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Judges for Criminal Cases in Pinellas County

Felony cases in the State of Florida are prosecuted in Circuit Court. Misdemeanor cases are prosecuted in County Court.

In Pinellas County, the clerk’s office will assign any felony or misdemeanor courtroom division at the time of the first arrest. As a general rule, if the defendant is arrested again, the defendant will be assigned to that same division in Circuit Court for felony cases or County Court for misdemeanor cases each time.

Cases are prosecuted at the Pinellas County Justice Center (CJC) located at 14250 49th Street North in Clearwater, FL. You can find out information about the case by searching the Pinellas County Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS).

The CJIS provides information about the judge, the criminal defense attorney, and the prosecutor assigned to the case, entries on the docket, upcoming court dates, and information about the final disposition.

Attorney for Criminal Cases in Pinellas County, FL

If you were arrested for a criminal offense in Pinellas County, FL, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm to find out more about how your case will be prosecuted.

We are familiar with the special procedures that vary from courtroom to courtroom. Each judge in Pinellas had their own preferences when it comes to how cases are handled.

Contact us for a free consultation to discuss the charges pending against you, the potential penalties for that offense, and the best defenses that can be used in your case to fight the charges.

To speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney for Pinellas County, FL, contact the attorneys at Sammis Law Firm.

Call 813-250-0500 today.


Circuit Court Judges in Pinellas County

Circuit judges serve six-year terms and are paid $160,688 a year. According to Administrative Order No. 2018-050 PI-CIR, beginning on January 8, 2019, the following judicial assignments for the criminal court sections in the Circuit Courts in Pinellas County take effect:

  • Section A – Judge Nancy Moate Ley
  • Section B  – Judge Michael F. Andrews
  • Section C  – Judge William H. Burgess
  • Section D  – Judge Joseph A. Bulone
  • Section I  – Judge Chris Helinger
  • Section J  – Judge Anthony Rondolino
  • Section K  – Judge Susan St. John
  • Section M – Judge Philip J. Federico
  • Section N – Judge Kimberly Todd
  • Section T – Judge Pat Siracusa
  • Section Z – Judge Kimberly Todd

Chief Judge Anthony Rondolino recently issued four administrative orders regarding the latest judicial assignments. The same judicial assignments were listed in Administrative Order No. 2020-049 for the Pinellas County Judicial Assignments for January 1, 2021, for PINELLAS COUNTY JUSTICE CENTER JUDICIAL ASSIGNMENTS in the criminal court sections.


County Court Judges in Pinellas County

Under Administrative Order No. 2020-036 PI-CTY, the following judicial assignments take effect on November 4, 2020, for county court misdemeanor cases:

  • Section E – Judge Dorothy Vaccaro
  • Section F – Judge Theodora C. Komninos
  • Section G – Judge Kathleen T. Hessinger
  • Section H – Judge Cathy McKyton
  • Section L – Judge Robert Dittmer
  • Section O – Judge Donald E. Horrox
  • Section R – Judge Holly T. Grissinger
    • All Domestic Violence Cases (including Violations of Probation)
  • Advisory #1 / Section P – Judge John D. Carballo for:
    • advisories, including all first appearance for domestic violence criminal cases;
    • arraignment hearings on Notices to Appear;
    • Local Ordinance Violations and non-criminal payable infractions; and
    • other duties assigned by the Court.
  • Advisory #2 – Judge Paul A. Levine for:
    • advisories;
    • arraignment hearings on Notices to Appear;
    • bond calendars;
    • Jimmy Ryce trials; and
    • other duties assigned by the Court.

Judges for Traffic Court Cases in Pinellas County, FL

Traffic Court cases at the North County Traffic Court in Section 51 and 52, are assigned to Judge Susan Bedinghaus. Cases filed in Pinellas County from the following agencies will be assigned to Sections 51 and 52 at the North County Traffic Facility:

  • Belleair Police Department
  • Clearwater Police Department
  • Largo Police Department
  • Tarpon Springs Police Department

Traffic Court cases at the South County Traffic Court at the Pinellas County Justice center are assigned to South County Traffic I – Judge Joseph Lawhorne for citations issued by any of the following agencies:

  • Bay Pines V.A. Police Service
  • Department of Transportation
  • Gulfport Police Department
  • Indian Shores Police Department
  • Kenneth City Police Department
  • Pinellas County Schools Police
  • Pinellas Park Police Department
  • Treasure Island Police Department
  • University of South Florida

Traffic Court cases at the South County Traffic Court at the Pinellas County Justice center are assigned to South County Traffic II – Judge Brett Szematowicz for citations issued by any of the following agencies:

  • Florida Highway Patrol
  • St Petersburg Police Department

Additionally, civil traffic infraction cases where a county judge is requested pursuant to Florida Rules of Traffic Court Rule 6.630(k) are assigned to Traffic I and II.

According to Administrative Order 2020-037 PI-CIR, cases filed in Pinellas County from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will be assigned to either the North County Traffic Facility or the Pinellas County Justice Center based on the assignment of the deputy, trooper, or officer issuing the citation.

Deputies, troopers, and officers will be assigned to either the North County Traffic Facility or the Pinellas County Justice Center in a manner that results in an even distribution of cases between Sections 51 and 52, South County Traffic I, and South County Traffic II.


Temporary Judicial Assignments in Pinellas County, FL

Since the COVID-19 crisis began, the dockets have become more crowded and the court’s resources have become more scarce. In order to judicial resources in a more cost-effective manner and to maximize the efficient administration of justice more flexibility was needed.

On October 1, 2020, the Honorable Anthony Rondolino, Chief Judge, entered an order regarding the appointment of Circuit Judges as acting County Judge, the appointment of County Judges as acting Circuit Judges, and the appointment of County Judges as acting County Judges in another county.

The order was intended to improve the prompt dispatch of the business of the circuit and county courts in the Sixth Judicial Circuit or Pasco County and Pinellas County by permitting circuit judges to be temporarily assigned to duty in the county court and that county judges be temporarily assigned to duty in the circuit court.

The order also allowed county judges in Pasco County to proceed temporarily and be assigned to duty in county court in Pinellas County, and
county judges in Pinellas County proceed temporarily and be assigned to duty in county court in Pasco County.

The order was not intended to divest a court of jurisdiction. Furthermore, the order has a limited duration because it is rescinded on March 31, 2021.


Additional Resources

List of Judges in Pinellas County – Visit the website of the Sixth Judicial Circuit to find a list of the judges, the judicial assignments, the calendar of the judges, the duty assignments, addresses, and phone numbers, divisions and sections, and the names of the judicial assistants. The website also provides information about the chief judge and links to the practice requirements published by individual judges. The practice requirements outline the preferences, policies, and procedures that apply to each judge and each courtroom. Find links to JAWS and the search features for the Clerk of County Court in Pinellas.

Now is as good a time as any to try to make clear the seemingly mind-boggling number of moves our judges have made in… Posted by Sixth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida on Thursday, December 3, 2020


This article was last updated on Thursday, December 3, 2020.

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