IN THE CIRCUIT COURT, SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT

IN AND FOR PASCO AND PINELLAS COUNTIES, FLORIDA

 

ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 2006-006 PA/PI-CIR

 

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RE:†††† EN BANC CIRCUIT COURT APPELLATE PROCEDURES

 

††††††††††† While infrequent, there are times when two Sixth Judicial Circuit appellate panels reach conflicting decisions under similar facts.This may lead to uncertainty at the county court level on how to proceed on a particular point of law.In the absence of procedures to resolve conflicts among such decisions, the county court must make its independent decision.See State v. Lopez, 633 So.2d 1150, 1151 (Fla. 5th DCA 1994).

 

The purpose of this Administrative Order is to establish procedures to resolve a conflict within the appellate division of the Circuit Court, so that the appellate court provides uniformity in its decisions.††††

 

In order to promote uniformity in appellate decisions, to enhance judicial efficiency involving appeals to the Circuit Court, and pursuant to Rule of Judicial Administration 2.050, it is hereby

 

ORDERED:

 

††††††††††† (a)En Banc Proceedings on the Courtís own Initiative

 

1.A majority of the circuit appellate court three-judge panel participating in an assigned appeal may order that a proceeding before the court be determined en banc.

 

††††††††††† 2.En banc hearings shall not be ordered unless the case is of exceptional importance or unless necessary to maintain uniformity in the courtís decisions.

 

††††††††††† 3.If a determination is made that an appeal will be heard en banc, the three-judge panel shall enter the appropriate order informing the parties of such action.A party shall have 15 days from the entry of the order to file and serve a request for oral argument pursuant to the Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.320.The court, on its own initiative, may require the parties to present oral argument, may limit the issues to be heard, and may require the filing of additional briefs.

 

4.A circuit appellate court en banc shall consist of those appellate panel judges within the subject area to which the case is assigned, either civil or criminal, in both Pinellas and Pasco counties.

 

5.The en banc decision shall be by a majority of the appellate judges actually participating and voting on the case.It is anticipated that all appellate panel judges within the subject area, either civil or criminal, will participate and vote on the case, unless otherwise recused or unless there is a conflict between a civil and criminal case under similar facts which would warrant the participation of all appellate panel judges.In the event of a tie vote, the decision of the appellate three-judge panel to which the case was assigned shall stand as the decision of the court.

 

6.Hearings en banc may be ordered only by the circuit appellate court on its own motion.A party may not request an en banc hearing.A motion seeking the hearing shall be stricken.

 

7.An order for an appeal to be heard en banc may be entered at any time up until the issuance of the mandate by the Clerk of Court.

 

(b) Rehearings En Banc on the Courtís own Initiative or on Motion of a Party

 

1.Rehearings en banc may be ordered by the circuit appellate court on its own motion, in the same manner as set forth in (a) 1, within 15 days from entry of the final order.Additionally, a party has the option of filing a motion for rehearing en banc; however, such motion must be filed and served in conjunction with a timely filed motion for rehearing pursuant to the Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.330, within 15 days from entry of the final order.

 

2.A party may move for an en banc rehearing solely on the grounds that the case is of exceptional importance or that such consideration is necessary to maintain uniformity in the courtís decisions.A response may be filed and served within 10 days of service of the motion.

 

3.A rehearing en banc is an extraordinary proceeding.If filed by an attorney, the motion shall contain either or both of the following statements:

 

I express a belief, based on a reasoned and studied professional judgment, that the panel

decision is of exceptional importance.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Or

 

I express a belief, based on a reasoned and studied professional judgment, that the panel

decision is contrary to the following decision(s) of this court and that a consideration by

the full court is necessary to maintain uniformity of decisions in this court (citing

specifically the case or cases).

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† /s/________________________________

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† __________________________________

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Attorney for________________________

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††† (name of party)

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† __________________________________

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (address and phone number)

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Florida Bar No.______________________

 

 

This requirement does not apply to an unrepresented party.

4.A majority of the circuit appellate court three-judge panel that participated in the final order shall determine if rehearing en banc is to be granted and shall enter the appropriate order.A party shall have 15 days from the entry of the order granting rehearing en banc to file and serve a request for oral argument pursuant to the Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.320.The court, on its own initiative, may require the parties to present oral argument, may limit the issues to be reheard, and may require the filing of additional briefs.

 

5.If rehearing en banc is granted, the rehearing en banc panel shall be comprised as set forth in (a) 4. The final decision on rehearing en banc shall be entered by the court in the same manner as set forth in (a) 5.

 

6.The provisions of (b) 2 and (b) 3 apply only to final orders entered by a single three-judge panel.If the final order is entered by an en banc panel, then a motion for rehearing must be filed pursuant to the Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.330, and need not contain the statements set forth in (b) 3.When considering a motion for rehearing of an en banc final order, a majority of the en banc panel that participated in the appeal will determine if the motion for rehearing will be granted and proceed in accordance with this Administrative Order. ††††

 

DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida this _____ day of January 2006.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† ________________________________

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† David A. Demers, Chief Judge

 

cc:††††††† All Judges

††††††††††† The Honorable Bernie McCabe, State Attorney

††††††††††† The Honorable Robert H. Dillinger, Public Defender

††††††††††† The Honorable Ken Burke, Clerk of Court, Pinellas County

††††††††††† The Honorable Jed Pittman, Clerk of Court, Pasco County

††††††††††† Betty Henderson, Assistant Court Services Director, Pasco County Clerkís Office

††††††††††† Gay Inskeep, Trial Courts Administrator

††††††††††† Carol Heath, Director, Court Services Division, Pinellas County Clerkís Office

††††††††††† Kerry L. Rice, Senior Deputy Courts Administrator, Pasco County

††††††††††† Bar Associations, Pasco and Pinellas Counties

††††††††††† Law Libraries, Pasco and Pinellas Counties