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Knight v. Chief Judge of Florida's Twelfth Judicial Circuit

Florida Court of Appeals, Second District

December 27, 2017

THOMAS M. KNIGHT, SHERIFF OF SARASOTA COUNTY, Petitioner,
v.
CHIEF JUDGE OF FLORIDA'S TWELFTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT; and KAREN E. RUSHING, CLERK OF THE CIRCUIT COURT OF SARASOTA COUNTY, FLORIDA, Respondents.

         NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF FILED, DETERMINED

         Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the Circuit Court for Sarasota County; Charles E. Williams, Chief Judge.

          Patrick J. Duggan, Senior Assistant General Counsel, and Crystal L. Hansen, Assistant General Counsel, Sarasota, for Petitioner.

          Matthew J. Conigliaro of Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, P.A., Tampa, for Respondent Chief Judge of Florida's Twelfth Judicial Circuit.

          Bradley J. Ellis of Icard, Merrill, Cullis, Timm, Furen & Ginsburg, P.A., Sarasota, for Respondent Karen E. Rushing, Clerk of the Circuit Court of Sarasota County, Florida.

          Jason Vail of Jolly, Peterson & Truckenbroad, P.A., Tallahassee, for Amicus Curiae the Florida Sheriffs Association.

          Fred W. Baggett and M. Hope Keating of Greenberg Traurig, P.A., Tallahassee, for Amicus Curiae the Florida Association of Court Clerks.

          PER CURIAM.

         The Sheriff of Sarasota County petitions this court for certiorari review of portions of Administrative Order 2017-4.2, issued by the Chief Judge of Florida's Twelfth Judicial Circuit, that direct the Sheriff to secure court facilities. "This court has jurisdiction to review by certiorari a claim that a chief judge has exceeded his or her authority by issuing an administrative order." Holt v. Chief Judge of Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, 920 So.2d 814, 815 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006) (first citing 1-888-Traffic Sch. v. Chief Circuit Judge, Fourth Judicial Circuit, 734 So.2d 413 (Fla. 1999); then citing Hatcher v. Davis, 798 So.2d 765, 765-66 (Fla. 2d DCA 2001)). Because the Sheriff has not met his burden to show that the Chief Judge exceeded his authority by issuing the order, we deny the petition.

         The challenged portions of the administrative order require the Sheriff to provide security for certain court facilities where no sessions of court are held. According to the parties, these facilities largely house offices of the Clerk of the Sarasota Circuit Court, judicial chambers, court staff offices, and court-related administrative offices. With respect to these facilities, the Sheriff challenges the following provisions of the order:

The Sheriffs of the three counties of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit shall provide security for the court facilities of the circuit and county courts, their personnel, clerks' staff (acting as an arm of the judicial court in furtherance of court business), jurors, attorneys and the public who access court facilities. . . .
[With certain exceptions], all persons entering court facilities through public access portals shall be subject to identification verification and search. Searches shall be conducted at all points of public ingress under procedures established by the Sheriffs using personnel and equipment approved by them. Searches shall include the protocols, techniques, and equipment most likely to detect contraband, weapons, firearms, flammable, hazardous or toxic materials, bombs, biological and chemical agents. . . .
Persons refusing to be searched shall be denied access to court facilities. . . .
At the request of the Trial Court Administrator or his designee, the Sheriffs shall conduct initial and subsequent background and criminal history investigations on all persons to whom the Trial Court ...

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