Florida Juvenile Rules Amendments

Since 2006 the release of the National Juvenile Defender Center Assessment’s Florida: An Assessment of Access to Counsel and Quality of Representation in Delinquency Proceedings, advocates in Florida have made the following changes to the Florida Rules Juvenile Rules in order to ameliorate impediments to effective juvenile defense. The changes outlined below can be found in the 2019 update of the Florida Juvenile Rules of Procedure. Florida’s full state profile can also be accessed by clicking here.

 Passed and now law (fast-tracked separately)

Right to a meaningful opportunity to confer with counsel before  waiving counsel

Right to a court transcript by a party without requiring a court  Order

Mandates presence of prosecutor and public defender at all detention hearings

Numerous procedural due process protections added, including the right to counsel, the right to disqualify a judge on indirect contempt if the alleged contempt involved criticism of the judge, and the right for the child to have the court consider alternative sanctions instead of detention. Additionally, procedural protections, including specifying that contempt on a juvenile party who has turned 18 must still be treated as a juvenile. Lastly, limitations as to detention prior to the contempt hearing have been added.

Passed and now law (three-year packet, effective January 2010)

Right to a detention hearing within 24 hours

Right to counsel subject to 8.165

Right to a reasonable time to prepare for trial

Right to counsel subject to 8.165

Right to withdraw plea if the court does not accept

Right to be warned of Jimmy Ryce (civil commitment for sexually  motivated offenses) consequences during plea colloquy

Right to counsel subject to 8.165

Right to an individualized determination whether a child is shackled for a court hearing

Right to counsel subject to 8.165, including restitution hearings and out of county transfers

Right to credit for previous secured detention time (to be included on the disposition order)

Passed and now law (three-year packet, effective July 2013)

Right to a copy of the petition at least 24 hours before being required to enter a plea

Right to a plain, concise, and definite written statement of the essential facts constituting the charge

Right to a detailed statement of particulars

Right to a reasonable time to deliberate before entering a plea

Right to withdraw a no contest plea for good cause (previously the rule only allowed this for guilty pleas)

Right to a reasonable time to deliberate before entering a plea

Right to be warned of immigration/deportation consequences during plea colloquy

Right to be warned of possible sexual offender registration consequences during plea colloquy

Right for plea taken in open court, except hearing may be closed as provided by law

Right to be sentenced by the judge who conducted the trial or accepted the plea

This form is a guide as to whether a child will be required to register as a juvenile sexual offender

Passed and now law (three-year packet, effective January 2016)

Right to withdraw a plea after disposition

Requirement that an attorney verifies on the record that any waiver of counsel has been knowing and voluntary

Passed and now law (three-year packet, effective January 2019)

Prohibits custody orders on failures to appear for children in the care or custody of the state unless the court has information that the child willfully failed to appear

Prohibits custody orders when a child fails to appear after signing a notice to appear for children in the care or custody of the state unless the court has information that the child willfully failed to appear

Expands discovery as to an Informant Witness

Corrects an error that required both child and attorney to sign all motions. (fast-tracked and added to the packet.)

Significant procedural protections added, including a court requirement that an individualized assessment and specific findings of fact must be made prior to the child’s appearance in the courtroom and that the child’s counsel has a right to be heard before the court orders the use of restraints.

Added minor procedural protections

Updated the form

New form (youth friendly waiver of rights)

Passed by the Juvenile Rules Committee and awaiting Board of Governors and Florida Supreme Court Approval

Passed by the Juvenile Rules Committee and awaiting Board of Governors and Florida Supreme Court Approval

Allows the court to permit “remote testimony” via a video device upon stipulation of the parties or upon motion of a party if the court finds good cause.

48-hour rule for VOP Hearings

Juvenile Rules Amendments Update
By Rob Mason
February 2019