrative evidence, Teen Court
volunteers demonstrated the new technology now available for use at the unveiling of the Virtual Trial
Courtroom in May 2000. These teenagers participated in a mock trial which focused on civil litigation
of medical malpractice.
516 students, representing 40 Hillsborough County public and private schools, volunteered
3,250 hours in Teen Court.
SHOCK Education provides alternative sanctions for first- and second-time offenders to take a look at
the non-glamorous side of crime and delinquent behavior; this program also accepts referrals from
parents concerned that their child is at risk. More than 20 private and nonprofit agencies from the
community assist in these presentations. Utilizing the expertise of these community agencies,
subjects addressed included drugs, guns, violence, death, incarceration, sex, goal setting and family
issues. Parents are offered a support group while the children participate in the program.
231 youths were referred to the SHOCK program in 2000, representing a 243% increase from the
year before. 137 youths graduated.
Trained mediators work with parties involved in
disputes to help them reach a mutually acceptable
resolution of the dispute. Mediation offers people a
Services
means for peacefully settling disputes outside the
courtroom. To do so is often less stressful and costly
for all parties and it frees judicial officers and
courtrooms for other cases. In celebration of Mediation
Diversion
Week, program staff promoted the mediation services
provided by the court by distributing brochures and
and
information on the Franklin Street Mall in November
2000. At their annual recognition breakfast, Paul
McGuire, Deputy Director of Mediation, received the
Joseph Klienbaum Memorial Award, while James Kelly,
Mediation
contract mediator, received the Robert A. Baker
Memorial Award.
In May 2000, the Family Law Section of the Hillsborough County Bar Association presented their
highest award, the Peacemaker Award, to Marty Merrell, Senior Court Operations Consultant.
Circuit Civil Diversion Program utilizes Supreme Court certified circuit mediators to resolve claims in
excess of $15,000 in value. The parties select the mediators and pay the mediator on an hourly basis.
FAST FACTS ABOUT CIRCUIT CIVIL MEDIATION
Referrals
676
Hearings
507
Resolved
299
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
30
2000 Annual Report

ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE COURTS
Community Mediation originally known as the Citizen Dispute Settlement Program, was created in 1978
to give Hillsborough County residents the ability to resolve disputes prior to seeking relief through the
courts. This program is free and there is no claim limit.
FAST FACTS ABOUT COMMUNITY MEDIATION
Referrals
1,687
Hearings
360
Resolved
214
County Civil and Small Claims referrals are the result of actions less than $15,000. County Civil cases
exceed $5,000, while small claims cases are less than $5,000. Mediators are available in the courtrooms at
the pre-trial hearings; as cases are referred by the judge, mediators take the parties to a conference room
to assist them in resolving the case. While there is no charge for small claims mediations, each party in
County Civil cases must pay $50.
FAST FACTS ABOUT COUNTY AND SMALL CLAIMS
Referrals
3,163
Hearings
2,096
Resolved
1,021
Dependency Mediation was established through grant funding in 1994 to assist families to discuss issues
and to make informed, realistic plans for the children involved in court proceedings. Issues mediated
include:
adjudication of dependency,

case plan issues, such as counseling, drug evaluation, psychological evaluation, and
parenting classes,

placement and/or visitation, and

termination of parental rights.
Mediators in this program have received specialized training as required by the Florida Supreme Court.
There is no charge for participants in this program. A new brochure was developed to help participants
understand the mediation process in 2000.
FAST FACTS ABOUT DEPENDENCY MEDIATION
Referrals
268
Hearings
206
Resolved
145
Family Mediation was originally created in 1984 to provide services for post-judgment custody and
visitation cases. It has expanded over the years to provide a full range of services, including prejudgment
dissolution, post-judgment and temporary relief. Issues mediated include:

custody and visitation,

child support and alimony,

use and disposition of the marital home,

parenting responsibility,

distribution of assets and liabilities, and

grandparents rights.
31
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
2000 Annual Report



ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE COURTS
Fees are based on a sliding scale and range from $30 per person to $110 per person but can be waived
upon the courts determination of indigence.
FAST FACTS ABOUT FAMILY MEDIATION
Referrals 4,139
Hearings 2,159
Resolved 1,692
Guardianship Mediation assists parties to find viable
solutions, while preserving family relationships.
Specific issues addressed are placement and the
ability of the ward to handle their own personal or
financial affairs. Fees are paid through grant funding.
Peer Mediation began in Hillsborough County Schools
Diane Williams distributes information celebrating
in 1993. Since 1995, AOC has been a prime sponsor of
Mediation Week.
the Students Talking Out Problems (STOP) Conference
which salutes these students and offers them support
through professional training.
Rendering support to the judiciary and AOC staff, this department oversees and provides technical
support to all voice, video and data communication within the courts complex. In addition, Court
Communications and Technology Services, CCTS, researches and implements new technologies to
Services
improve current business practices of the court. Areas of responsibilities include:

administration and development of the courts Local Area Network,

maintenance of the computer learning lab,

installation and training on all software and hardware applications,
Technology

administration and training on telephones and fax machines, and
and

support with audio and video services and video conferencing.
The technologically enhanced judicial system was unveiled on May 1, 2000, in Courtroom 1 in the Main
Courthouse. This Virtual Trial Courtroom is seamlessly integrated, which means the technology is not
immediately apparent, maintaining the courtrooms dignity and decorum.
Communications
From the courts perspective, Judge Bonanno
told people at the opening of the Virtual Trial
Courtroom, technology will absolutely speed up
Court
the trial process and will offer a more effective
presentation of the case. The benefits of a
computer-integrated courtroom will be most
advantageous for judges. Gaining access to
modern, technological information process tools
will provide much greater efficiency.
Judge Bonnano talks about technology issues in our
circuit to members of the Bar Association.
Another highlight for CCTS in 2000 was the implementation of the Drug Court Case Management System,
which began Phase One in July. This software application is Internet-based, which will enable judges,
providers and staff to have up-to-date information on an offender at their fingertips.
32
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
2000 Annual Report



ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE COURTS
As technology has become an integral part of the AOC operations, other jurisdictions come to Tampa to tour
the facilities. Many of the services located in the Virtual Trial Courtroom are accessible in other courtrooms,
and are also visible in court programs, such as the Childrens Justice Center and Indigency Screening Unit.
The Childrens Justice Center is moving away from videotape technology to a video server. Indigent Screening
Unit has capitalized on available technology with the use of video court and in the application of video
visitations. They have dial in capabilities for inmate interviews at the Falkenburg Jail.
The most evident services can be seen at:
Childrens Justice Center,
Preliminary Presentation or Video Arraignments,
Video Detentions, and
Courts Business Center
Other areas that provide invaluable support include:
Case Management systems for programs, such as Witness Aid, Childrens Justice Center,
and Drug Court,
LAN system, and
Involvement in the design and implementation of the Comprehensive Court System, which
electronically links all related agencies to share information.
The focal point for coordinating services provided by
CCTS, the Help Desk provides assistance with:
Desk

audio/video support,
Help

computer training,

fax equipment and servicing,

jail video courtroom support,

local area network,

teleconferencing,

telephone installation and support,

video courtroom and,

video courtroom technical support.
91% of staff responding to a satisfaction survey
reported they were very satisfied or satisfied with
services by Help Desk staff.
A public/private partnership between the AOC and a private vendor, this document management center
maintains and services all copiers within the courthouse complex, as well as operating a full-service
Center
document production center. Services are generally available for
both the public and court personnel. Some of the services available
through the CBC include:
Business

document consulting services,
s

document, design creation and layout,

scanning services,
Court

copying, binding and laminating documents,

audio/visual equipment rental for the courtroom,

video duplication, and

mail services.
CBC staff work with Public Information Office to
produce videos.
With the creation of the newest court program, the Office of Public Information, production of multimedia
presentations has been an excellent example of the public/private partnership.
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
33
2000 Annual Report





ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE COURTS
Services provided by Hillsborough County
departments, including Facilities, Real Estate,
Architectural Services and Security are coordinated
Facilities
and managed through this department. In addition,
trade workers and administrative support personnel
are responsible for:
Court

coordinating of parking,

coordinating of all moves,

coordinating of requests for
assistance related to the Americans
with Disabilities Act,

renovating courtrooms and
office space,

wiring for audio/visual support.
Juan Tirado renovates new space
for the CJC.
Court Facilities staff constructed new courtrooms in the
Juvenile Dependency Division. They also renovated
space for the expansion of the Childrens Justice Center.
During 2000, several steps toward the Court Facilities
Project were accomplished. With the assistance of an
architect consultant, justice system organizations have
been involved in planning the new courthouse complex to
allow for the necessary expansion. The duration of the
Attorney
courthouse renovation project, which began in 1998, is
expected to extend through 2007 and will involve major
tate S
phases planned to provide an incremental transition and
avoid disruption of court system operations. In the early
fall of 2000, a construction manager was selected to
complete a new six-story Family/Civil Court Building,
which will house family law courts, civil courts,
Twiggs Street building was
guardianship, probate & trust courts, and related court
renovated in 2000.
programs. The site for the new courthouse was cleared in
the spring of 2001. Renovations of the 700 Twiggs Street
Building were completed in 2000, which allowed the
Public Defender to relocate her offices during the summer
months.
Chief Judge surveys demolition
Edgecomb demolition began in spring 2001.
site before operating the crane.
34
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
2000 Annual Report



ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE COURTS
The Thirteenth Judicial Circuit has traditionally received funding from diversified sources, including
revenue from the State of Florida and Hillsborough County. In general, the state budget operates on a
Affairs
continuation process and the county works on a modified zero base budget. The funding source
dictates the fiscal year; Hillsborough County operates from October-September; State of Florida
operates from July-June.
Fiscal
State revenue accounted for more than 40% of funding for the circuit and county courts, while
Hillsborough County provided 23% of the allocated funds. Although Trust Funds and grant funds
represent only 20% of the budget, this category of funding has continued to increase each fiscal year
with the rise in Fine & Forfeiture revenue.
FINANCIAL SUMMARY 2000/2001
Sources
Funding
State Funds
$11,607,341
County Funds
$ 6,743,667
Fine & Forfeiture/Local Criminal Justice Trust Funds
$ 5,699,704
State & Local Trust Funds
$ 3,963,327
Grants & Donations
$ 1,351,883
TOTAL SOURCES
$ 29,365,922
Expenditures
$ 19,567,043
Compensation
Court Appointed Attorneys and
$ 5,674,494
Court Reporter Costs
$ 3,933,485
Other Operating Costs
Capital Equipment &
$ 190,900
Court Improvement
TOTAL EXPENDITURES
$ 29,365,922
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
35
2000 Annual Report

ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE COURTS
State Funds
County Funds
Salaries and benefits of:
Operating expenses of judicial offices, operational
costs of Court Administration, legal research

judges and judicial assistants,
support for judges, technology support and Court

law clerks,
Business Center operations salary and benefits of:

positions in Court Administration,

positions in Family Intake Unit,
including family court support positions,
Child Custody Investigations,
Alternative Sanctions Coordinator, Guardian
Guardian ad Litem, Indigent
ad Litem and Indigency Examiner, Public
Screening Unit, Elder Justice
Guardianship Program operations, partial funding
Center, Drug Court treatment
of court reporter costs, Civil Traffic Infraction
programs, Domestic Violence
Hearing Officer costs, Drug Court Improvements
programs, Court appointed
and technology positions.
attorneys, court reporting and
court interpreters costs.
Court Trust Funds and Grants
Traffic Infraction Hearing Officer operations, Child Support Hearing Officer, Mediation and Diversion
programs, Teen Court support, court facility maintenance, renovations and improvements, juvenile
protection programs, Elder Justice Center costs, partial funding of Article V costs.
The AOC will continue to rely on both county and state revenue to support court operations during the
next few years, but the legislation will affect operations at the local level if constituents are to continue
to receive the level of services currently provided.
Accounting
All revenue and expenditures are evaluated by staff in Fiscal Affairs to assure that court programs have
and
the necessary resources to meet their objectives. The major functions of this program include:

budgeting,
Budget

accounts payable,

fiscal monitoring,

special project evaluation, and

revenue analysis.
Balancing the requirement of funding sources, Fiscal Affairs works with representatives from the State
of Florida, Hillsborough County and grant providers.
Through ordinances or administrative orders, several funds have been established to reduce the costs
of court operations borne by the ad valorem taxpayer. Revenues are generated by specific fines and
fees; expenditures are restricted to the programs identified in the orders. In addition to working
closely with Court Personnel Resources, Fiscal Affairs provides oversight of contracts with agencies
that provide court reporting service, domestic violence treatment, psychological and psychiatric
evaluations for defendants and conflict attorneys.
99% of invoices were processed in
less than 6 days; 54% of invoices
were processed within 3 days.
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
36
2000 Annual Report



ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE COURTS
The attraction, retention and development of the
AOCs human resources are accomplished by
improving organizational effectiveness by recruiting
and hiring talented productive professionals. Other
Resources
responsibilities include:

establishing and communicating
clear and consistent employment
Personnel
policies and practices,

recognizing and valuing each
Court
individuals unique skills and
diverse abilities through
performance measures,

providing flexible employee
programs in conjunction with
competitive compensation and
Ralph Lazzara wins drawing during United Way Campaign.
benefit plans, and

empowering employees to
encourage teamwork, innovative
thinking and creative problem
solving.
The scope of responsibilities follows the career path of judges and employees from initial appointment or
hire up to and through retirement planning. Staff from CPR continued preparation for Article V funding
by serving on several statewide committees, including the Classification Committee and the Benefits
Committee.
Employee events in 2000 included:

Bring Your Child to Work Day,

United Way Fund Drive,

Sexual Harassment In-service Training, and

American Heart Walk.
Almost sixty children, ages 5-17, participated in Bring Your Child to Work Day. Ninety-seven percent of
children related they wanted to participate again; ninety-four percent of children rated the event most
satisfactory. The students toured the courthouse and witnessed a mock trial, Humpty Dumpty vs.
Sherman King, which was coordinated by Joan Montagno, Elder Justice Center.
Ending with a hot dog lunch, staff raised almost $12,000 for the United Way through contributions,
payroll deduction pledges and special events. CPR staff organized basket raffles to increase participa-
tion of employees.
FY 1999/2000 Statistics
182
AOC Employees
49
Judges
26
Recruitments
99
Applications Processed
18
New Hires
29
Resignations
178
Benefit Actions
37
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
2000 Annual Report




EMPLOYEE RECOGNITION BANQUET
Almost 200 people were on hand at the Centro Asturiano
to celebrate the accomplishments of our employees at
the annual recognition luncheon on May 11, 2001. This
years theme, Who Wants to be a Court Employee?,
provided a backdrop for entertainment during the
celebration. Warren Elly, WTVT FOX 13 news reporter,
received the Chief Judges award based on his contribu-
tion to the
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit.
The Chief Judge and the Court Administrator select one
person each year to receive the Leadership Award. This
years recipient was David Rowland, Legal Department.
Other nominations from employees for individual
categories are received prior to the event and screened
to ensure they meet the criteria specified in the award.
The Nominating Committee, comprising a diverse
representation of employees, reflecting our organiza-
tional culture, reviewed each of the nominations and
made recommendations to the Court Administrator for
final selection. The recipients of awards for contribu-
tions in 2000 were:
Janet Worthington received Employee of the
Year Award.

Helping Hand - Jose Robles, Court Facilities

Outstanding Publication - Heather Thullbery and Kirby Jungers, Court Personnel
Resources

Quality of Excellence - Darren Alfonso, Elder Justice Center

Innovative - Jeanette Munoz, Mediation Services

Teamwork - Law Week Courthouse Tours Committee

Risk Taker - Angie Smith, Office of Public Information

Most Valuable Player - Elvira Pisacane, Fiscal Affairs

Tessie Rosette/Judicial Assistant - Sharron Cosby

Employee of the Year - Janet Worthington, Office of Public Information
Staff from the Guardian ad Litem program and Fiscal Affairs
battle in Family Feud.
Judge Maye and Judge Pomponio hosted the event, playing
Lets Make a Deal.
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
38
2000 Annual Report



COURTS IN THE COMMUNITY
Judges and staff have participated in community events in an effort to demystify the court process
and to develop a greater awareness of the activities surrounding the court. We have highlighted a few
of these efforts.
Ten employees utilized administrative leave
to volunteer for community service programs
outlined in the Governors Mentoring
Initiative. Almost twenty judges and staff
participated in the Great American Teach-In
during American Education Week in
November 2000.
Working with members of the Hillsborough
County Bar Association, the traditional
courthouse tours for fifth grade students in
Hillsborough County continued during Law
Week. Hillsborough County Security made
special arrangements to accommodate the
more than 1,600 elementary students who
were interested in learning more about the
Students visit Preliminary Presentation Court during Law Week.
daily operations of the court.
Judges and staff are involved in justice system organizations which promote public trust and
confidence in the system. Judge James Dominguez serves as Chairman of the Hillsborough County
Public Safety Coordinating Council; the PSCC is a committee of community volunteers that reports to
the Board of County Commissioners regarding public safety in Hillsborough County. Standing
committees of the PSCC are the Alternatives to Incarceration and the Jail Population Forecasting
Subcommittees; temporary committees such as Violence in School Subcommittee are convened when
appropriate.
Other examples of service in justice system organizations include: Marshall Farkas, General Master,
was elected to serve as president of the Tampa Family Law Inn of Court for the 2000-2001 year; Joe
Navarra, as a member of the Judiciary Committee of the National Child Support Enforcement
Association, presented Genetic Test Excluding Person Previously Legally Established as the Father
at their annual conference in San Diego.
The Justice Files, a monthly news magazine
television program, is hosted by Lisa Davis,
Childrens Justice Center, and Charles
Hanna, Legal Department. Each show
features several segments about court
programs or related activities to educate
Hillsborough Countys citizens; the show
also features a game show segment, Beyond
a Reasonable Doubt, hosted by Rick Melendi,
Central Office.
Rick Melendi hosts Beyond a Reasonable Doubt on The
Justice Files.
Volunteers from various court programs conduct courthouse tours during Law Week and other
scheduled times. Students and other community groups contact the Central Office to request tours,
which include observation of court proceedings and interaction with staff members from various court
programs.
39
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
2000 Annual Report



IN MEMORIAM
The Honorable Diana Allen
1945-2000
Hillsborough Circuit Court Judge for almost a decade, the Honorable Diana Allen died on July 29, 2000, at
H. Lee Moffit Cancer Center. The 55-year-old judge was best known for dispensing justice in the criminal
division, although she was assigned to the family law division when she began her career.
Elected to the circuit bench in 1990, Judge Allen had earned a reputation prosecuting sex crimes in the
State Attorneys Office in the early 1980s. She worked six years as an assistant state attorney and after a
series of promotions that landed her the position of Chief, Major Crimes Division, she left the public arena
and entered private practice for seven years before donning the traditional black robe that accompanied
her job as a judge.
A lifetime member of the Hillsborough United Methodist Church, Judge Allen is survived by her husband,
Bill Brown, and their two children. Her friends and colleagues throughout the courthouse and community
will miss her.
Harry Lee Coe
1932-2000
A public servant for three decades, State Attorney Harry Lee Coe, III, died on July 13, 2000.
Joining the State Attorneys Office in 1964, he served as an assistant prosecutor. Three years later, he
became the first attorney for the Hillsborough County Juvenile Court and was later named Chief Assistant
County Solicitor. Beginning in 1970, Harry Lee Coe, III, became Judge Coe, a name which remained with
him until his death. First a judge for the Criminal Court of Record and later a circuit court judge, he held
this position for more than two decades. He left the bench to pursue a career as the chief prosecutor in
Hillsborough County and was sworn in as State Attorney of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit on January 5,
1993. Re-elected in 1996, Harry Lee Coe served our community in this capacity until his death.
Instrumental in the development of our circuits legal community, the loss was devastating to judges,
attorneys, AOC staff and the public.
40
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
2000 Annual Report


For more information about us,
log onto: www.fljud13.org


CHIEF JUDGE
F. DENNIS ALVAREZ
(813) 272 - 5022
COURT ADMINISTRATOR
MIKE BRIDENBACK
(813) 272-5894
Editor: Angie Smith
Assistant Editor: Janet Worthington
Layout Editor: Lori Dittle
Editorial Staff: Carolyn Cremata,
Trena Gaston, Jill Ibell, Paula MacDonald,
Joan Montagno, Debbie Northington,
Debbie Tracy and Trish Waterman
419 PIERCE STREET
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