Brief filed: 10/19/2020
Clarington v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida; Case No. 3D20-1461
a Case of Original Jurisdiction – Prohibition. Lower Tribunal No. 90-354C
It violates the accused’s constitutional rights to be forced to have a probation violation hearings via Zoom or other remote means. The practice offends the right to be present (in the courtroom before the judge, with witnesses, with the accused’s own counsel) and ignores certain provisions in the Criminal Procedure. Because counsel is remote, it also offends the right to effective assistance of counsel. By way of background: The circumstance of forced remote probation hearings has arisen in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. At the beginning of the pandemic, the Supreme Court of Florida issued a vast administrative order basically suspending any Florida Rule of Procedure that prohibited remote proceedings. The administrative order permits pleas, status conferences, and motion practice by Zoom.
Carey Haughwout, Public Defender, West Palm Beach, FL, Counsel for Florida Public Defender Association; Benjamin Eisenberg, Assistant Public Defender, West Palm Beach, FL, Counsel for FACDL; Jude M. Faccidomo, Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC., Miami, FL, Counsel for FACDL; Jackie Perczek, Black, Srebnick, Kornspan & Stumpf, P.A. of Miami, Florida, Counsel for FACDL; Jo Ann Palchak, The Law Office of Jo Ann Palchak, P.A., Tampa, FL, Counsel for NACDL and Vice Chair, NACDL Amicus Committee.