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Grand Jury Proceedings

COVID-19 Update: According to Administrative order S-2020-044, the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit will transition from Phase 1 to Phase 2 effective August 31, 2020. When it comes to jury proceedings, the administrative order provides:

[t]he current suspension of all grand jury proceedings will continue until October 5, 2020 on which date prospective grand jurors for the new grand jury term will be summoned.

If additional days need to be restored to the term of the already-impaneled grand jury in accordance with section III.A.(3) of Florida Supreme Court

Administrative Order AOSC20-23, Amendment 6 (August 12, 2020), the restoration of additional days will be accomplished via separate administrative order upon request of the state attorney.

For petit juries, the administrative order provides:

The current suspension of all petit jury selection proceedings and criminal jury trials will continue until October 19, 2020. Jury selection and jury trials will commence on all non-holiday weekdays effective October 19, 2020 for criminal cases only and will be based on a schedule that has been distributed to the judges and other stakeholders.


Florida’s Requirements for Grand Juries

The laws for grand juries in Florida are covered by Chapter 905 of the Florida Statutes. Under Chapter 905, the circuit court is given the following tasks:

  • trying any challenges to an individual grand juror or the panel (section 905.06);
  • excusing a grand juror related to a person being investigated (section 905.075);
  • appointing a foreperson and alternate foreperson of the grand jury (section 905.08);
  • extending the term of a grand jury upon proper petition (section 905.095);
  • charging the grand jurors concerning their duties after the grand jurors are sworn (section 905.11);
  • advising the grand jury about its legal duties when requested (section 905.18); and
  • authorizing disclosure of grand jury testimony in limited circumstances (section 905.27).

The best way to understand grand jury proceedings in Hillsborough County, FL, is to read Administrative Order S-2019-024 which supersedes Administrative Order S-2018-053. The effective date of the administrative order is January 7, 2020.

This article explains the procedures used for grand jury investigations in Tampa and Hillsborough County, FL.

Call the attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm, P.A., to discuss your case. Call (813) 250-0500.


Grand Jury Terms in Florida

In accordance with section 905.01(3), Florida Statutes, the grand jury in Hillsborough County, FL, will be convened for two terms each year.

Unless the chief judge directs otherwise, the chief judge will personally participate in the impaneling of each grand jury and will appoint the foreperson and alternate foreperson of each grand jury in accordance with section 905.08, Florida Statutes.

The administrative order authorizes the clerk to begin preparations for the summonsing of the next grand jury.

Unless the chief judge directs otherwise, the chief judge will personally
participate in the impaneling of each grand jury and will appoint the foreperson
and alternate foreperson of each grand jury in accordance with section 905.08,
Florida Statutes.

After that, the following circuit judges were assigned as delegates of the chief judge including:

  • January 7, 2020 – July 6, 2020 – The Honorable Richard A. Nielsen
  • July 7, 2020 – January 6, 2021 – The Honorable Caroline Tesche Arkin

This article was last updated on Monday, August 31, 2020.

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