Florida Senate - 2010 SB 2636
By Senator Siplin
1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to the state judicial system; amending
3 s. 2.01, F.S.; construing application of the common
4 and statute laws of England to this state; amending s.
5 25.382, F.S.; revising a definition; expanding the
6 list of recipients required to be provided a certain
7 annual report of the Florida Supreme Court; specifying
8 a required use of such report; requiring the Supreme
9 Court to develop a plan for certain civics promotion
10 and judicial branch education purposes; requiring an
11 annual plan implementation report; specifying report
12 recipients and uses; requiring the Supreme Court to
13 submit to certain recipients all final reports
14 completed by certain committees; specifying uses of
15 such reports; requiring the Auditor General and the
16 Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government
17 Accountability to conduct biennial full audit reviews
18 and examinations of the state courts system; requiring
19 reports; specifying recipients of the reports;
20 amending s. 26.012, F.S.; specifying certain
21 additional jurisdiction of circuit courts;
22 establishing certain divisions within each judicial
23 circuit for certain purposes; providing for
24 administration of the divisions; amending s. 43.20,
25 F.S.; correcting a cross-reference; increasing
26 membership of the Judicial Qualifications Commission;
27 revising expenses authorization for the commission;
28 requiring the commission to hire staff for each
29 commission panel; providing requirements for staff
30 committees for commission panels; requiring reports of
31 staff committees; specifying recipients of the reports
32 for certain purposes; designating such reports as
33 public records; requiring the commission to adopt
34 rules; requiring the Auditor General and the Office of
35 Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability
36 to conduct biennial full audit reviews and
37 examinations of the commission; requiring reports;
38 specifying recipients of the reports; specifying
39 application of certain provisions; providing an
40 effective date.
42 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
44 Section 1. Section 2.01, Florida Statutes, is amended to
46 2.01 Common law and certain statutes declared in force.—
47 (1) The common and statute laws of England which are of a
48 general and not a local nature, with the exception hereinafter
49 mentioned, down to the 4th day of July, 1776, are declared to be
50 of force in this state to the extent such common and statute
51 laws are
; provided, the said statutes and common law be not
52 inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States
53 and the acts of the Legislature of this state.
54 (2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), provisions including,
55 but not limited to, the following are declared to be of force in
56 this state:
57 (a) Those clearly expressed, or obviously and reasonably
58 implied without clear expression, in the language and wording of
59 the acts of the Legislature.
60 (b) Those that provide for rights and claims in tort
61 liability for acts committed directly or indirectly involving
62 judicial and administrative proceedings. In such cases,
63 litigation privilege or judicial, qualified, or absolute
64 immunity and similar privileges and immunities are not and may
65 not be considered as viable or valid defenses.
66 (c) Those relating to claims for or defenses of abuse of
67 process, malicious prosecution, and fraud upon the court, also
68 known as extrinsic fraud, that must be strictly enforced. In
69 such cases, litigation privilege or judicial, qualified, or
70 absolute immunity and similar privileges and immunities are not
71 and may not be considered as viable or valid defenses.
72 (d) Those relating to criminal offenses under 18 U.S.C. ss.
73 241 and 242 and claims under 42 U.S.C. ss. 1983, 1985, 1986, and
74 1988, as prescribed by federal statutes and the decisions of the
75 federal courts.
76 Section 2. Subsections (1) and (4) of section 25.382,
77 Florida Statutes, are amended, and subsections (5), (6), and (7)
78 are added to that section, to read:
79 25.382 State courts system.—
80 (1) As used in this section, “state courts system” means
81 all officers, employees, and divisions of the Supreme Court,
82 district courts of appeal, circuit courts, and county courts,
83 also known as the judicial branch of state government.
84 (4) The Supreme Court shall ensure that clearly written
85 policies, procedures, and goals for the recruitment, selection,
86 promotion, and retention of minorities, including minority
87 women, are established throughout all levels of the judicial
88 system. An annual report shall be submitted to the Chief Justice
89 outlining progress, problems, and corrective actions relating to
90 the implementation of this plan shall be submitted to the Chief
91 Justice, the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the
92 Speaker of the House of Representatives. Three copies of the
93 report shall be submitted to each legislative substantive and
94 appropriations committee having jurisdiction over state courts
95 or judicial matters. The report shall be used for legislative
96 interim projects.
97 (5) The Supreme Court shall ensure that clearly written
98 policies, procedures, and goals are developed into a plan for
99 promoting civics for residents of this state, together with
100 education concerning the judicial branch in order to develop
101 trust and confidence in the state’s judicial system. An annual
102 report outlining progress, problems, and corrective actions
103 relating to the implementation of this plan shall be submitted
104 to the Chief Justice, the Governor, the Cabinet, the President
105 of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
106 Three copies of the report shall be submitted to each
107 legislative substantive and appropriations committee having
108 jurisdiction over state courts or judicial matters. The report
109 shall be used for legislative interim projects.
110 (6) The Supreme Court shall submit all final reports
111 completed by assigned court committees, whether by rule or
112 order, dating from 2000 and thereafter, as follows: one copy
113 each to the Governor, the Cabinet, the President of the Senate,
114 and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and three copies
115 to each legislative substantive and appropriations committee
116 having jurisdiction over state courts or judicial matters. The
117 reports may be used for legislative interim projects.
118 (7) Pursuant to ss. 11.45(2)(a), 11.51(1), and 11.513(5),
119 the Auditor General and the Office of Program Policy Analysis
120 and Government Accountability shall conduct a full audit review
121 and examination of the state courts system and prepare a report
122 containing appropriate recommendations. The audit must be
123 conducted every 2 years beginning July 1, 2011, in accordance
124 with the full authority and responsibilities conferred upon the
125 Auditor General and the Office of Program Policy Analysis and
126 Government Accountability by general law. The report and
127 recommendations must be submitted within 1 year after the audit
128 to the chair and vice chair of the Legislative Budget
129 Commission, the chair and vice chair of the Legislative Auditing
130 Committee, the Governor, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme
132 Section 3. Subsection (1) of section 26.012, Florida
133 Statutes, is amended, and subsection (6) is added to that
134 section, to read:
135 26.012 Jurisdiction of circuit court.—
136 (1) Circuit courts shall have jurisdiction of appeals from
137 county courts except appeals of county court orders or judgments
138 declaring invalid a state statute or a provision of the State
139 Constitution and except orders or judgments of a county court
140 which are certified by the county court to the district court of
141 appeal to be of great public importance and which are accepted
142 by the district court of appeal for review. Circuit courts shall
143 have jurisdiction of interlocutory appeals from orders on
144 motions to dismiss, for final dismissal, and for summary
145 judgment rendered in cases in which a circuit court has
146 exclusive original jurisdiction. Circuit courts shall have
147 jurisdiction of appeals from final administrative orders of
148 local government code enforcement boards.
149 (6) The following special divisions of judicial circuits
150 are created:
151 (a) Unified family courts.—A unified family division is
152 established in each judicial circuit for the purpose of
153 consolidating cases and integrating subject matter pertaining to
154 children and their families who are parties or persons of
155 interest in proceedings or matters under chapters 39, 61, and
156 63, s. 68.07, and chapters 88, 741, 742, 743, 984, 985, and
157 1003. Each judicial circuit shall administer the division as
158 prescribed by general law or s. 43.30 for the resolution of
159 disputes involving children and families through a fully
160 integrated, comprehensive approach that includes coordinated
161 case management; the concept of “one family, one judge”;
162 collaboration with the community for referral to needed
163 services; and methods of alternative dispute resolution.
164 (b) Teen courts.—A teen division is established in each
165 judicial circuit for the purpose of administering teen courts as
166 provided by s. 938.19. Each judicial circuit shall administer
167 the division as prescribed by general law or s. 43.30.
168 (c) Drug and mental health courts.—A drug and mental health
169 division is established in each judicial circuit for the purpose
170 of administering the programs under ss. 394.656, 394.658, and
171 397.334. Each judicial circuit shall administer the division as
172 prescribed by general law or s. 43.30.
173 Section 4. Subsections (1), (2), and (5) of section 43.20,
174 Florida Statutes, are amended, and subsections (6) and (7) are
175 added to that section, to read:
176 43.20 Judicial Qualifications Commission.—
177 (1) PURPOSE.—The purpose of this section is to implement s.
178 12(a) (b), Art. V of the State Constitution which provides for a
179 Judicial Qualifications Commission.
180 (2) MEMBERSHIP; TERMS.—The commission shall consist of 15
181 13 members. The members of the commission shall serve for terms
182 of 6 years.
183 (5) EXPENSES.—The compensation of members and their staff
184 and referees shall be the travel expense or transportation and
185 per diem allowance provided by s. 112.061. Other administrative
186 costs and expenses shall be appropriated under the state courts
188 (6) COMMISSION STAFF.—The commission shall hire separate
189 staff for each commission panel, which staff may be compensated
190 or may be provided by volunteer services.
191 (a) Staff for each commission panel must consist of at
192 least one designated staff committee of five common citizen
193 electors to assist and engage in the deliberations for each
194 panel of members of the commission in carrying out its powers
195 and duties. Such designated staff committee must consist of
196 persons who are not considered to be officers of the court. The
197 designated staff committee shall prepare a report of suggestions
198 or comments.
199 (b) The designated staff committee shall provide a copy of
200 the report of its suggestions or comments to:
201 1. The hearing panel upon submission of formal charges by
202 the commission’s investigative panel to assist the hearing panel
203 in its pending proceedings and final recommendations.
204 2. The Supreme Court, together with the recommendations of
205 the commission’s hearing panel, to assist the Supreme Court in
206 its final determination.
207 (c) The reports of the suggestions or comments of the
208 designated staff committee shall be public records and available
209 upon the final determination of any case rendered by any
210 commission panel.
211 (d) The commission shall adopt rules to implement this
213 (7) COMMISSION ACCOUNTABILITY AND EFFICIENCY.—Pursuant to
214 ss. 11.45(2)(a), 11.51(1), and 11.513(5), the Auditor General
215 and the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government
216 Accountability shall conduct a full audit review and examination
217 of the commission and prepare a report containing appropriate
218 recommendations. The audit must be conducted every 2 years
219 commencing July 1, 2011, in accordance with the full authority
220 and responsibilities conferred upon the Auditor General and the
221 Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability
222 by general law. The report and recommendations shall be
223 submitted within 1 year after the audit to the chair and vice
224 chair of the Legislative Budget Commission, the chair and vice
225 chair of the Legislative Auditing Committee, the Governor, and
226 the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
227 Section 5. The amendment to section 2.01, Florida Statutes,
228 made by this act applies retroactively and prospectively.
229 Section 6. This act shall take effect July 1, 2010.